KYNETON trainer Mick Sell has been forced to lock down his stables for three weeks because of a strangles outbreak.
Strangles is a respiratory disease that affects horses but is rarely fatal.
The closure is a big blow to the trainer.
"It's one of those things that can go around. Where it came from, we might not ever know," Sell told the Weekly.
"It's the first time something like this has happened. I've never come across strangles before in the 20 years I've been working with horses."
The outbreak was detected on Wednesday by a Woodend veterinarian.
After being told a thoroughbred had strangles, Sell told Racing Victoria, which ordered the stable to close.
"There are now two confirmed cases of strangles at the Sell property and a number of other horses in the stable are under investigation," Racing Victoria said in a statement.
"Horse movement controls and biosecurity procedures have been implemented by the Sell stable in consultation with RV and under the guidance of a local veterinarian."
Trainers using the Kyneton racecourse, where the Sell horses are trained, can continue training and racing their horses but have been told to implement their own biosecurity procedures, including twice-daily temperature monitoring and hygiene procedures.
Melissa Hutchinson, a Woodend veterinarian, is handling testing.
She said strangles was contagious and led to horses getting high temperatures, nasal discharge and swollen lymphnode glands.
"It's usually spread from the nasal discharge. We have to be really careful about isolating the affected horses to limit the spread."
Kyneton-based trainers have been asked to contact RV stewards and their stable veterinarian should a horse show signs of the disease.
Before reopening, the 22 horses at Sell's stables are likely to undergo more testing to ensure they are free of the disease.
It's been a year of highs and lows for the trainer, who recorded success at the Hanging Rock Cup in Kyneton this year.
He took five horses to the races and had five wins - a feat never before achieved in Kyneton.