Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Duffield Vote of Thanks to Irish

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Duffield Vote of Thanks to Irish

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

It's easy to kick a man when he is down. The same applies to a woman. Ann Duffield was well aware that her ability as a trainer was being questioned when no winners and very few runners were coming out of her Sun Hill Farm yard at Constable Burton.

"I was conscious of the fact that people were talking behind my back and saying I couldn't train, but I can do the job. People around me know I can do the job," she reiterated.

"They kept seeing me on the box and that started the tongues wagging on the lines that `how can she be doing television work when she is supposed to be training' and all that."

Little did the critics know, or want to know that, at the time, the stable was going through a crisis.

The horses had suddenly lost their form for no apparent reason and were picking up coughs and colds and ringworm; the usual complaints you find in stables. The only difference was that they weren't recovering.

"They kept getting secondary infections and basically we were treating the symptoms all the time and not getting to the root cause of the problem," explained Duffield.

"We did a lot of soul-searching, ringing around vets, and nobody could help us. It was very frustrating. The horses' immune system was so low they couldn't fend off other problems and we couldn't find out why their immune systems had become so depleted. It was hell."

Eventually, a friend of the family, who trains in Newmarket, advised them to get in touch with a team of vets in Ireland. They were brought over and they discovered the problem very quickly.

"The only regret is that I wish I had found out about these vets a year earlier," she reflected.

The Emerald Isle experts diagnosed a fungal problem which is usually associated with hay and feedstuffs. "We had tested all of these beforehand, because the symptoms were that it could be a fungus, but the tests had all come back negative."

She added: "Their tests, however, showed the fungus to be on the stable walls. It was in the atmosphere, it was in the yard generally, but nobody in England does these specific tests.

"We had to set about getting rid of it and it took us the best part of 18 months to get over it all. …

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