Equine Flu Outbreak Leads To UK Racing Cancellations

British horse races have been halted until at least next Wednesday due to cases of equine influenza, a development that endangers the bookmakers’ favourite Cheltenham Festival in March.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) called off racing in the country after three horses that had been vaccinated came down with the flu.

The cancellations come less than five weeks before the March 12 start of Cheltenham, which was last cancelled in 2001 due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Share prices of UK bookmakers took a hit Thursday as GVC Holdings, parent of Ladbrokes and Coral, fell 3.7 percent, while William Hill declined 2.6 percent and Paddy Power Betfair dropped 2.5 percent.

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