Musselburgh Racecourse has announced it will stage a new Derby Day race, the totepool Edinburgh Cup, which will be worth at least £80,000.
The totepool Edinburgh Cup will be Scotland’s second richest flat race, after the Ayr Gold Cup, and with race day prize money in excess of £200,000, will attract a high quality field of runners.
Run on Derby Day over the same distance as the famous Epsom classic and for three year old horses rated 0-105, Musselburgh believes the Edinburgh Cup will attract colts and fillies with the potential to progress to Group races.
Musselburgh’s most valuable race day will also feature the £50,000 totescoop6 Scottish Sprint Cup, which is now firmly established as a key five furlong event for the top sprint handicappers.
Other attractions on the June 5 race day include the £30,000 Edinburgh Castle Stakes, a conditions race for two year olds, which will be seen as a preliminary for horses heading to Royal Ascot. The £20,000 Tradesman’s Derby and the £15,000 Tartan Trophy will act as consolation races for the two main events, bringing the total prize pot to more than £200,000.
Musselburgh plan to build the Edinburgh Cup in to a £100,000 race in successive years and Channel 4 has already expressed strong interest with the feature race and two others included on its programming schedule.
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said due to the sell-out success of Musselburgh’s Derby Day Fixture in previous years, which also incorporated the venue’s annual Ladies Day, many racing fans were denied the opportunity to experience the track’s biggest and best race day.
Mr Farnsworth said: “Ladies Day has been an outstanding success, beyond all our expectations, but the downside is that because it’s a sell-out we have 2-3000 regular race goers who can’t attend our biggest and best race day.
“This year Ladies Day has been moved to Friday June 18 during Royal Ascot week, with a stronger focus on fashion and social racing and the launch of the Edinburgh Cup Race Day on Derby Day is a strategic move to appeal to the discerning race goer.
“With that in mind we decided to introduce a high value meeting which would appeal to racing fans and would attract top quality horses. We can’t compete with the Derby but we can bring an exciting alternative to Scotland and we are confident Edinburgh Cup day will grow in to one of the country’s top racing fixtures.
“Channel 4 has Derby Day at Musselburgh firmly in its sights and our immediate aim is to develop the Edinburgh Cup into a £100,000, early closing race, which will be a prospect the UK and Ireland’s leading stables hopefully can’t resist.”
Mr Farnsworth said an added attraction of introducing a ‘cup’ event, in the vein of the Doncaster Cup or Goodwood Cup, was that they have a tradition of attracting stayers which develop in to household favourites such as Double Trigger, which won both cups three times.
Mr Farnsworth added: “The aim is to make it an early closing race and the Tote will open a book in advance which will generate a fair bit of pre-race betting interest.”
Jason Brautigam, director of sales and marketing for totepool, said: “The Tote has a longstanding relationship with Musselburgh and we have worked together to help build the Derby Day fixture over the past four years. We are delighted to be involved with this high profile initiative which will really give Scottish Racing another boost. We anticipate a great deal of betting interest in a race of this type and quality, as well as being a fantastic centerpiece for race goers on the day.”
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