Equine flu: Musselburgh racecourse wants to stage extra fixture after shut-down

One For Arthur
Scottish-trained One For Arthur, the 2017 Grand National winner (centre), will miss his Aintree prep race due to new rules introduced following the equine flu outbreak

Musselburgh racecourse wants to stage an extra fixture to compensate Scottish owners and trainers for the loss of Cheltenham prep races.

The course cancelled its meeting on Sunday due to an equine flu outbreak.

The British Horseracing Authority announced plans to reschedule extra fixtures on the weekend of 23 February and Musselburgh is eager to be among the chosen venues.

"We've got a track in A1 condition," said course manager Bill Farnsworth.

"We've got sponsors that have committed to supporting us, which means we can put on some high-value races.

"If they [the BHA] were willing we would be very happy to stage an extra fixture."

Racing resumes on Wednesday after a six-day shut-down with Musselburgh one of the courses hosting action.

Owners, trainers and jockeys use races at this time of year as final preparations for the big Cheltenham and Aintree meetings in the spring and, without a rescheduled meeting, Farnsworth says Scottish stables could miss out on "critical" training.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: "Cheltenham Festival is the Olympics of jump racing. These horses have been prepared and had a plan of races mapped out for for the last 12 months and we're now into that period where the trainers are putting the very final touches on those horses.

"They need to be in 100% top condition if they're going to win those races. The disruption for those top trainers couldn't have come at a worse time."

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