Record number of racegoers

Course record for Musselburgh in bumper year

Musselburgh racesMusselburgh Racecourse posted a record number of racegoers and turnover in its last financial year as it reaped the rewards of investment in its facilities.

Over the last five years the not-for-profit course has pumped £1.45 million into improvements, including £350,000 in the last year.

As a result annual revenue rose by nearly 4% to £5.49 milion, marking a third successive increase.  It also pulled in more visitors over the 27 flat and jump racing fixtures, with 68,300 racegoers creating a modern-day annual attendance record. it enjoyed a 12% spike in 49,600 paying customers, which excludes annual members, owners and trainers.

General manager Bill Farnsworth said despite challenging economic conditions the racecourse was punching above its weight.

“Musselburgh has to compete against much larger and well-financed racecourses to grab our share of the racing and leisure pound but these figures demonstrate the racecourse is in very good shape,” he said.

“Record turnover and attendances and a programme of ongoing reinvestment in the fabric of the racecourse are all down to the hard work off a small band of very committed people working at Musselburgh. Our commercial team, ground staff and the hundreds of casual race day staff put their all in to making Musselburgh Racecourse one of the leading race tracks in the UK.”

It has benefited in particular from Racing Media Group and its TurfTV subsidiary. Total income from these sources has more than doubled in the last five years, totalling £2.27m in 2014/15 compared to just £1.08 million in 2009/10.

Mr Farnsworth added: “Providing competitive racing and good field sizes is crucial to sustaining this and other income streams, hence the emphasis on increasing prize money to attract owners and trainers who have many choices of where to race.”

A key strategy has been to build on the success of the June feature fixtures, the Totepool Edinburgh Cup and Stobo Castle Ladies Day. In 2014 these premium race days generated attendances of 6,131 and 9,434 respectively, but last month crowds rose by 9% to 6708 and 10,288 respectively.

More than £350,000 has been spent in the last year including upgrading the popular Bistro restaurant and raising the viewing area in front of the main grandstand.

Projects under way this year include cambering the bend after the winning post on the flat course to improve the quality and safety of racing. The £140,000 project has been supported by the Tote Racing Foundation and the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

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