Musselburgh: third-party operator will run the track

John Grossick

Musselburgh moved another step closer to its new governance future on Monday when groups considering taking on the track’s management contract visited the racecourse.

Jockey Club Racecourses and Arena Racing Company are among those who have been expected to compete to take on the responsibility for the East Lothian Council-owned venue, whose recent history has been beset by a civil war between the local authority and Musselburgh’s racing representatives.

Those problems caused the BHA to take a close interest in Musselburgh’s licence and eventually resulted in the council deciding to allow its asset to be run by a third-party operator.

Musselburgh’s new operator is set to be announced by the end of the year

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Following Monday’s open day event, at which potential bidders learnt more about the racecourse and the technicalities of the council’s tender process, interested organisations will now have to decide if they want to submit a formal application. 

A winner is expected to be named before the end of the year.

Musselburgh general manager Bill Farnsworth said: “We staged a very successful open day. We were delighted with the turnout and also delighted with the interest that is being shown in Musselburgh. We now look forward to the start of the tender process.”

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, chairwoman of the Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee, added: “East Lothian Council held an open day for all the parties who have expressed an interest in contracting with ELC to operate the racecourse.

“There was a great deal of interest from racecourses in different parts of the UK and with the big names in racing. That is an indication of the high regard in which Musselburgh racecourse is heard in the industry and what a great opportunity this is to be involved in the future of the racecourse.

“The day was a great success as there is so much to say about the history and achievements. I am confident that at the end of the procurement process we will have an operator who will take the racecourse forward in the next stage of its development and growth.

“I want to thank all those who attended, and the staff who showed the racecourse in the best light.”

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