RACEHORSE trainers in Wiltshire are breathing a sigh of relief after a suspension of all race meetings was lifted on Tuesday due to equine flu.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduced a blanket ban when cases in Cheshire and Newmarket were detected following a race meeting in the north of England.

With the news that racing could start again yesterday (Wednesday) at Musselburgh and Plumpton local trainers Roger Charlton of Beckhampton and Emma Lavell near Marlborough said it was business as usual.

All the stables in the county have escaped the equine flu outbreak but it did cause concerns.

“It’s not affecting us,” said Mr Charlton, "UK horses are OK to run in Ireland so they are pretty relaxed about it.

“But financially we have to get back to racing as the industry can’t afford not to.

“A lot of people are affected by it though and it has caused a lot of worry.

“If you had a lot of runners at Cheltenham you’d wouldn’t be so relaxed.”

The British Horseracing Authority suspended all racing until yesterday (Wednesday, February 13) as a precaution saying that they took “a pragmatic and evidence-led approach” is preventing the spread of the disease.

Hundreds of tests have returned negative on swabs taken from horses linked to the original outbreak with the Animal Health Trust checking more than 2,000 samples.

The national press reported that two racing stables in Ireland have been locked down over equine influenza in the days leading up to the outbreak.

Concerns increased on Sunday when four cases were found at Simon Crisford’s stables in Newmarket suggesting the outbreak was spreading.

Mrs Lavell said her stables near Marlborough but felt the right action was taken. She said: “It makes sense for the BHA to act as they did but it was not a good situation in the build-up to Cheltenham.

“All of our horses are vaccinated but it is a worry for stables that aren’t.

“The BHA have been very sensible and all trainers must remain vigilant, the signs are good but we must wait and see.”

Mr Charlton said it hadn’t affect training at his stables and was pleased racing could return to normal and hoped the outbreak was over.

Humans do not get infected with equine influenza. However, people can carry the virus on their skin, hair, clothing and shoes, and transfer the virus to horses.