Gallery: Godolphin grabs the glory at Chelmsford City Racecourse
- Credit: PA
Chelmsford City racecourse opened its gates today, returning racing to Essex for the first time since Great Leighs closed in 2009.
The meeting was a chance for the racecourse, which has invested £50 million into the project, to test systems and there was a limited crowd of around 800 for the first of 58 fixtures scheduled for this year.
On the course it was Godolphin which shone with a hat-trick of victories.
Another ‘trial’ meeting will follow on Thursday, January 22 but the course hopes to be able to welcome the public at the official opening meeting on February 1.
“We want to help racing and all constituent parts of the racing business to be successful. We have high-class facilities for everyone,” said managing director Phil Siers.
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Accompanied by chairman Joe Scanlon, Siers added: “We bought this facility from Great Leighs in December 2013 and it has been horrendously difficult to get where we are today.
“But we are confident this will work. There is total prize money of £2.2 million for 58 fixtures,” added Siers.
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Scanlon was delighted with the outcome of the opener, describing the race as “fabulous Essex fayre.”
The honour of winning that race went to Godolphin’s four-year-old Tryster, the 2/1 favourite, ridden by Adam Kirby for trainer Charlie Appleby.
Dropped out early on, Tryster took it up and held on in a photo-finish from fast-finishing Gaelic Silver under Hector Crouch.
“The track is very deep, a little slow. I don’t remember it being that slow,” said Kirby, who added the winner was ‘a bit of a baby.’
The day got better for Godolphin and Kirby when filly Blue Aegean turned in a stunning performance to win the five-furlong sprint at 7/2.
The market couldn’t make up its mind but Blue Aegean looked tremendous in the ring and Newmarket-based Kirby gave her a great winning ride to beat Lackaday.
Godolphin completed a great day when its three-year-old colt Tempus Temporis took the feature, the Betsi Golden Mile Stakes, returned at 11/4.
Trained by John Gosden, the winner was ridden by Robert Havlin and won comfortably with runner-up Anonymous John never getting in a blow.
Gosden, absent because of a skiing injury, was represented by his wife, Rachel Hood, the mayor of Newmarket.
The stable completed a double as 2/5 shot Zamoura won on her second appearance. The filly under Nicky Mackay, made all and held on, again in a photo-finish, from newcomer Duchess of Marmite.
Northern-based rider Graham Gibbons did a great job in getting Zac Brown home at 9/2 in the Greene King Handicap. Trained by David Barron, the fitting of a hood seemed to help the winner who scored by three lengths.
Martin Dwyer got on the scoresheet when Until Midnight won the sixth race, again after a photo-finish. The Eugene Stanford trained gelding, returned at 7/1, did well to hold off favourite Lunar Deity.
The finale produced the shock of the day, 20/1 chance Invigilator winning for trainer Derek Shaw under jockey Paddy Mathers, ahead of well-fancied Fois Gras.