Horses in South Africa – 12/31/2005

  • November 23, 2013 at 1:08 am #1107

    This doesn’t sound like what hit the horse here in the states, but
    it’s one more tune to the canary syndrome.
    Mystery bug threatens Cape’s richest races
    Derek Wilsnagh
    December 30 2005 at 12:48PM

    With the richest races in the Cape on their doorstep, racehorse
    trainers are running the gauntlet as a string of mysterious viruses
    create form havoc on a national scale.

    Hot favourite Winter Solstice is expected to cost bookmakers an arm
    and a leg if he wins the R600 000 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at
    Kenilworth on New Year’s Day, and the biggest concern his trainer
    Joey Ramsden has is fending off the dreaded “bug”.

    Winter Solstice, Horse Of The Year last season, has no peer in the
    country over a mile and attempts to win the coveted Queen’s Plate
    for the second year in succession. However, north and south of the
    Limpopo, mysterious, virtually undetectable, viruses have struck
    where it hurts most – on the racetrack.

    Gauteng veteran Ormond Ferraris says he has never seen a flu like
    it: “You have no warning whatsoever. The horse eats well, works well
    and looks well.

    ‘You have no warning whatsoever’
    “Yet he will race below his best and unlike previous viruses, often
    no sign is detected after the race either. If noticeable, it is
    usually in younger horses, who may have a slight nasal discharge
    after a race, with a bit of blood in it.”

    Ferraris has been forced to put his entire string on the easy list,
    and wait for the bug to run its course. He says experience has
    taught him this is the only way.

    In the Cape a number of local stables have been hit by a similar
    virus since Spring, and the influx of horses from Gauteng and
    KwaZulu-Natal at this time of the year has made the threat an annual

    Philippi-based Justin Snaith says he has been hard hit for two
    seasons in a row and now plans to establish a semi-quarantine block
    at his stable. This will prevent his string from direct contact with
    horses entering the yard from another centre.

    Most other trainers don’t have big enough facilities for such a

    Snaith says the long-term cost cannot be imagined when an entire
    stable is sidelined at the height of a season. The stress of sending
    out horses in peak condition – especially for high-profile overseas
    owners who visit this time of the year – and then watching them
    disappoint cannot be imagined.

    The virus has proved just as virulent at Milnerton where several
    trainers have seen their yard’s form yo-yo after horses were

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