Chelmsford City Racecourse is a racing venue found in Great Leighs near Chelmsford, Essex, England. It was formerly called Great Leighs Racecourse. The racecourse is owned by John Holmes and son, Jonathan and was officially opened on 20/04/2008.
Chelmsford held its first race meeting with an audience on 28/05/2008 and the opening race was won by Temple of Thebes. It is a flat Polytrack type of course. The racecourse became famous for its racing facilities but was also criticised for its incomplete visitors’ facilities and thus did not meet expectations at many levels. The venue can host races during winter as well as summer.
Racing was halted temporarily on 16/01/2009 and the site put on a bid. It was announced in March that the two bidding parties had been unable to prove that they had sufficient finances to manage it.
Leasing and selling
The Administrators made an 18-month lease deal with Terry Chambers who is a local businessman, but the course was ineligible to bid for fixtures since it was unable to acquire a racing licence in time. The racecourse was expected to resume racing in 2011 after the administrators struck a deal with Chambers and Bill Gredley, where the pair would buy the racetrack. However, the plans did not succeed as the deal did not pull through. MC Racetracks bought the course in November 2011, but the British Horseracing Authority turned down an application to hold fixtures in 2013. BHA however allowed Chelmsford to be among the fixture venues of 2014.Still, when the owners submitted requests for it to host fixtures in 2014, the BHA rejected it. Later in 2013, the racecourse was bought by Betfred’s owner Fred Done and sought the approval of BHA for 2015 fixtures.
With an invited crowd of 800 people, the racetrack reopened on 11/01/2015. A public reopening later took place on 22/01/2015, with the first race going to Tryster by a short head.