THE British Horseracing Authority insists it has “unanimous” support from expert advisers as its decision to halt the sport during the equine flu outbreak comes under fire from high-profile trainers.

However, Gold Cup-winning trainers Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston-Davies have both voiced their frustration at the BHA response – which they believe is an overreaction, but the BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea has denied that is in any way the case.

The BHA announced the first abandonments on Thursday, after three cases of the virulent strain were found in vaccinated horses at Donald McCain’s yard.

The governing body subsequently called off all British fixtures until Wednesday at the earliest – a six-day shutdown – while it carries out thousands of swab tests on more than 170 yards which might have been at risk of cross-contamination on race days.

A further announcement, as to if or when racing can resume, is scheduled today.

Tizzard had earlier told the Daily Mirror: “Someone’s going to have to stand up and say, ‘It’s only equine flu’.

“It’s not the major problem everyone is saying. Why have we got to have a shutdown in all racing, just because a dozen horses have tested positive to the flu?

“It’s an overreaction.

“I don’t think it’s a reason to stop racing – they are going to have to start (again) somewhere, so I think they should start straightaway.”

Meanwhile, Native River’s connections accept they may have to skip an intended prep run before the defence of his Magners Gold Cup crown at Cheltenham.

Tizzard’s nine-year-old was set to run in the Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday, a race abandoned following the decision made by the British Horseracing Authority to suspend racing until at least Wednesday, after several horses tested positive for equine flu at the yard of Donald McCain.

Should the Grade Two prize – which the Brocade Racing-owned gelding has won for the past two years – not be rescheduled, it could result instead in Native River being given a racecourse gallop before trying to claim back-to-back victories in the blue riband event on March 15.