Originally known as Great Leighs, Chelmsford City Racecourse is a globally renowned venue for thoroughbred horsing racing that is located in Great Leighs near Essex in England. Opening its gates for the very first time in 2008, Chelmsford is one of the latest additions to the long list of similar amenities in the United Kingdom. Although the sporting venue went into administration in 2009, it did not restart its operations until 2015.
Initially, Chelmsford City Racecourse was managed by John Holmes and his son Jonathan. The savvy entrepreneur had sought to open the amenity with the intention of serving the unmet racing needs of racegoers and racing enthusiasts. Like many of his previous business ideas, Holmes' noble thought was a brilliant initiative that birthed the now well-known racing grounds.
The racecourse was set to open in October 2006 but the occasion was severally put off to 2008. Eventually, the first ever fixture was arranged to take place on 20 April 2008, after numerous delays majorly occasioned by licensing issues. The maiden race was won by Temple Of Thebes. While the racecourse attracted a plethora of praises from certain quarters for its ambitiously modernised design, others widely lambasted the management for unfinished facilities. As a result, the inaugural racing event did not meet the anticipated attendance.
However, Chelmsford Racecourse was closed on 16 January 2009 due to a few technicalities. After this brief suspension, the racecourse was immediately advertised for sale. The administration later revealed that they were unable to strike an agreeable deal since most of the interested buyers lacked sufficient financial backing. This prompted the management to again embark on a series of long-drawn-out negotiations with the Royal Bank of Scotland, the main creditors in the arrangement. The new development sought to establish whether the financial institution was willing to buy the newly constructed racecourse. Nevertheless, the lengthy talks did not materialise fruit as the bank did not agree to the offer.
Finally, Chelmsford City Racecourse leading managers tried to enter an 18-month contract with a local entrepreneur named Terry Chambers. Even though Chambers responded positively to the leasing offer, the inextricably embattled venue was yet unable to bid for fixtures in 2010 due to its inability to obtain a license.
After many unsuccessful attempts, it was announced in March 2011 that the chief executive of Eddie Stobart Ltd, Andrew Tinkler, had gone on a new wave of extensive negotiations with the Royal Bank of Scotland with the aim of facilitating a formal resumption of racing activities at Chelmsford City Racecourse.
Finally, Chelmsford City Racecourse was bought in November 2011 by MC Racetracks. Despite this long-awaited breakthrough, the British Racing Authority (BHA) declared the venue ineligible for the 2012 and 2013 fixtures. Nevertheless, the oversight body announced that Chelmsford new administrators were free to submit their application for the 2014 events. Upon resubmitting the application, BHA yet again rejected Chelmsford’s application for the 2014 racing competitions. Finally, success eventually came when the beleaguered sporting grounds got a nod to host the 2015 fixtures, albeit without any express guarantee of an expansion of all-weather fixtures.
Visit Chelmsford racecourse website here.
Contact details: Chelmsford City Racecourse, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1QP
Tel: 01245 360300