Musselburgh will top the £1 million mark in prize money for the first time this summer.
The East Lothian track open their new season this weekend with a two-day fixture – the first of 17 days of flat racing that carry a total of £1,032,000 in prizes for an average of just over £60,000 per day.
“It’s tremendous to pass such a landmark and we are indebted to our sponsors and everyone who has helped to build up Musselburgh racecourse in the past few years,” said racecourse boss Bill Farnsworth, “and we are determined to make this summer the best yet with some new dates and some new races which we hope will continue to attract better class horses from the major stables in the South.”
The first of such major events in Saturday’s totepool Royal Mile – a £50,000 event for three-year-olds which was run for the first time last year and which proved pretty successful.
For this year’s renewal, it has attracted a couple of notable entries from the Hampshire stable of champion trainer
This race will be shown live on Channel 4 on a busy Saturday when the broadcaster will screen nine races from four different UK tracks as well as a special teatime programme covering the Dubai World Cup.
The Tote are also sponsoring the Edinburgh Cup again – to be run on Saturday, June 1 and worth £60,000, but the richest race of the year on the seaside circuit will be the Scottish Sprint Cup which has been moved back a fortnight to June 15.
“It will be the first time they have sponsored here and the prize money gets a tremendous boost from £40,000 to £70,000,” said Farnsworth. “It will be screened live on Channel 4 and promises to be a real thriller.”
The annual Ladies Day meeting will be staged 24 hours earlier and Bill promises that it will be bigger and better than ever. “It is one of our major days and we plan to have more marquees and facilities for the ladies, but we will also be limiting the
attendance to 8000.”
There will be another special day on August 9 with £70,000 in prize money and three races sponsored by the Archerfield Golf and Hotel complex from Gullane. The highlight will be the Archerfield Cup, while trainers will be invited to play in a golf competition the previous afternoon with a dinner in the evening to make it a really special occasion. The August 9 meeting is an evening fixture which hosts a £20,000 stayers handicap for horses in the
81-100 bracket and Farnsworth sees it as a trial for the Ebor, which is run at York later in the month.
“Very often horses need to win and get a penalty to make the cut for the Ebor – which is one of the richest and most competitive races of the year – and we hope our new race will attract just that sort of animal,” he said.
There are plans to bring the curtain down in style in the
The Sunday meeting on
September 29 is the Royal Regiment of Scotland day and the second family day of the year – the first is this weekend on Easter Sunday.
The final flat fixture, on
October 14, will have the £20,000 Willie Park Trophy over 1¾m as the highlight with the £15000 final of the Betfair Scottish Stayers series also on the card.