Easter horse racing plan opposed by churches

A SCOTTISH racecourse is bidding to introduce horse racing on Good Friday for the first time in the UK.

The proposal from Musselburgh Racecourse is to be put to the British Horseracing Association. If approved, a three-day Easter Festival of Racing would take place at the venue.

Traditionally Good Friday is the only public holiday other than Christmas Day when racing does not take place in Britain.

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Musselburgh Racecourse manager Bill Farnsworth said: “Nowadays most retailers and leisure operators are open as normal and we have to move with the times. I believe Good Friday racing would be most welcome by the huge number of racing fans on holiday over the Easter weekend.”

However, a Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We are deeply disappointed to hear these proposals from Musselburgh Racecourse.

“If other racecourses followed suit Good Friday could very quickly become bad Friday for many – and there is no doubt pressure for Christmas meetings would soon follow.”

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The Church remains unconvinced that society will be a better place by increasing the opportunity for gambling, least of all on one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar.”