First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced that from January 24 licensed premises and hospitality venues would no longer be restricted to table service and one metre distancing rules.
It means the East Lothian course’s big-money bet365 Scottish Festival Trials weekend of February 5-6 can go ahead as normal, with guests able to enjoy Musselburgh’s full range of bar, restaurant and hospitality services.
Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said the development would be welcomed by all five Scottish racecourses which have been operating within constraints which has severely impacted on visitor experience and income revenues.
He said: “This is excellent news, not just for Musselburgh but for the Scottish racing industry as a whole.
“We fully understood the need for caution at large sporting events, but now the situation has changed significantly, we welcome the chance to offer the full racing and entertainment packages on which our race meetings depend, and which allows us to deliver to visitors the best experience we can.
“The bet365 Scottish Festival Trials weekend is one of the most important fixtures on the Scottish jumps racing calendar and attracts high quality entries from the UK and Ireland, with many horses being trialled for a potential tilt at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.
“The pedigree of the horses racing up Musselburgh’s final straight is all important, but equally vital is a large and enthusiastic crowd who contribute to the electric atmosphere at big meetings.
“Now that we have the green light to open up all our facilities, we can look forward to a fantastic weekend of premier racing.”
With more than £260,000 in prize money over the weekend festival, the Saturday meeting includes the £40,000 feature race the bet365 Edinburgh National, while the Sunday meeting boasts three £25,000 races, including the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Advance adult rickets are discounted by £5 (normal admission is £30) until midnight on February 4 and race goers are advised to book in advance.