STAFF at Musselburgh Racecourse have been given a £1,000 boost to start their year as management predicted profits for the year would be just under £190,000.

The course is expected to turn the 2018/19 deficit of £149,600 into a £134,644 closing balance at the end of the 2019/20 financial year, with its team of staff credited with being the driving force behind the turnaround.

And at a meeting this month of Musselburgh Racing Associated Committee (MRAC), members, who oversee the governance of the course, agreed to give each of the 15-strong team a £1,000 bonus to reflect their efforts.

Committee member Robert Miller-Bakewell proposed the bonus for all staff during the meeting, which was supported by committee convenor Councillor Fiona O’Donnell and fellow member Roy Anderson Green.

Remaining committee members in attendance, Musselburgh councillors Katie Mackie and Andrew Forrest, voted against the bonus but did not give reasons for their position.

Racecourse general manager Bill Farnsworth had told the committee that, after what had been a very bad previous year for the course, in which it had seen the Beast from the East, equine flu, and a dry summer affect fixtures and runners, this financial year had proved extremely good.

He said: “For all the bad luck we had last year [2018/19], we have been paid back with good luck this year [2019/20].

“Full credit has to go to the staff, everyone has kept focus and kept doing their jobs.”

Boosting the turnaround in finances this year is the predicted income from the sale of assets to the new operators of Musselburgh Racecourse which is expected to bring in around £150,000 on top of profits of £189,552 from the year.

At the MRAC meeting members, were told that new operators Chester Racecourse were now expected to take over on March 1.

Legal adviser Carlo Grilli said the British Horseracing Authority had issued a licence to Musselburgh Racecourse to cover it up to the takeover and talks were ongoing with staff.