MUSSELBURGH Racecourse’s first ever £100,000 jumps race will be the centrepiece of the £430,000 bet365 Scottish Cheltenham Trials at the weekend, which will attract some of the country’s best trainers and horses.

Long-established as the premier trials for horses preparing for a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree’s GrandNational festive, the East Lothian course is in excellent condition for welcoming aspiring champions on Saturday and Sunday.

Recently retired Frodon (King George VI Chase), Mighty Thunder (Scottish Grand National) and Greaneteen (Celebration Chase and Tingle Creek) are just three fine examples of Grade 1 champions who featured at previous Scottish Cheltenham Trials festivals.

Bill Farnsworth, Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, said: "Jumps fans will struggle to find a better prospect at the weekend than the bet365 Scottish Cheltenham Trials, which is one of the most ambitious programmes ever staged at Musselburgh.

"The £100,000 Edinburgh National (Saturday) is our richest ever jumps race and at over four miles it fits nicely in to the stayers’ programme for trainers eyeing up the Grand National and the Scottish Grand National."

The same seven-fixture card also features the £25,000 bet365 Frodon Novices’ Handicap Chase and the £30,000 bet365 Scottish County Hurdle, with ITV covering the first three races live and going better on Sunday with the first five contests broadcast.

On the second day of the festival, Musselburgh debuts a new race, the £80,000 bet365 Scottish Champion Handicap Chase, which is aimed at the top two-and-a-half-mile handicap chasers.

Mr Farnsworth added: "We are excited to see the entries for this new race and also on the Sunday we have one of our most popular fixtures, the £40,000 bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle, which is Musselburgh’s only Class 1 race and is a proper test for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.

"This weekend is by far the most valuable fixture yet staged at Musselburgh so we are expecting it will catch the attention of trainers the length and breadth of the country, and we anticipate quantity and quality in the entries."

Gates open on both days at 11.30am and provisional times for the first races are 1.40pm on Saturday and 1.20pm Sunday, with the last race on both days at 4.35pm.

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