Musselburgh Racecourse

Address:
Musselburgh Racecourse, Linkfield Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian, EH21 7RG - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01316 652859
Entrance to Musselburgh Racecourse
Entrance to Musselburgh Racecourse (Renata / Wikipedia.org)

Known as Edinburgh Racecourse until being officially changed in the 1990s, Musselburgh Racecourse is located in Scotland, just outside the capital city. In terms of average prize money offered, Musselburgh is the biggest racecourse in Scotland behind Ayr and the 14th biggest in the UK (useful info for the stats fans!).

Featuring both flat and National Hunt racing, Musselburgh only introduced jumping race in 1987, with the first official race held in the area in 1777. Since 1672 there has been a nine-hole golf course on site and the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club was founded in 1774.

In 2011, Musselburgh racecourse won the Dual Purpose Award at the Neil Wyatt Racecourse Groundstaff Awards, beating Ascot into second place. In 1995, a £7.5m redevelopment started, with a new hospitality stand, new stables and refurbishment to key areas taking place. Groundstaff have since (in 2010) installed a fibresand strip as part of the track, becoming the first racecourse in the UK to include an artificial material alongside a turf track (as part of the same track). Musselburgh racecourse is located less than one mile from the A1, with all routes well signposted. Those travelling by train should travel to Wallford station, with free bus travel available that is timed alongside trains from Edinburgh and North Berwick.

Ticket Prices

Entry to the racecourse starts from just £15 for adults, whilst customers under the age of 18 are allowed access free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult. Prices vary according to the meeting and there are fish and chips, and champagne packages available alongside the standard entrance ticket.

The Course

Musselburgh Flat & Jumps Racecourse Map

Musselburgh offers both flat and National Hunt racing, with the action taking place throughout the calendar year. The track is a right-handed compact oval measuring at around 1m2f with a home straight of 4f. A small spur by the start of the run-in allows for straight sprint races of five furlongs in length to take part. It’s from this spur where 2m races also begin.

During the winter months, the National Hunt course is built on top of the flat course. It therefore shares exactly the same characteristics, mainly that it’s generally flat with two tight bends. The bends on all courses are especially sharp and so Scotland’s second largest racecourse tends to favour more agile horses as opposed to long-striding gallopers.

The steeplechase track features eight fences with four in each straight, whilst the hurdles course contains just six flights, three per straight. Despite the course’s location in East Lothian, Scotland, conditions rarely get testing here with the soil among the best draining in the country.

Money Well Spent on Course Improvements

Musselburgh deals with rain far better than most courses but there is one small section of the track, by the winning post bend, which horses used to really plough up during the winter. In order to give this tight 170m stretch some much needed protection, fibresand was added to the track at a cost of £100,000. The sizeable investment has been a definite success, making a real difference to horse and rider safety at times when the ground is soft.

Another danger that previously existed at the course was the bend at the top side of the course, once the tightest right-handed bend in British racing. While still up there as one of the sharpest, extensive re-cambering work allows horses to take it faster without making their jockeys feel they could suddenly fly off the saddle. The changes also mean that runners can carry much more speed into the home-straight, one that feels almost downhill, making it extra difficult for horses to win from deep at Musselburgh.

Wide Best Over Five Furlongs

Seeing horses race down the stands side is a common sight at Musselburgh. It may be an especially well-draining course but it does appear that the far side deals with rainfall even better than the inside. Although the deceptive camera angle can make it hard to see who’s faring best, a look at the numbers removes any doubt over which side of the track is best over five furlongs.

On Musselburgh’s straight track, when looking at sprints with 10+ runners between September 2009 and August 2019, low drawn runners won just 19 races and posted an Impact Value (IV) of 0.58. Stall number one was particularly unproductive with a win rate of just 3%, lower than any other stall. Those starting in the middle on the other hand won 40 times, while horses receiving a high draw won 50, resulting in an IV of 1.24. Elsewhere on the course, there is no real sign of bias, not even for seven furlong contests, which start close to the very sharp final bend and so might have been expected to have a bias for an inside draw.

Major Meetings at Musselburgh

Entrance to Musselburgh Racecourse
Entrance to Musselburgh Racecourse (Richard Webb / geograph.org.uk)

One of the major flat races run at Musselburgh each year is the Scottish Sprint Cup, which is run each June over a distance of 5f. In terms of jumps races, the two main ones are the Musselburgh Gold Cup and the John Smiths Scottish County Hurdle, which are run in February and April, over distances of 1m6f and 2m respectively.

Dining and Hospitality

Musselburgh Stands & Track
Musselburgh Stands & Track (G Laird / geograph.org.uk)

Private hospitality boxes are available for customers to take advantage of at all race meetings, with suites available to host between 20 and 200 guests. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and the fixture, with prices varying between £62 and £148 + VAT per person.

Alternatively, customers are invited to eat during the day in the onsite Epperston Restaurant, with a choice of bespoke menus to choose from, and prices starting at £55 and potentially rising to as high as £98 + VAT per head.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches