Musselburgh Racecourse is celebrating after breaking the 5000 attendance barrier at a New Year’s Day meeting for the first time.
Last Friday’s crowd of 5400 was up 30 per cent on last year as racegoers enjoyed a six-card race meeting, which carried prize money of more than £120,000. The day also featured the world’s oldest professional athletics race, the New Year Sprint, which produced the first female winner, Jazmine Tomlinson, in the event’s 147-year history.
Bill Farnsworth, general manager at Musselburgh Racecourse, said: “It was quite a gamble to launch the New Year’s Day meeting back in 2011 and we got off to the worst possible start when, in the first two years, we had to abandon the meetings because of poor weather.
“Attendances after this in 2013 and 2014 were pretty disappointing, which left us wondering if we’d made the correct decision.”
Farnsworth said a spike in attendance in 2015 finally showed the New Year’s Day meeting might fulfil its potential and laid the foundation for last week’s record attendance.
He added: “This year we were blessed with good weather again and the day truly came of age. The racing was high class and the track looked fantastic.”