HORSE racing will continue at Musselburgh Racecourse after a licence was granted until the end of the flat season.

A dozen flat meetings are planned between June 2 and the Flat Season Finale on October 25, with two harness racing meetings also pencilled in for July.

The licence, granted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), is on the basis that it is provided with regular updates on the steps being taken to implement a long-term governance structure of the course, with the aim of it being in place by the end of the year.

A temporary licence had been granted for racing earlier this month, with an extension now given.

Last year, the BHA became so concerned with the running of the venue that it threatened not to renew its licence, unless an independent review into its governance was carried out.

A working group has already been established with membership from the Labour, Conservative and SNP groups on East Lothian Council, Lothian Racing Syndicate and staff representation.

The Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee (MRAC) was formed to replace the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee (MJRC).

MRAC is made up of Robert Miller-Bakewell and Ray Anderson Green, who represent the Lothian Racing Syndicate (LRS), alongside councillors Fiona O'Donnell, Stuart Currie, Andrew Forrest and Katie Mackie.

The group will explore two options, which would see the racecourse becoming an Arm’s Length External Organisation (ALEO) of East Lothian Council or being put out to tender for operation by a third party.

Law firm Pinsent Mason, who carried out the governance review, are providing support to the group in its deliberations, with a recommendation to be made to a meeting of the full council on June 26, ahead of the summer recess.

Ms O’Donnell, MRAC chairwoman, said: “This is a further positive step in securing a long term solution in the best interests of Musselburgh racecourse.

“Racegoers, staff, owners and trainers now have certainty for the remainder of the flat season.”

Bill Farnsworth, Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, was similarly pleased to see progress being made.

He said: “I am very pleased that progress is being made in determining the future governance of the racecourse and that the BHA has seen fit to grant a licence extension until the end of our flat season.

“There is still a lot of work to be done but with co-operation and mutual understanding, the interested parties can produce a framework which will be acceptable to the BHA and which secures the long-term future of Musselburgh Racecourse.”