THE flat season gets under way at Musselburgh Racecourse with the £174,000 Betway Easter Saturday Race Day this weekend.

With 16 flat fixtures staged over the summer months and into October, the East Lothian course will continue to race behind closed doors but is primed to accommodate spectators when Government Covid-19 guidance allows.

The curtain raising meeting this Saturday sees four races screened live by ITV, with the £75,000 feature race The Betway Queen’s Cup, a Class 2 heritage handicap over 1m 6 furlongs, taking centre stage. Preceding the 3.35pm main event is the Betway Royal Mile Handicap and The Betway Scottish Sprint Cup, both with £30,000 prize money.

Bill Farnsworth, racecourse general manager, said: “We are really looking forward to getting back to racing on the flat and we have a cracking card lined up for Easter Saturday which will attract the top stayers and sprinters at the start of the flat season on turf.

“The Queen’s Cup is positioned to capture the attention of the leading trainers and we have developed this race as the first leg of the big staying handicaps on turf, and as a curtain raiser for the Chester Cup, Northumberland Plate and the Ebor.

Easter Saturday at the races. Picture: Alan Rennie

Easter Saturday at the races. Picture: Alan Rennie

“For those racing fans who like their racing a bit faster, the Betway Scottish Sprint Cup over five furlongs is a blink-and-you-will-miss-it race which is always popular, while the Royal Mile Handicap is an excellent Class 2 race for progressive three-year-olds.

“We are delighted with the level of support we have received from Betway since last August and our meeting on Saturday promises to be an excellent showcase for flat racing in Scotland.

“While we all have to remain cautious and continue to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, we are hopeful that at some point during the flat season we will be able to welcome back spectators to the course.”

Chad Yeomans, Betway PR manager, added: “We’re thrilled to be back in Scotland sponsoring at the wonderful Musselburgh Racecourse, for the Betway Easter Saturday Race Day. There is fantastic prize money on offer and there will no doubt be ultra-competitive fields for the ITV cameras.

“When this fixture was last run in 2019, the Betway Scottish Sprint Cup turned out to be one of the most informative handicaps all season, with a large share of the field all going on to find success in their next few starts – it’s definitely a race for eagle-eyed punters and fans to watch back a few times.”