New operators of Musselburgh Racecourse are expected to take over the reins by the end of June, it has been announced.

Delays to finalising a deal between East Lothian Council and Chester Race Company meant that the planned handover at the end of March this year did not go ahead.

However during an online meeting today of Musselburgh Racing Associated Committee (MRAC), which currently oversees the governance of the course, members were told Chester will take over "no later than" June 30.

Reading a joint statement on behalf of the council and Chester, the local authority's legal adviser Carlo Grilli said talks between the two parties continued 'positively'.

He said: "We continue to work positively with Chester and both parties are working on details of the contract to allow a transfer date of no later than 30 June."

Mr Grilli declined to discuss details of the contract during the public part of the meeting which was held via Skype after he was quizzed about prize money and priority races commitments agreed between the council and Chester.

The racecourse was managed until 2018 by Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee, which was made up of three elected East Lothian councillors and two members of Lothians Racing Syndicate.

However, after an independent review called into question the governance of that committee amid claims of toxic relationships between members, the council replaced it with MRAC, which has four councillors and two racing experts on it, and agreed to find a third-party operator to take over its management.

Chester was announced as the preferred operator in October last year and discussions over the details of the 10-year lease have been ongoing.

Delays to the initialy March handover were put down to the coronavirus crisis.

Councillor Stuart Currie, MRAC member, welcomed news that a June deadline is being worked towards.

He said: "I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say I am really pleased we seem to be moving towards a conclusion."