REDDITCH trainer Ian Williams says his yard is taking the necessary precautions in the wake of the equine flu outbreak that has halted racing across the country.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) took the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses today (Thursday, February 7) after three cases of the disease came to light.

Horses from an infected yard raced at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland.

Williams' eight-year-old mare Pure Affection and six-year-old gelding Heresthething both ran at Ludow yesterday.

It means the Portway handler was contact by the BHA yesterday but has been quick to keep tabs on the situation at Dominion Racing Stables despite no confirmed cases.

He said: "It's very much business as usual for the yard but we'll be making sure we are taking precautions, following the guidelines from the BHA and keeping any horse we had at Ludlow or Wolverhampton in isolation.

"We were contacted by the BHA because we had runners at Wolverhampton and Ludlow and I'm sure we'll have to undergo the necessary testing. We do keep up very high barrier security here though and we have very vigilant staff.

"We all want to be racing but it's understandable the action that's been taken. The overall integrity of our sport is more important than anything else."

Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys occurring globally caused by strains of Influenza A virus.

All British race horses are vaccinated against equine influenza. However, the strain discovered has affected vaccinated horses. The disease may be serious in unvaccinated horses, although symptoms in vaccinated horses are usually mild. Symptoms may include a raised temperature, a cough and nasal discharge. It is highly contagious. Humans are not at risk from the virus though can be transmitters of the virus.

A statement from the BHA said: "Racing was shut down today as a precautionary measure to restrict the movement of thoroughbred race horses and prevent any further spread of the virus. This is a standard contingency in the event of an infectious disease affecting our horses.

"It was essential that racing be stood down today and controls on movements of horses be put in place in order to attempt to control the spread of the disease, and the decision was taken swiftly last night that this course of action should be taken, once the extent of the issue was known. The BHA consulted with its veterinary committee before making this decision.

"We are aware that people want to know the situation as regards racing tomorrow and this weekend and we will seek to provide more clarity as soon as we are able."