All OK in Coffs stables as EI crisis deepens

COFFS Harbour's two Group One trainers believe that the stables at Coffs Harbour Racing Club should be safe from any contact with the Equine Influenza (EI) that has thrown the racing industry into turmoil.

Both Gordon Yorke and Joe Janiak are confident that when racing resumes, local thoroughbreds will pick up where they left off mainly due to the isolated racing location that Coffs Harbour finds himself in.

"I don't think we've got any problems," Yorke cautiously said yesterday.

"I've been racking my brain trying to think where we could have contact and I really think we're pretty isolated.

"We're just far enough away from Sydney as Newcastle would be the boundary there and they didn't race in Newcastle on Saturday.

"I've been going through my mind every race venue that our horses have been at and I think Coffs is quite safe and I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

Janiak returned from overseas with champion sprinter Takeover Target and he also believes that being in Coffs Harbour is a distinct advantage when it comes to facing the biggest crisis to ever hit the Australian racing industry.

"We got out at the right time mate," Janiak said yesterday.

"I wouldn't like to be over there now. We returned on July 21 and then he spent three weeks in quarantine at Sandown then he went for a spell for two weeks in Canberra so he's been home for a good six weeks now."

Having recently relocated his stable to the Coffs Coast on a permanent basis, Janiak says that all the travel that Takeover Target has done over the past 15 months means that he hasn't had to do too much extra since the Federal Government issued on Saturday morning a 72-hour ban on horse movement.

"We always monitor their temperatures twice a day anyway so we've always got our finger on the pulse," he said.

"You never know what you can pick up when you're travelling."

Yorke has a reputation for being extremely careful when it comes to the health of his horses and he explained that the team in his stable at the track has gone to extra lengths to ensure the horse flu doesn't affect any of his thoroughbreds. "I'm taking every precaution, every horse of mine has been fully disinfected," he said.

While the EI outbreak is a nationwide issue, Yorke was quick to point out that being in Coffs Harbour means that local trainers need to keep a close watch for any viruses that may be contracted.

"I have personally been a great advocate for watching viruses because Coffs Harbour is sub-tropical," he said.

"The thing about being sub-tropical is that you are susceptible to being a great place to incubate viruses and germs, so I take measures all the time to combat it.

"I'm quietly confident that we're on top of it and I'm quietly happy that Coffs Harbour being a closed unit is quite safe."

Both the star trainers were adamant that the current crisis has done nothing to hinder the spring plans for the respective stable stars.

Takeover Target is being set for the Age Classic which has been promoted to Group One status, run on the final day of the Flemington carnival.

"Now that they've put the race back a bit, we might even be able to get a race in on Cox Plate Day," Janiak said. "He's settled in good, he had his first run back on the track this morning (Monday) and he's very keen."

Yorke has set Natural Destiny to run fresh in the Salinger Stakes on Derby Day in Melbourne and he believes that come the first Saturday in November, the grey will be ready to tear up the Flemington turf.

"I'm not setback anywhere with him but where do I race?" he asked.

"My horse is jumping out of his skin and he'll be ready to race the minute they say we can race."

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