Musselburgh turn attention to New Year’s Day after call-off

Bill Farnsworth will be keeping a close eye on the weather ahead of Musselburgh's New Year's Day meeting
Bill Farnsworth will be keeping a close eye on the weather ahead of Musselburgh's New Year's Day meeting
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Musselburgh Racecourse were forced to abandon Monday’s meeting after overnight temperatures plummeted to leave the track frostbound.

A breakfast-time inspection had been scheduled for Sunday and, although the seaside circuit avoided the snow which hit many parts of Scotland and the UK, temperatures dipped to below -5c and left no option but to declare the fixture off.

“There was no decision to make, it was so cold and the track frozen,” said racecourse boss Bill Farnsworth, who had contemplated using fleece to cover the course over the weekend.

“We have a store of fleece here on hand and had thought about using it, but the weather was so windy on Thursday and Friday, it would have been impossible to have got it laid properly,” he explained before adding: “and it is very costly.”

It takes a couple of days or so to get the track completely covered at a cost of around £15,000, but Farnsworth will certainly have the fleece ready if the weather does not relent for the big fixture on New Year’s Day.

“That meeting has become extremely popular and we are expecting a sell-out crowd, so we shall certainly be keeping a very close eye on the weather over the next fortnight or so,” he added.

The track have put a crowd limit of around 6500 for around that day and punters are being urged to buy tickets in advance.

“We feel we need have a much lower crowd limit than in summer time because of the weather,” said Farnsworth. “People want to be inside when it is cold or wet and we want our customers to have an enjoyable experience, not be packed into the bars and restaurants like sardines.”