Musselburgh Racecourse’s premier jumps meeting of the season got a welcome boost today with the Scottish Government’s announcement that Covid-19 hospitality rules are to be relaxed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that in light of an improvement in Covid-19 statistics, from 24 January licensed premises and hospitality venues would no longer be restricted to table service and one metre distancing rules.

It means the East Lothian course’s big-money bet365 Scottish Festival Trials weekend (5 and 6 February) can go ahead as normal, with guests able to enjoy Musselburgh’s full range of bar, restaurant and hospitality services.

Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said the development would be welcomed by all five Scottish racecourses which have been operating within constraints which has severely impacted on visitor experience and income revenues.

Mr Farnsworth said: “This is excellent news, not just for Musselburgh but for the Scottish racing industry as a whole. We fully understood the need for caution at large sporting events, but now the situation has changed significantly, we welcome the chance to offer the full racing and entertainment packages on which our race meetings depend, and which allows us to deliver to visitors the best experience we can.

“The bet365 Scottish Festival Trials weekend is one of the most important fixtures on the Scottish jumps racing calendar and attracts high quality entries from the UK and Ireland, with many horses being trialled for a potential tilt at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.

“The pedigree of the horses racing up Musselburgh’s final straight is all important, but equally vital is a large and enthusiastic crowd who contribute to the electric atmosphere at big meetings.

“Now that we have the green light to open up all our facilities and to provide our well-established five-star experience, we can look forward to a fantastic weekend of premier racing, which I hope sets the tone for the rest of the jumps season and into our Flat meetings in the summer.”

With more than £260,000 in prize money over the weekend festival, the Saturday meeting includes the £40,000 feature race the bet365 Edinburgh National, while the Sunday meeting boasts three £25,000 races, including the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial.

Advance Adult Tickets are discounted by £5 (normal admission £30) until midnight on 4 February and race goers are advised to book in advance.

For more information and to book tickets visit www.musselburgh-racecourse.co.uk