Northern Rivers horses will receive influenza vaccinations

By STEVE SPINKS

BALLINA racehorses will be immunised against equine influenza (EI) today after mounting pressure from NSW Racing convinced the Department of Primary Industries to vaccinate thoroughbreds located in amber and green zones.

Amber and green zones are those areas less affected by EI. The Northern Rivers is classified a green zone.

The decision, which was made on Monday, has been welcomed by the Ballina Jockey Club which has more than 100 horses stabled on Racecourse Road.

"Horses at the track and at the spelling farms will be done from 1pm," Jockey Club president Garry Kliese said.

"We're tickled pink that it's finally happening."

Unfortunately, the immunisation program means a closed meeting pencilled in for October 19 has been postponed.

"We'll probably have to wait until the 24th or 25th (October) so we can get the booster shots in," Kliese said.

Once vaccinated, horses receive a booster shot two weeks later. After a third week the horse is immune.

Horses at Casino and Lismore will also be vaccinated later this week.

Racing NSW has given preference to vaccination over the conduct of country race meetings.

However, Grafton will hold a closed meeting, including Coffs Harbour horses, on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a decision on the future of the postponed Ballina Cup is expected to be made on Friday.



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