RACING has been abandoned at all race courses across the country today (February 7) following an outbreak of equine flu.

It means this evening's meet at Chelmsford City Racecourse, in Great Leighs, is off after the British Horseracing Authority cancelled all events.

A spokesman for the racecourse said: "Racing today has been abandoned following restrictions imposed by the BHA due to an outbreak of equine influenza.

"All customers who have booked to attend the racing today will be contacted directly by the Racecourse this morning.

"Apologise for any inconvenience caused."

A spokesman for the BHA said: "Racing was shut down today as a precautionary measure to restrict the movement of thoroughbred race horses and prevent any further spread of the virus.

"This is a standard contingency in the event of an infectious disease affecting our horses.

"It was essential that racing be stood down today and controls on movements of horses be put in place in order to attempt to control the spread of the disease, and the decision was taken swiftly last night that this course of action should be taken, once the extent of the issue was known.

"The BHA consulted with its veterinary committee before making this decision."