Musselburgh licence extended to end of year in light of 'very positive work'
Musselburgh has been granted a further extension to its racing licence until the end of the year by the BHA as the local council continues its search to appoint a third party to run the track on its behalf.
Jockey Club Racecourses and Arena Racing Company are expected to compete to take on the responsibility for the East Lothian Council-owned course, whose future was put in doubt after a breakdown in the relationship between the local authority and Musselburgh's racing representatives.
The extension is conditional on a licence application being lodged with the BHA, which is under way, and also keeping the governing body updated on the progress of the procurement process.
Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, chair of the Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee (MRAC), said: "This further extension of Musselburgh racecourse's licence until the end of 2018 reflects the very positive work that has taken place to secure the track’s future.
"It provides increased certainty for racegoers, staff, owners and trainers as we look ahead to fixtures in the coming months.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment in getting us to this stage. The procurement process for appointing a third-party operator is being progressed and I look forward to reporting further progress in due course."
In June a working group consisting of councillors from three parties –members of the Lothians Racing Syndicate, racecourse general manager Bill Farnsworth and council officers – recommended the long-term future of the course be overseen by a third-party operator.
The course subsequently held an open day at which potential bidders learned more about the course and the technicalities of the council's tender process.
East Lothian Council said Musselburgh would apply for a racecourse licence for 2019 later this year, in accordance with standard BHA requirements.
A BHA spokesman said: "The BHA has informed Musselburgh racecourse that the temporary licence will be extended to the end of the year, pending receipt of a suitable application."
Musselburgh's next meeting takes place on Saturday.
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