Betting stocks stumble after horse racing suspended due to equine flu

James Booth
Kempton Races
Horse racing was suspended today because of fears about equine flu contagion (Source: Getty)

Betting stocks slipped this morning after horse racing across the UK was suspended today because of fears of equine flu.

William Hill's share price fell nearly one per cent, GVC's share price was down 1.7 per cent and Paddy Power Betfair was down 1.6 per cent.

In a statement the British Horseracing Association (BHA) said yesterday that it had decided to suspend racing today after three positive equine flu tests for vaccinated horses in an active racing yard were discovered.

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In an update today the BHA said it was still “in the early stages of assessing the scale and severity of the outbreak” and said it would receive the results from further tests this evening.

“Following these results being known a call will be convened to discuss the implications and a decision will then be made as to the impact on racing in the coming days,” it said.

It said that a decision on whether to suspend further days of racing was likely to be made this evening.

Equine flu is a highly infectious disease affecting horses, mules and donkeys.

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According to the BHA “It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in UK equines and disease symptoms in non–immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.”

Philip Trampe of said: “The importance of British racing to the industry is reflected in the share price movements of the major betting concerns today, especially those with a large retail exposure.

“Losing out on four meetings on a quiet Thursday in February might not seem like a big deal, but it just goes to show how loyal a section of the British-facing industry’s customer base is to racing in this country and it’s not a given their betting spend transfers elsewhere on a like for like basis.

“Additional cancellations, if encompassing the bigger Saturday meetings and festivals, could prompt further falls across the industry.”