A working group has unanimously recommended that the long term operation of Musselburgh Racecourse is carried out by a third party operator.

The group consisting of Elected Members (cross party representation from Councillors Stuart Currie, Fiona O’Donnell and Brian Small), members of the Lothians Racing Syndicate (Robert Miller-Bakewell, Ken McGarrity and Ray Anderson Green), racecourse General Manager Bill Farnsworth, and supported by Pinsent Masons LLP and council officers, considered different models to determine the preferred route of operating the racecourse in future.

This followed an independent governance review by Pinsent Masons which put forward a number of options for the future running of the popular facility.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, Chair of the Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee (MRAC), said:

“We have been working very hard to secure the future of Musselburgh Racecourse. It’s a much-loved facility which has an excellent reputation thanks to the hard work and commitment of its employees.

“I’d like to thank working group members. While there were clearly pros and cons associated with the options put forward, after careful assessment we unanimously agreed that procuring a third party operator to run the racecourse on the council’s behalf was the best way forward.

“This will allow the racecourse to continue to be operated with suitable racecourse knowledge and provide an opportunity to continue to develop as a leading horseracing venue.

“This is good news for the staff – who will transfer to the new operator – as well as race-goers, the community and local economy.”

In May, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) granted the racecourse a further extension to its racing licence until the end of its flat season on 16 October. This was granted on the basis that the BHA are provided with regular updates on the steps being taken to implement a long-term governance structure for the track with the aim of this being in place by the end of 2018.

The council will now commence a procurement process to appoint a third party to run the facility – which sits on Common Good land – on its behalf. The existing working group will continue to be involved in this process.

Published: Wednesday, 27th June 2018