Musselburgh Racecourse set to reopen behind closed doors

Racing to return subject to government approval

By Matthew Elder
Thursday, 28th May 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th May 2020, 7:21 pm
Action from a previous meeting at Musselburgh Racecourse. Pic: Scott Louden
Action from a previous meeting at Musselburgh Racecourse. Pic: Scott Louden

Musselburgh Racecourse is planning to resume racing for the first time since February with back-to-back meetings behind closed doors at the end of next month.

The East Lothian course has been allocated five provisional fixtures from June to August by racing’s governing body the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which are to take place without spectators.

The first two events are planned to take place on consecutive days – Tuesday 30 June and Wednesday July 1 – with the others scheduled for Friday 10 July, Thursday 30 July (evening) and Wednesday 26 August.

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A total of 24 meetings in June, July and August will be staged at Scottish racecourses subject to a range of factors, particularly public health and the approval of the Scottish Government.

The BHA has released protocols for racing behind closed doors including detailed information for the safe movement of horses, jockeys, racing staff and their equipment.

Musselburgh earlier confirmed its Stobo Castle Ladies Day fixture in June and its six scheduled Flat fixtures in July and August had been cancelled and full refunds will be issued to customers who have purchased tickets.

Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “We are planning to resume racing again at Musselburgh on Tuesday 30 June and Wednesday 1 July by staging controlled racedays, which will be without spectators.

“We have adapted our operational procedures to ensure these behind-closed-doors meetings meet the highest health and safety and bio-security standards.”

Delly Innes of Scottish Racing, which represents Scotland’s five racecourses, added: “The public can have confidence in our ability to race behind closed doors as safely as possible when the government allows more industries back to work.

“As a highly regulated industry we have considerable experience of keeping any potential health and safety risks to an absolute minimum.

“We are fully prepared to stage race meetings in a strictly controlled environment which fully comply with all the requirements of governmental and racing industry bodies, once they decide the time is right to resume racing.”

Racegoers who have purchased tickets for Musselburgh’s July and August meetings will be contacted shortly to arrange refunds while customers who purchased tickets in person or by telephone are asked to email [email protected] to arrange a refund.