New Year Sprint: Ian Horsburgh banishes near misses of 90s to land spoils at Musselburgh

Central AC veteran plans to celebrate with trip to Disneyland

Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 4:46 pm
Ian Horsburgh shows off the Eric Liddell Trophy after receiving the award from George McNeil. Pic: Stewart Attwood

Ian Horsburgh’s wife didn’t want him to run the New Year Sprint, but she’ll be glad he did as the Horsburgh family is now going to Disneyland Paris to celebrate Wednesday's famous win at Musselburgh Racecourse.

The Central AC veteran made it third time lucky in the 110m handicap following two near-misses in the late-90s and it was the perfect early birthday present as he turns 42 next Friday. He also picked up the Eric Liddell Trophy plus a cheque for £5,000.

The pressure was on Horsburgh after posting the quickest time in Monday’s heats and the cross-ties, but the former 400m runner still had the necessary speed endurance to cope with two races in less than two hours yesterday.

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Starting off 10.25m, he quickly caught club-mate Cameron Smith and held off Lasswade teenager Murray Blair and Edinburgh’s Stacey Downie to finish first in 11.81secs.

“I’ve always wanted to win this!” he admitted. “My wife didn’t want me to run because she’s seen me have disappointments before, but I felt I had a big chance this year.

“I knew I was catching Cameron and I stayed relaxed for the rest of the race, but even when I crossed the line I wasn’t sure I’d won until I heard my name called. I felt fresh after Monday, but I had to get used to running on the grass again. Lane four is a good lane because a lot of previous winners have been in lane four, but my biggest worry was Murray Blair. He beat me last summer and I was determined not to let him beat me again!

“I ran really well as a junior, but then I had injuries and didn’t progress. I had 13 years off and had children, but I found some energy again when the kids started sleeping. I wanted to let them see me run rather than telling them about it. I think we’ll be going to Disneyland Paris as a celebration.”

Blair took second place in 11.91, but the 18-year-old conceded: “Ian deserved to win. I thought I was there at halfway, but the track was quite heavy and he pulled away.”

Despite only qualifying as a fastest loser, Downie used her 19m start and 400m strength to grab the final podium position in 11.99. “I was ill a couple of weeks ago and didn’t think I’d be here,” she revealed. “It’s been a welcome start to the year.”