ALL horseracing in Britain has been cancelled until at least Wednesday of next week following an outbreak of deadly equine influenza.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) acted swiftly after Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain reported three positive tests for equine influenza, known as horse flu. His stables at Bankhouse in Cheshire were immediately placed under quarantine but horses from the yard had competed at Ayr, Wolverhampton and Ludlow earlier in the week so the BHA felt it had no option but to cancel all racing in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

The outbreak is particularly worrying because all horses in Britain are supposed to be vaccinated on a regular basis, raising fears that the virus – which may have been accidentally imported from Ireland where there have been several cases already this year – is a strain resistant to the vaccine.

Scottish racing has already suffered. Musselburgh racecourse will lose its richest-ever jumps meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but if racing resumes on Wednesday the racecourse has pledged free admission for all.

Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “A decision will be taken on Monday by the BHA as to when racing will resume, and if our next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, goes ahead as planned, there will be free admission for all.”