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Moore Stable Virus Threatens HK Racing
Expatriate Australian trainer John Moore's Sha Tin stables in Hong Kong "have been hit by an outbreak of a highly-contagious virus with the potential to shut down HK racing if it has not been caught in time," reported SCMP.com. Four Moore-trained horses were withdrawn from yesterday's Chinese New Year meeting "showing the symptoms of the virus & a further 5 horses in the stable & 3 of the HK Jockey Club's lead ponies have displayed the same signs & been isolated". Moore commented: "My feeling is it could be from the lead ponies: 3 of my horses which have it (One World, Able Prince & Tiber) have all been led down to the barriers by lead ponies in the past 14 days for races or trials. The Jockey Club has to be very serious about this & nobody should think it will be okay & will go away. This could bring racing in HK to a stand-still. I've briefed my staff & we've disinfected everything there is to disinfect, but it can spread very quickly. I'm worried that, if it has spread to other horses, it could get worse by working them before they show signs." HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said the club "has to be vigilant" but was not looking at an epidemic: "The affected horses are being isolated in order to contain whatever it is, but stables all around the world have viruses from time-to-time & it is not unusual. On Wednesday, we hope to have test results back to tell us what it is that we are dealing with." HKJC chief steward Jamie Stier added: "The veterinary department was initially concerned, after the ponies & then a number of John Moore's horses showed symptoms last week. But the vets have put into place the appropriate procedures, including isolating known cases, & it does not appear to have spread. We are of course monitoring the entire horse population for any elevated temperatures & especially those horses due to race."