SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL and Silvestre De Sousa win at Musselburgh 8/4/14
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
The racing leadership of Musselburgh on Friday received a major boost after the controversial chairman of the track’s governing committee failed to retain his place on East Lothian Council.
John Caldwell, who had twice been the subject of no confidence votes by racecourse staff, came 36 votes short of re-election in the Musselburgh ward he had previously represented.
The new-look East Lothian Council will now need to select a replacement chairman to the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee, which is made up of four council appointees and three members of the Lothian Racing Syndicate. The latter’s membership has for some time been engaged in a fierce battle with Caldwell that led to the BHA placing the racecourse on a temporary licence, due to expire at the end of June.
The Racing Post last month revealed civil war has been fought for some time at Musselburgh, which according to the LRS had been “heading towards disaster”, largely, it claimed, due to Caldwell’s leadership.
Among the LRS allegations was that up to £100,000 in legal fees had been wasted by the MJRC, including money spent on a report into staff grievances that was ultimately ignored. Staff morale was said to be low, evidenced by threats of industrial action and the removal of the racecourses’s Investors In People status.
LRS chairman John Prideaux had told the Racing Post: “The councillor members of the MJRC have a built-in four-three majority, and have abused – in our view – that position to prevent any serious discussion and debate.
“The input of the Lothian Racing Syndicate members and racecourse management is being ignored, and there is a chronic lack of direction and strategic planning.
“This has had a massive and detrimental impact on the day-to-day management of the racecourse.”
In response, Caldwell had accused the LRS of seeking to manipulate the election result.
He said last month: “This is a way of them trying to get me out. They are trying to jeopardise my chances in the election, which is totally out of order.
“It’s vindictive, it’s harassing and it’s pathetic. The problem won’t go away if they get rid of me.”
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