British Board Could Relax Foot and Mouth Stance

The British Horseracing Board is set to relax its tough stance of not racing at courses within 10 kilometers of a foot and mouth outbreak.

A meeting of the BHB directors Wednesday will hear that disruption to the Flat racing season in Britain could happen if the policy is not changed.

The BHB's current policy is stricter than the regulations laid down by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods, which has said that racing between three and 10 kilometers of an outbreak is not a risk.

At the moment 14 of Britain's 59 courses are not able to race -- Carlisle, Cartmel, Catterick, Cheltenham, Chepstow, Hexham, Newcastle, Sedgefield, Stratford, Thirsk, Towcester, Uttoxeter, Worcester, and Wolverhampton.

The jump season has seen 158 fixtures lost. The number of foot and mouth cases is still increasing and has reached 1,201, with 38 new cases Tuesday. Over 440,000 animals are due for slaughter with 764,000 animals already put down.

Even so there have been signs that overseas authorities are more relaxed about horse movements. Ireland allowed horses to travel to recent British breeze-up sales and to participate at last week's Martell Grand National meeting at Aintree. However, the horses concerned are unable to return to Ireland for the moment.