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Newmarket company Newcampe Medical work round the clock as racing weathers flu storm

Swab workers Newmarket (7144363)
Swab workers Newmarket (7144363)

Racing breathed a collective sigh of relief with the announcement on Monday that it could resume yesterday following the six-day shutdown imposed as a result of an outbreak of equine flu.

Newmarket was caught in the eye of the storm as yards which had had runners at a meeting last week where an infected horse had been competing were effectively ‘locked down’. Then, on Sunday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) confirmed four horses trained by Simon Crisford at Kremlin House, in Snailwell Road, had tested positive for the virus.

On Monday, a meeting was held at the Jockey Club Rooms involving the BHA’s director of equine health and welfare David Sykes, and representatives of the Animal Health Trust, the Newmarket Trainers’ Federation, Mr Crisford and Jockey Club Estates, to discuss protocols for using the town’s training grounds. As affected strings tested clear they were allowed to go back to normal exercise times having previously not been allowed to use the heath until after 12.30pm.

For one Newmarket business the equine flu outbreak meant an unexpected boost.

For one Newmarket business the equine flu outbreak meant an unexpected boost (7172259)
For one Newmarket business the equine flu outbreak meant an unexpected boost (7172259)

Since the first cases of Equine Flu were reported on Thursday, Newcampe Medical Ltd, based at the Acorn Business, in Oaks Drive, has been inundated with calls from local vets, equine hospitals and the Animal Health Trust, clamouring for its 20-inch and 16-inch nasal swabs.

The company,produces the swabs specifically for the equine industry in the UK and Eire but has sold more in the past week than in the whole of last year.

Owner Keith Owen: “We normally sell them in their hundreds, but since Thursday they’ve been flying out the door in their thousands. We have only been able to fulfil these large orders thanks to our loyal team of employees, who have truly risen to the challenge and have been working round the clock in our clean room to produce, pack and label the swabs – and still the orders are coming in.”

Mr Owen’s daughterEmily, who now helps to run the company, added: “It is unfortunate that what has been bad news for the racing industry has been good news for our business, but we would like to assure all our customers, that we will do all we can to help during the current crisis and beyond.”