After a tense week in horse racing, punters are relieved that it has finally resumed. An equine flu outbreak caused the week-long break in racing with the first race back being the Grand Hop Gold Cup!

Horse racing came to a halt last week after three cases of equine flu were found in horses at Donald McCains yard. It was later confirmed that another three cases were found again in the Cheshire stables. This caused the BHA to cancel all upcoming races until further notice.

Three more cases were found in trainer Simon Crisfords stables. This lead to a total of 23 racing meets to be lost last week. 174 yards were on lockdown as well as  a precaution. Thankfully racing was given the all clear to start again on the 13th February. However the BHA has put strict rules in place. Horses were only allowed to race if they had been vaccinated in the last six months.

The first meet back was at Plumpton and it just so happened that the first race was to be the Grand Hop Gold Cup. This provided a light hearted return for racing in what has been a worrying week. The race has been set up to raise funds for injured jockeys. The race includes jockeys of past and present and punters can sponsor a rider for £150. This years race went to a photo finish and it turned out there was joint winners in Tom Scudamore and Josh Moore.

A Relief For Cheltenham

The fact that racing has been allowed to resume is a huge relief for trainers and owners with Cheltenham only being a month away.The festival starts on Tuesday 12th March and runs to Friday the 15th. The main race of the week is the Cheltenham Gold Cup which is run on the Friday. The trainer of last years winner, Colin Tizzard, has said that Native River might not be able to get a prep run done prior to defending its Gold Cup. It was set to run in the Denham Cup that was cancelled during the flu outbreak. The race has been rescheduled for tomorrow at Ascot. Native River won’t run it though due to the course being right-handed.

Native River though is still tipped to be in with a very good chance. PaddyPower have last years winner at 5/1. This years favourite however is Presenting Percy, with PaddyPower pricing it at 5/2.

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