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