Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Great Leighs: Newly named Chelmsford City racecourse could host meets next year after fixture approval given

18:30 29 April 2014

Great Leighs Racecourse

Great Leighs Racecourse

An Essex racecourse which has been silent since 2009 could once again hear the noise of shouting punters and galloping hoofs.

shares
Great Leighs RacecourseGreat Leighs Racecourse

That’s because the former Great Leighs Racecourse has been granted permission by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to enter the fixture allocation process for 2015.

The venue became the first new course in Britain for 81 years when it opened in April 2008 but shut just nine months later when the owning companies were put into administration.

But now the course looks set to get back on track after being bought last year by Great Leighs Estates Limited.

The company was formed by Betfred owner Fred Done with partners SIS (Satellite Information Services) and Bet Solutions International.

They have renamed the all-weather track Chelmsford City Racecourse and are confident it will host races next year.

Mr Done said: “I am delighted that we will race in 2015 and I look forward to seeing Chelmsford City Racecourse welcoming the racing public, at what will surely be the best all weather racing venue in the UK.”

Gary Smith, chief executive of SIS and a GLEL shareholder, added: “We are delighted that we have the BHA support to move ahead in 2015.

“We became a partner in this exciting new course because we wanted to ensure that the British horseracing and betting public will be able to enjoy easily accessible, high quality coverage of the outstanding programme of all-weather fixtures being planned for Chelmsford City.”

Ruth Quinn, director of racing for the BHA, said the course had “met all of the criteria for new and converted racecourses” and had subsequently “been granted permission to join the 2015 fixture allocation process.

But she added: “This should not be interpreted as a guarantee or indication of an expansion of all-weather fixtures or the overall fixture List in order to accommodate new fixtures.

“We continue to develop the fixture allocation process, part of which involves determining customer demand for fixtures and the scope of the horse population to meet such demand.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chamber of Commerce, said the course’s revival would be a boost to both they city and the county.

“We would very much welcome the reopening of Chelmsford City racecourse and we welcome the fact they have been granted a license,” Mr Burch said.

“There’s the opportunity for people to fly in (to Southend Airport) from other parts of the UK or abroad.

“We think it’s a very positive thing and I’m sure it will benefit Chelmsford itself and a wider area.”

Former owner of the course John Holmes said: “I am delighted that the British Horseracing Authority are supporting the return of racing to Chelmsford City Racecourse at Great Leighs.

“I believe this is the best all weather track in Europe. It successfully staged 48 quality race meetings until locking horns with RBS in 2008.

“The racing fraternity will be thrilled to see the return of racing and I wish the new consortium every success.”

shares
The car is rescued from the pond - photo courtesy of iwitness Jane Davis

A driver was left stranded on top of an upturned car in the middle of a pond after the vehicle left a country road in the early hours of this morning.

British Summer Time begins this Sunday (March 29) when the clocks go forwards by an hour and the nights will be noticeably lighter.

The East of England Air Ambulance was called to Shenstone Drive after a woman in her 60s became seriously ill

A woman has been taken to hospital in a critical condition after falling ill in Ipswich.

Acton Primary School kids have designed boards for an easter trail around the village to raise funds. Left to right, Billy Purser and Lilly Elms.

Youngsters are being invited to follow a special Easter trail around their west Suffolk village to help raise funds for new play equipment at the local school.

Cancer survival rates for those living in west Suffolk are the best in the East of England, new figures reveal.

Health minister and Suffolk MP Dan Poulter last night labelled the move a step in the right direction, saying it will hugely benefit patients.

Evening and weekend GP services could return to Suffolk as early as this summer, it can be revealed today, but a reduction in the anticipated funding means just one centre will initially open to patients.

New smart tickets are to be introduced by Abellio Greater Anglia.

Season ticket holders on Abellio Greater Anglia trains are set to be among the first in the country to get a new plastic “smart ticket” later this year.

Burglars broke into the home of a woman in her 80s

A woman in her 80s was forced to sit and watch as burglars stole jewellery from her home last night.

Drink-driver jailed

A drink-driver has been jailed for six weeks and banned from the road for five years.

Car and motorbike collide in Foxhall Road

A motorcyclist escaped without serious injury following a collision with a car in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, this morning.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages