Virus fear leads to blood test request
ANXIOUS trainer Lawrie Fownes will have virtually his entire stable checked by the vets today following recent disappointments.
The long-serving Fownes, well able to take the ups and downs of racing in his stride, was a worried man after racing at Sha Tin on Saturday and said: ''They will have their blood checked first. I just want to be completely clear in my own mind that there is nothing amiss.'' Fownes is quietly dreading any possible virus - largely because some of his runners have produced classic symptoms.
''They work well and look well. They are expected to run good races and then suddenly they are right out of it.
''It is so often the way that it genuinely makes you worried. Look at Super Fit in the big race. He had been going great. I know he got a check in the race but he was entitled to come right back after that and he didn't.'' The former champion trainer of Calcutta has been winless for several meetings but last Wednesday at Happy Valley he felt the first major worry pangs.
''Super Bingo II is as honest a horse as you'll get. He doesn't run bad races and he was entitled to run a top one on Wednesday. He was gone at the Rock - and that's not him,'' said Fownes.
The trainer's worries were echoed by colleague Derek Cruz who saw topweight and second favourite Lucky Optimists turn in a shocker in the final event.
''I can't understand it. He had been going very well and this looked to be his race.
''I will he having him looked at, too,'' added Cruz.
Senior vet Keith Watkins, whose team will be in action today, said: ''We always keep a close eye on the situation but we have not had any recent virus cases or virus-related cases. We will be looking at the horses the trainers in question are talking about.
and they will get a close scrutiny.''