By Andrew Atkinson

The Leader newspaper racing punters have responded with joy that racing will return in Britain tomorrow (Wednesday) after a six-day shutdown following an outbreak of equine flu.

After the shock shutdown, following the virus being initiated at Donald McCain’s Cheshire stables last week, two scheduled jump racing fixtures will go ahead at Musselburgh and Plumpton, alongside the all-weather fixtures at Southwell and Kempton.

Racing was suspended after three cases of equine flu at McCain’s stables, along with three further cases reported at his yard last week.

In total 174 racing stables had been placed in lockdown – that brought racing to a standstill in Britain.

Following a return to racing going ahead trainers will be assessed before they are given the all-clear to have runners in the wake of the outbreak.

Five races called off during the shutdown have been re-scheduled – Ascot will stage a bumper nine-race card this Saturday – with the Leader racing tips returning to the fold.

The Denman Chase, which had been due to feature last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River, and the Betfair Hurdle, will be staged at Ascot after Newbury’s meeting on February 9 was cancelled.

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Racing schedule for Saturday February 16. Betfair Hurdle – Ascot (from Newbury); Denman Chase – Ascot (from Newbury); Mares’ Hurdle – Haydock Park (from Warwick); Mares’ Chase – Wincanton (from Exeter).