BHA extends Musselburgh’s temporary licence in search for new track operator

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has issued an extension to Musselburgh’s temporary licence, which is due to last until the end of the year.

The extension comes as the racecourse continues its search for a racecourse operator, as its original temporary licence is due to expire on 15 October. Musselburgh management anticipates confirming a new operator this month.

In recent years, Musselburgh racecourse, which is owned by East Lothian Council, has faced a number of issues as a result of disputes between the local council and racing representatives.

The BHA stepped in as a mediator, carrying out an independent review into the racecourse, which ultimately led to the decision to appoint a third-party operator.

Arena Racing Company, Chester and Jockey Club Racecourses are all understood to be considering a takeover of the operation at Musselburgh, while officials at Ayr last week confirmed that they would not.

The licence is held jointly by East Lothian Council and the Musselburgh Racing Associated Committee (MRAC), which was established by the council last year to manage the track. The MRAC, which is due to convene on Tuesday, is expected to address an update to the racecourse’s licence and procurement process. 

Musselburgh racecourse began the year with a financial deficit of approximately £150,000, the majority of which has been attributed to the £295,000 in legal costs incurred during the tender process to find a new racecourse operator. 

It has been suggested in the racecourse’s latest financial report that the MRAC seeks out independent legal advice to effectively distribute legal fees throughout the tender process. 

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