by Ric Chapman
The chances of the New South Wales lockdown being lifted at the end of the coming weekend took a dramatic turn for the worse when a Thoroughbred in training returned a positive for equine influenza Aug. 30.
Horses at Randwick are again confined to their stalls. There is no chance of racing being in conducted for several weeks.
The horse came from the Anthony Cummings’ Randwick stable. It had displayed signs of lethargy and high temperatures, so blood tests were taken Aug. 29. The samples were tested at the government’s Elizabeth Macarthur facility at Camden.
The results were sent to New South Wales racing officials, who were waiting for the results of a confirmatory test. Scientists said the virus came from the Eastern Creek quarantine facility; the horse, an overseas shuttle stallion, came to Australia in early August.
All movement of horses at Randwick has been locked down, and training has been banned for an indefinite period. Sydney’s Spring Carnival is in major doubt, and it is unlikely any New South Wales horses will be permitted to travel for some time.
Racing Victoria officials had spent money advertising two major meet scheduled for this coming weekend, but they are in doubt.