Horse Racing: Musselburgh plans third big race day

MUSSELBURGH RACECOURSE, fresh from a bumper crowd at Saturday’s Edinburgh Cup meeting, plans to introduce a third premier race day in June as of next year – with the main race prize pot aimed at £100,000.

The track already hosts the Edinburgh Cup and Ladies’ Day in June but racecourse general manager Bill Farnsworth plans to take the Scottish Sprint Cup out of the Edinburgh Cup card and make it the showpiece of the new fixture, to be held the week before Royal Ascot.

It would mean there being back-to-back racing at the East Lothian track – Ladies’ Day would be on the Friday, the Scottish Sprint Cup on the Saturday – and the potential for some 16,000 people to flock to Musselburgh over that weekend.

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Farnsworth said: “We plan to take the Scottish Sprint Cup and make it a fixture in its own right. It would be the most valuable five furlong sprint handicap in Europe and being the week before Ascot, we’d be looking to have it televised on Channel 4. The main aim is to attract a high-calibre sponsor and get the race up to £100,000. That’s the ultimate goal.”

The Scottish Sprint Cup has a ten-year long history and attracts a high class of sprinter. Furthermore, with the 2013 fixture planned the week before Royal Ascot, there would be the distinct possibility of seeing horses run at Musselburgh and then move to the big races at Ascot from there, as sprinters are known to be turned out again within seven days.

It would also create a racing bonanza in June in East Lothian. The Edinburgh Cup, with a prize pot of £50,000, often attracts well over 6000 people, while Ladies’ Day has been a sell-out for the last seven years.