It looks almost certain Darley will follow the lead taken by Coolmore last weekend and start sending stallions back to Europe. Darley Australia's general manager Ollie Tait confirmed Sept. 19 it is being discussed.
However,Tait said a decision has not yet been made about which of its stallions will travel to the Hunter Valley and which will be, as were Coolmore's big three recently, exported back to the Northern Hemisphere.
He told Thoroughbred racing television station TVN: “We have not come to any final decisions, but it likely we will export some of the horses. It is just a management risk.”
Tait confirmed Exceed And Excel will definitely be sent to the Hunter Valley, noting, “We are prepared to take the risk with him on missing two seasons.” Carnegie will also be made available to broodmare owners as will unbeaten galloper Reset (by Zabeel).
Tait added, “If we get the stallions in the next seven days, the breeding season will not be a total disaster and there will be plenty of opportunities for broodmare owners to have their mares covered.”
He said equine influenza had gone “right through” Darley’s horses, and the farm was now on the upward slope out of danger. He said the threat was “not serious, but was noticeable.”
Mare movement may begin this week
Meanwhile, movement of mares in Australia’s New South Wales’ Hunter Valley may start as early as Sept. 21 following the government's latest proposal for horse owners affected by the equine influenza outbreak in the state.
“We have listened to the industry, taken its concerns on board, and come up with a sound plan that maintains our commitment to stamping out (Equine Influenza) while allowing some movement of mares and foals in areas like the upper Hunter,” said Ian MacDonald, Primary Industries Minister of Australia.
A four-color zoning system has been introduced in New South Wales, and the portion of the plan that will most affect the Thoroughbred industry is the creation of a “purple zone.”
MacDonald said the zone would enable valuable breeding activity to be conducted. “It will allow horses with a permit to be brought in for breeding purposes,” he said. “However, they cannot leave the zone until authorized by DPI.”
MacDonald said the new zoning plan would see restrictions on horse movements softened in certain areas of the State, particularly the important breeding areas of the Hawkesbury and the Hunter Valley, while allowing the Government to concentrate on eradicating the problem.
“Zoning will enable us to focus our resources on known disease spots and high risk areas in New South Wales, while at the same time introducing common sense measures to help the breeding and racing industries survive,” he said.
According to MacDonald, the new zones will take effect Friday and regulations will be enforced by the New South Wales Police Force. Macdonald said information was being gathered every day on how the disease is spread.
“Today there are 1363 infected properties with 11,872 horses and another 670 properties are suspect,” he said. “All infected properties are in containment lines. The challenge now is to let horse owners know where they fit within the EI Protection Plan and ensure they fulfill their responsibilities.
“It is clear that this zoning plan hinges on the support of the general public and each and every horse owner - no matter whether they own a racehorse worth tens of thousands or a companion pony. The value of these horses to their owners is the same – the Government recognizes that. We are doing all we can to eradicate this problem and discover just how it got into New South Wales in the first place.”
Based on information gathered by epidemiologists, surveillance teams and field veterinarians, the State will be broken into four color zones representing the known level of disease infection and risk of spread.
The zones are:
Green – Protected Area – no disease, aim to keep free. Currently includes the Far West, Riverina and Eden-Monaro areas. Travelling horse statement and permit for events required.
Amber – Control Area – no confirmed disease, horses suspected as carriers to be investigated as quickly as possible. Based around large parts of the Central West and North Coast areas. Movements may be authorized for racing and breeding. Movements to other events prohibited.
Red – Restricted Area – area of at least 10 km around infected premises. High containment and biosecurity to be applied to individual premises and area. Currently includes a band stretching from Sydney, Newcastle and Central Coast areas roughly following the New England Highway up to the Queensland border. Limited permits within the red zone, current movement restrictions stand.
Purple – Special Restricted Area – largely infected area. High containment and biosecurity applied to movements out of area. Includes two purple zones in the Upper Hunter and North West Sydney. Horses may move in with a permit but cannot leave until authorized to do so.