Victor Dartnall has reflected on what he has described as the worst six weeks of his training career.
The North Devon handler was forced to shut down his Barnstaple stables in November after an outbreak of equine herpes in the yard. Dartnall revealed six horses paid the ultimate price, including Pocket Too, a winner at Chepstow in early November, before the disease struck.
"The past six weeks or so have been the worst of my training career and not something I would ever want to live through again," he told www.victordartnallracing.com.
"We adopted a policy of openness from the outset and I hope from our experiences, people will learn a little about this devastating virus, and, also, take it very seriously. That way we can help prevent its spread and further suffering.
"All our horses have been vaccinated against herpes virus for the past 10 years, but we have subsequently learned that it just dampens the virus. However, if we hadn't been vaccinated, 90% of our yard could have been affected, instead of 25%.
"The most dangerous part of a herpes outbreak is the first few days, when you don't actually realise you have it. In all, 25% of our horses were affected in one way or another. The mildest had a raised temperature, the most severe loss of hind limb co-ordination to fatal paralysis.
"The remaining 75% of the yard carried on as normal and showed no clinical signs. The outbreak has had an immense effect on our business. Over the last six weeks we've lost six horses in total, including two very nice youngsters who were showing a lot of promise, and the gutsy Pocket Too.
"But it makes you fight back to get to where you were and we have some very nice horses to run and some good-looking three-year-olds to bring in and get going.
"I'm very much looking forward to the future and am delighted to say that the horses are all in great heart.
"We're very appreciative of all the support we have had from everyone. It has been brilliant."
29 August 2015Racing lands Winter win
O'Brien family enjoys Wexford wins
Goodwood Celebration for Kodi team
Polybius takes Hopeful honours
Kodi Celebration for Cox
Twisler on the march
Rene lands Goodwood riches
Maarek shoots to Bullet victory
Hawk swoops in Prestige
Deegan hopeful of good Sho
Titania looks to 'step up' in Dance
Gosden youngster impresses at HQ
Ascot date for Dartmouth
Bolger seeking Curragh Smash n grab
Death of northern stalwart Charnock
Ground key for Weld big guns
Panther pleases in Newmarket work
Icon eyeing Prestige prize
Buratino in Middle Park frame
Cox hoping for Kodi Celebration
28 August 2015Devonshire chasing deserved success
All-American hero taking next step
Ground key for Cape
Rock ready to roll at Windsor
Suzi's seeking Goodwood gold
Maarek aiming to fire in Bullet
Treble top for Weld and Smullen
Baker tempted by Woodbine for Bill
Memory poised for Haydock chance
Treve clash possible for Queen
Hills to make French Connection
Forgotten horse up for Irish Leger
Bear a necessity in Celebration
Pallasator in Cup mix at Doncaster
Lynam sprinters Flying first class
27 August 2015Tested passes with flying colours
Tested passes with flying colours
Iffranesia shoots for Bullet glory
Burke plots Reflection Ayr raid
Fascinating entry in Winter Hill
Thumbs-up at Ffos Las
Emotionless bound for Doncaster
Ground key to Rectifier run
Second inspection at Ffos Las
Whip ban for Mulrennan
Tryster in line for September clash
All systems go for Pendleton
Palmer firming up Covert mission
Safety first for Appleby
Stevens to end training career
Cumani content with Postponed work
Storm stars in Leger list
Irish Champion excites Glen camp
26 August 2015Spear Celebration 'highly unlikely'
Williams ponders Bullet plans
Barron belief in Bing
Salvo seeks solace at lower grade
'Laid-back' Erupt ready for action
Rain pain at Ffos Las
Take Cover back in Flying form
Bookmakers agree possible merger
Big-race targets on Marjurie agenda
Oppenheimer relaxed on Horn options
Bright future forecast for Wizard
Sea charts path to Treve clash
Epsom option for Berkshire
Ranger sights set on Bullet
Irish Leger option for Brave
Point plans up in the air
Ward retains Finnegan faith