Albury trainer Mitchell Beer will not run horses for the foreseeable future amid concerns for their health because of smoke haze from bushfires.
Beer took four horses to the Echuca meeting on Monday but all were unplaced and he later said he had underestimated the effect of the prevailing conditions.
“Today’s runners were all pretty flat,” Beer said on Twitter.
“I’ve underestimated the toll the conditions have had on the team.
“We will be scaling the stable right back & will have no runners for the foreseeable future.
“Horses first & we thank our owners for their understanding.”
Beer has sent some horses to the spelling paddock and others will be kept in light work in the coming days until he is comfortable stepping up their training once the air quality improves.
“I took four horses that I considered really reasonable chances to Echuca yesterday and I thought they had done their faster work and their main hit-outs prior to the thick smoke coming,” Beer told RSN927.
“They all raced really poorly and I thought all their recoveries were quite poor and I instantly regretted running those horses yesterday.
“It was a tough decision but it was an easy decision to make given their performance and their recovery.”
A race meeting scheduled for Albury last Friday was postponed until Monday but was again called off because of concerns over the air quality and visibility.
Beer said given the meeting was called off at Albury a day earlier, he could not warrant sending his horses out for strong track work gallops on Tuesday morning.
“We had about 14 horses go to the paddock first thing this morning. And we’ll just tick the others over until the time when we feel comfortable to step their work back up,” he said.
“I think we’ll just keep putting the horses first. Whether that’s a week or two, or five days or fifty days.”
While Albury, on the Victorian border, has escaped fire Beer has been active in moving horses to safe locations and arranging feed and supplies to those in need in the area.