Happy New Year Day Sell Out For Musselburgh Racecourse
Capacity 6000 Crowd Will Welcome in 2020 With £100,000 Card
A top quality £100,000 six race card at Musselburgh’s Betway New Year Race Day has been rewarded with a 6000 capacity sell out attendance.
There are no general admission tickets available for the East Lothian track’s 1 January meeting and with fine weather predicted the stage is set for a rip-roaring start to 2020.
Feature race of the day is the £30,000 Betway Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle (2.15pm) and it promises to be a cracker with three previous winners in the 11-strong field, namely Aristo De Plessis (2016), Sir Chauvelin (2018) and last year’s victor Normal Norman. However, trainer Brian Ellison may be on cue to disrupt any repeat victories with his entry Snookered looking to continue a sequence of four consecutive wins on its first visit to Musselburgh.
All four look to have their work cut out with strongly fancied Ashington attracting plenty of pre-race attention. A 100,000 gns purchase, Ashington impressed in novice company at Musselburgh’s opening jumps meeting in November and trainer John Quinn said: “This looked the obvious race after he won so well in the autumn. Bill Farnsworth and his team at Musselburgh do a grand job – the prize money is very good and they really look after you.”
In the Betway Hair of the Dog Handicap Hurdle (1.05pm) trainer Donald McCain’s entry Knock House was a hot favourite in this race last New Year and will be looking to better a close second, while Keith Dalgleish’s top weight, One Night in Milan, has a win and two seconds from his three runs this term and, off a loft BHA mark of 142, is one of the highest rated horse on the card.
Knock House jockey Brian Hughes has a full book of rides tomorrow as he looks to continue the challenge on Richard Johnson in the jump jockeys championship and to become the first northern jumps champion jockey in 40 years.
Interestingly, the last northern jockey to claim the title was Jonjo O’Neill in 1979-80 and his entry As You Like is a market principal and strong contender in the (1.40pm) Betway Auld Reekie Handicap Chase, with son Jonjo O’Neill junior on board,.
In the same race, Hawick based trainer Alistair Whillans will be hoping Cracking Destiny will be amongst the honours, despite going up 10lbs after winning by 10 lengths at Musselburgh last time out ahead of Sporting Press, which is also running.
For those who like their racing with a touch of celebrity, tennis coach and sometime ballroom dancer Judy Murray, OBE, is a guest at Musselburgh and also expected to attend is local hero and unified light-welterweight world boxing champion Josh Taylor. The race day also features the finals of the oldest athletics race in the world, the historic New Year Sprint.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said: “The track is in magnificent condition, a capacity crowd will provide an electric and festive atmosphere, and our £100,000 card has attracted a field of real quality. There can hardly be a better place in Scotland to bring in 2020 than at Musselburgh’s Betway New Year’s Day meeting.”
Betway’s Alan Alger said: “We’re delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Betway New Year’s Day fixture at Musselburgh. As ever, Musselburgh Racecourse offer fantastic prize money which always attracts strong fields and competitive racing. With crowds expected to sell-out, it’s going to be a great way to start the year.”
Gates open at 10.30am, the first race is off at 12.30pm and the final race at 3.25pm.