Watson calls temporary halt following antibodies test

Archie Watson will not have any runners for the next two weeks after one of his horses was found to have antibodies for a notifiable disease.

The Lambourn handler had been preparing a horse to travel to France when a routine check showed the potential presence of equine viral arteritis.

Watson withdrew intended Southwell runner, Mehmento, on Sunday, as well as three horses on Saturday, while his planned runner at Lingfield on Monday will also not take part as he puts a temporary halt to travel from his yard.

In a statement, Watson said: “We recently had a horse undergo routine testing for transit to France as part of the new export testing protocols. One of these tests revealed the presence of antibodies to EVA. As a result, the relevant bodies, including the BHA, were contacted immediately and we have been taking advice from them.

“The yard is attended daily by our veterinary team and at no point have there been any clinical signs of the disease. Whilst we continue to investigate, the most sensible course of action to safeguard the British racing industry was to stop the movement of horses from my yards as further testing takes place over the next two weeks.

“I would like to thank my staff, veterinarians, and James Given at the BHA for their professionalism and efficiency in managing the situation, and my owners for their understanding and continued support.”

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