A selection of Perth Racecourse's flagship races will be renamed and rebranded in honour of the city's cultural roots to celebrate the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology and promote its bid for 2021 UK City of Culture.
Scottish artist Gordon Muir has been commissioned to design two special-edition trophies, paying homage to the legendary Stone of Destiny, otherwise known as the Stone of Scone, and the Roman-era Saddle Quern.
The Roman-era Saddle Quern was discovered in the fabled Gold Castle adjoining the course.
As part of the racecourse's aim to involve the wider Perthshire community in its burgeoning programme, as well as help promote the city's heritage, the new-look trophies will be ready in time for the Perth Festival which starts on Wednesday 26th April.
The polished-bronze saddle quern - which was used for gridning flax and barley in the Roman fort discovered nearby - will be up for grabs to the winner of the £20,000 EBF Stallions Gold Castle National Hunt Novice Hurdle Race, and the original quern will be on display at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery throughout festival week.
In August's summer meeting, the Summer Champion Hurdle will be renamed The £25,000 Stone of Destiny Handicap Hurdle Race. Used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish monarchs, the Stone of Destiny - also known as the Stone of Scone - was stolen from nearby Scone Abbey by King Edward I of England in 1296, and used in the crowning ceremony of virtually every monarch since. The trophy will feature an exact miniature by Muir, taken from the same seam of red sandstone as the original and donated by Lord and Lady Mansfield of Scone Palace.
Set in the stunning parklands of Scone Palace, the racecourse has worked closely with the Mansfield family to identify the most effective means of bringing its rich heritage to the fore.
Hazel Peplinski, Perth Racecourse Chief Executive, said: “I am grateful to Scone Estate for unearthing some marvellous potential race names, many of which shall be integrated in to the race programme throughout the summer months, and hope that it encourages the wider Perthshire community to embrace the racecourse as another local treasure.”
Lady Mansfield of Scone Palace said: “We were delightedto be asked to contribute to Perth Racecourse’s race re-branding, and to see the Stone of Scone and Saddle Quern celebrated in Gordon Muir’s work.
“The trophies and the new race names are appropriate salutes to the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology, and to Perth’s bid for UK City of Culture. They really are fine tributes that will go the distance.”