THE Queen is set to visit Musselburgh Racecourse next week as part of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the East Lothian course.
Her Majesty will be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh on her trip to the races on Friday, July 8, where she will present a specially commissioned Bi-Centenary Cup to the winners of the feature race.
Bill Farnsworth, Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to host Her Majesty and Prince Phillip in a double celebration of her landmark 90th birthday and the 200th year since racing was established at Musselburgh.
“The Queen is synonymous with horseracing and we are delighted she has decided to visit Musselburgh as part of Holyrood Week and put the Royal seal on our 200th birthday celebrations. We are sure she will see many changes since she last visited in 1995 and we hope to put on an exciting raceday for her and the Royal guests.”
The racecourse has appealed to racing fans and local residents to make the Royal visit a family occasion, encouraging them to bring picnics and enjoy a day’s full programme of festivities and family entertainments.
Music will be provided by The Regimental Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Pipes and Drums of The Royal Scots Borderers, accompanied by Royal Regiment of Scotland Shetland Pony mascots, Cruachan lll and lV.
The Royal party will be hosted in the Queen’s Stand in which the Queen performed the official opening 21 years ago and will be treated to an exhibition Harness Race before the Bi-Centenary Cup Race.
Sarah Montgomery, the racecourse’s senior operations and commercial manager, added: “This is an opportunity for families, friends and work colleagues to come to Musselburgh to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday and our own 200 years as a horse racing venue.
“We are all looking forward to what will be a very special occasion and we could not have hoped for a better way to crown our Bi-Centenary year.”
Community, educational and charity organisations taking part in the Bi-Centenary Raceday include Racing Together, Sporting Memories, Scottish Racing, Great British Racing, and East Coast FM.
The racecourse is offering a £5 discount on the usual £25 admission fee to racegoers booking online and all children aged 17 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
The first races in Musselburgh actually took place in 1777 under the auspices of the Royal Caledonian Hunt with race meetings between 1789 and 1816 moving to Leith. In 1816, they returned permanently to Musselburgh, with the course laid out by the the town council. Since 1999, attendances at Musselburgh have rocketed from 38,000 to over 70,000 per year with sponsorship, corporate hospitality and prize money more than doubled.