7,000 expected for big race day
Edinburgh Cup ‘stepping stone’ to Ascot Vase
The Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Cup will attract some of the UK’s top three-year-old stayers to Musselburgh Racecourse on Derby Day.
With prize money increased by £20,000 to £80,000, Saturday’s race has also been extended to 1m 6f with a view to establishing the showcase event as a stepping stone for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot on 17 June.
The East Lothian course has also added a Class 1 Listed Race to the fixture, the £40,000 Edinburgh Gin Maggie Dickson Fillies’ Stakes over seven furlongs.
Total prize money on the day tops £180,000 and with advance ticket sales up 30% on last year, Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth is hoping for a 7,000 attendance.
In the 3.25pm feature race, The Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Cup, Scots trainer Mark Johnston, based in North Yorkshire, will be hoping for a fourth win from his five entries.
These include top-weight Sofia’s Rock, a winner at Haydock last Saturday. Carluke-based Keith Dalgleish landed this valuable prize two years ago with Tommy Docc and he is triple-handed, with jockey Graham Lee already booked for Euro Nightmare, a winner over 9f at Musselburgh on 5 May.
Sir Mark Prescott has stable jockey Luke Morris on Alabaster who is on a hat-trick after wins this spring at Chelmsford City and Kempton.
The Edinburgh Gin Maggie DicksonFillies’ Stakes (2.50) has attracted a quality initial entry of 19 fillies and Ed Dunlop-trained Same Jurisdiction has the highest BHA rating of 107 and has Grade 1 winning form in South Africa and seven wins from her 16 races. Also entered is Realtra, trained by Roger Varian in Newmarket, and the winner of a valuable race at Lingfield on Good Friday.
In the 2.15 ebfstallions.com Edinburgh Castle Stakes, Bryan Smart is looking for his third win in this event, and has another smart juvenile entered in the shape of Excellently Poised, a recent course and distance winner which is co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Other entries include Consequences from the powerful David O’Meara yard who was a close second on his debut at York a fortnight ago.
Mr Farnsworth said: “By increasing the distance from one and half miles to 1m ¾ we are laying the ground for the Edinburgh Cup to be the ideal preparation for three year old stayers heading to Royal Ascot for a shot at the prestigious Queen’s Vase Stakes, a Group 2 contest.
“We have been awarded a new Listed Race and are excited about establishing The Edinburgh Gin Maggie Dickson Fillies’ Stakes as a quality race for some of the country’s best fillies.
“This really adds to the overall quality of the Edinburgh Cup Race Day and with the Epsom Derby screened live on our big screens, the atmosphere from a 7,000 crowd will be electric.”