VICTOR DARTNALL will saddle his first runners today following the outbreak of equine herpes at his Brayford yard.
The trainer is due to have Silver Commander and Shammick Boy running at Exeter.
Three of Dartnall's horses died after contracting the virus last month.
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He also thinks it contributed to the death of two others from heart attacks before the outbreak was confirmed.
The virus also caused a bout of colic in five other horses.
Dartnall told The Times: "I've never seen anything like it. It was a very dark, frightening time, watching horses drop and losing them. It was distressing for everybody.
"We have more than 40 horses and 25 per cent were seriously affected.
"At its peak, they needed constant care — 24-hour supervision for ten days.
"It's not going to be easy replacing the horses we've lost but hopefully we will soon be firing in the winners again. After what we've been through, it's just a huge relief to be getting going again."