Musselburgh upsets the racing world

Borderlescott drives home

Borderlescott drives home

Musselburgh racecourse is suffering an unfortunate bout of criticism on two fronts. Last weekend they renamed their Sprint Trophy to honour the recently retired sprinter Borderlescott, yet failed to let the owners of the horse know.

Not surprisingly, Jin Edgar and William Donaldson were somewhat disappointed by this, as they would certainly have supported the race themselves, as Edgar explained. “It’s a pity they didn’t make any attempt to contact us as we are regular attendees and live 20 minutes from the course. We would have put up a trophy and also taken a hospitality box. As racing needs people through the gate, surely turning your nose up at 20 people who would have gone isn’t good business for both the course and bookmakers.”

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Managers at the Scottish track accepted that, but pointed out that they had been given permission to use the horse’s name in the race title from trainer Robin Bastiman. No doubt he would have spoken to the owners but for being away on holiday at the time he was approached by Musselburgh. Track manager Bill Farnsworth said, “It’s a bit unfortunate but it goes without saying no slight was intended to Borderlescott’s owners. We don’t have much contact with owners; our relationships are much more with trainers.”

Meanwhile the course has floated the idea of racing on Good Friday next year, a proposal that brought immediate opposition from the Professional Jockeys’ Association, the National Association of Stable Staff, and the organisers of Middleham open day.

Farnsworth dealt swiftly with the first objection, saying, I’m sure the debate has a fair way to go yet, but all we can say is we’re keen to do it. Someone said that if jockeys jib a bit, why not make it an apprentice, conditionals and amateurs day?”

NASS chief executive George McGrath feared that if the plan received the go-ahead, it could be the forerunner of a move to racing on Christmas Day in the future, though perhaps he was tongue in cheek with that idea.

The objections from James Bethell, who organises the Middleham open day on Good Friday, had rather more practical concerns. He said, “I don’t want to see racing on Good Friday because it gives people the opportunity to enjoy the open days (Lambourn open day also takes place on Good Friday), which play in important part in promoting the sport. Some trainers send their horses overnight to Musselburgh and to make open days a success you need a full team, which wouldn’t be the case if there was racing.”

There’s nothing decided yet, so tell us what you think about the idea of racing on Good Friday.

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2 replies
  1. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    Good Friday is a Christian religious holiday. I suspect the vast majority of racegoers are not practising Christians and detest the idea of a few naive, superstitious, self-righteous dunderheads dictating when more sensible people can and cannot attend a sporting day out that has SFA to do with those nutters! Grrrr!!!

    • Avatar
      Ianl says:

      Hi Ray I am struggling to understand how your comment relates to the article above, or indeed what point you are attempting to make. It’s factions in racing objecting apparently! Regards Ian

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