Sprint heats to go ahead at racecourse

New Year Sprint promoter Frank Hanlon has given the go-ahead for the heats of the 142nd annual professional meeting to take place at Musselburgh Racecourse on Friday.

But, at this stage, he is unable to confirm whether the cross-ties and final will proceed on the following day.

That may depend on the outcome of today's inspection of the course for the New Year's Day National Hunt Meeting. "Most of the snow has gone and the running track will be fine," said Hanlon, who took the decision 12 years ago to take the famous handicap away from Meadowbank because of soaring costs and link up with the horses - and their many followers - at the racecourse.

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Last year the horseracing had to be cancelled because of frost and the second day's athletics was watched by only handful of spectators. Hanlon is keen that the two events are staged together again.

The field contains the usual collection of colourful runners, including Jedburgh kebab shop owner Iskan Barskanmay, who finished third in last year's New Year Sprint and races off 5.5 metres this year. Barsanmay harbours a dream to force his way into his native Turkey's squad for the 2012 Olympics. He runs in the 11th heat. Dunfermline's Gemma Nicol (15.75) will race against her former coach Jimmy Bryce (32.5) in the final heat.