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Musselburgh Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Previously known as Edinburgh Racecourse, Musselburgh Racecourse is situated in close proximity to the River Esk in East Lothian, Scotland. The course hosts National Hunt and flat racing events of which there are 28 fixtures per annum within its racing calendar. The track is oval-shaped and covers a distance of approximately 10 furlongs. The Musselburgh Gold Cup, the Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap Stakes and the Edinburgh Cup Heritage Handicap are its most popular races.

Musselburgh Racecourse is home to The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club which was inaugurated in 1774; however, golf was being played there as far back as 1672. The nine-hole golf course sits in the centre of the horse racing venue. In actual fact, golf activity was present before the horse racing activity which began in 1816. Prior to this date, horse racing was conducted on the beach at Leith.

In the foundling days of Musselburgh Racecourse, thousands of people would visit the venue course to enjoy the spectacle of watching the wealthy nobles racing their horses against each other. In those days, the competitions were non-commercial and represented outdoor parties rather than serious sporting affairs. Back then, horse racing was the only form of legal betting and for this reason the meetings attracted huge crowds.

In 1963, off-course betting shops became legal which led to the decline of trackside visitor numbers. Some of Scotland’s racecourses had to close down due to bankruptcy. Musselburgh Racecourse was not exempt and experienced significant decreases in attendance. Two decades later, visitor numbers reached an all-time low. However, the venue did manage to survive by taking advantage of new modern technologies created in the late 1980’s. Racecourse establishments were now able to sell live horse racing broadcasts to bookies and the wider media. Lothian Racing Syndicate Limited (LRS) were responsible for the running of Musselburgh until 1991, when the East Lothian Council took over. In the following years, the council and the Lothian’s Racing Syndicate came together to form the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee (MJRC). Musselburgh Racecourse has since remained under this partnership.

In the mid-1980s, Musselburgh Racecourse underwent extensive works and improvements. The plans resulted in a new imposing stand named the “The Queen’s Stand”, the restored refitted Edwardian Grandstand, the brand new Link Pavilion, a parade ring, weighing room, stables, staff facilities and track upgrades.

By 1999, visitor number for the year had reached 38,000. These days, the venue welcomes in excess of 70,000 race goers, with June’s Ladies Day seeing attendances of around 10,000. In 2006, Musselburgh Racecourse gained a “5 -Star Visitor Attraction” award for providing some of the most comprehensive horse racing facilities in Scotland. Indeed, various top trainers praised the venue as being one of the best in the region.

As well as the National Hunt and flat race meetings, Musselburgh Racecourse is also home to harness race events during the summer. Popular dates include the John Smith’s Scottish Cheltenham Trails Raceday in February, Easter Weekend races, June’s Edinburgh Cup Day and the Scottish Sprint Cup.

Other popular events include Ladies Day, the Royal Regiment of Scotland Family Day in September, while November brings the Saints and Sinners Raceday and St. Andrews Day meet.

Daily tickets as well as seasonal tickets can be purchased - most at reasonable prices. Some fixtures attract a premium price tag, such as the Edinburgh Cup and Ladies Day. However, there are concessions for advanced purchases and children aged 18 or under can gain free entry provided that they are accompanied by an adult. Some packages also featured the use of the private box facilities and the Epperston Restaurant.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind
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