Musselburgh Racecourse for their John Smith’s Race-night was The Edinburgh Blogs destination last night. Our group had bought the tickets in advance for Â£13 each, with the doors opening at 4pm and the first race at 6.10pm. Overall it was a great night and a trip to Musselburgh on a race day comes highly recommended.
Getting to Musselburgh racecourse from the centre of Edinburgh can be achieved by car (parking available on street and the free adjoining car park), bus (Lothian 15, 26 and 44) and train (Wallyford station, from where a free courtesy bus to the racecourse is provided). Last night we arrived just as the first race was finishing. A small queue had formed at the indoor ticket kiosks; however we skipped this and picked our tickets up from the advance sales desk. Here we were given an excellent, complimentary race programme and race form. This contained a guide to the course and facilities and a full graphical list of the runners, with pertinent info, for each race.
Before each race you can give each horse an inspection and find your fancy as they are paraded around the Parade Ring. Also, after each race the winning horse can be spotted here and so can the jockeys as they make their way to the Saddling Enclosure. A great view of the track and the bookmakers betting ring is provided from the large, solitary grandstand. Of course this wouldn’t be a night at the races without a few beverages and my first stop was Freddies Bar, which you can access from the track side of the grandstand. No glass is allowed, so inferior plastic glasses held my pints of Fosters (Â£2.80 each). John Smiths is also available, making a rather poor draught selection. However bottles of Becks and all the usual spirits/mixers are available.
Placing a bet involves heading down to the bookmakers betting ring (pictured below right) and naming your stake. Which bookmaker you choose can be a simple matter of personal preference, those offering win only bets or, like me, which bookmaker is offering the best odds. I won just one race - a Â£10 stake at 9/2 on Onenightinlisbon in the 7.10.
Food is available at the racecourse and ranges from the premier Racegoers restaurant, carvery, bistro or, like me last night, the burger vans. Here I bought a very average cheeseburger for a hefty Â£3, though it did serve the purpose. If one of my more optimistic bets had paid off I might have been tempted into a bottle of Pommery Champagne in their marquee. It didn’t.
A large TV screen by the racetrack allows you to view the action when it’s out of eyesight or too far away (though binoculars are welcome) and this is accompanied by audio commentary.
Overall, despite my limited betting success, Musselburgh races provided a totally enjoyable and refreshingly different evening of entertainment. The next meet is Pommery Ladies Day on August 17th, but there are regular races scheduled throughout the remainder of this year and next; including some races with jumps through November and December. It’s a great trip out and comes highly recommended. Check out Musselburgh Racecourses very detailed and very up-to-date website for further information.