Bill Farnsworth, general manager, Musselburgh Racecourse

Musselburgh Racecourse has been given the go-ahead to stage Good Friday turf racing for the first time in the UK.


The East Lothian course will host a £150,000 race day next April 18 in what will be the country’s only turf fixture that day, with Lingfield holding a £1 million champion’s race day as the culmination of the UK’s winter all-weather racing season.


The approval by governing body the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) was welcomed by Musselburgh’s general manager Bill Farnsworth.


He said: “It’s a positive move and we are delighted that we have been chosen to be the first UK racecourse to race on Good Friday.


“The Easter weekend is a holiday which many people look forward to and leisure and tourism facilities across the country are open as usual to help them enjoy their time away from work.


“Horseracing needs to reflect modern trends and stay in touch with a society which wants to make the most of its leisure time. Racing on Good Friday will give an exciting outlet to those enjoying the start of a long weekend and I am confident this day will develop in to a major feature on the UK racing calendar.”


Musselburgh will switch its Easter Saturday programme, including the £50,000 Royal Mile Handicap, to Good Friday while continuing to stage its popular Easter Sunday race day.


The Good Friday programme will also include Musselburgh’s own version of Doncaster’s Brocklesby Stakes, offering a high profile start to the Scottish Flat season for two year olds.