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Chelmsford City Racecourse look to the future after successful outcome of first fixtures 25/01/2015
Richard Whitehouse
Chelmsford City Racecourse look set to have their official opening on February 1 after the successful completion of two race cards in front of invited guests and paying customers.

The all-weather Essex track opened after a six-year break following the closure of previous incarnation Great Leighs. Great Leighs closed in January 2009 after going into administration less than a year after it launched.

January 28 will see the last of the three ‘trial fixtures’ scheduled at the Essex racecourse which is located five miles north of Chelmsford.

The all-weather track has been awarded 58 race meetings in total for 2015 and Chelmsford City managing director Phil Siers was pleased with the outcome of the first two fixtures.

“It’s been a great day and it was wonderful to see everyone here enjoying themselves,” Siers said after the first meeting. “The racing proved to be very competitive and provided some thrilling finishes. It’s a solid foundation to build on and bodes very well for the future.

“We’ll now have a good look at the feedback, both good and bad, and take what we’ve learned onto our next meeting,” he went on to say.

Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths added: “It was easily our busiest meeting of the day. There’s clearly an appetite for good quality all-weather racing and it’s very encouraging for the future.”

Chelmsford City races on the site of the former Great Leighs track which was the first new racecourse in the UK for over 80 years when it opened in 2008 and went into administration in 2009 after just 44 meetings.

Tryster was the first winner at the new venue when landing the 10 furlong Class 2 race that opened the seven-race card. His success was the first of three for Godolphin who also scored with Blue Aegean in the five furlong Class 4 and Tempus Temporis, a five-length winner of the one mile feature race that was also a fast-track qualifier for the all-weather finals at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Godolphin stables are just 30 miles to the north of the racecourse and is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with head trainer Saeed bin Suroor training some of the most expensive horses in racing history. The stable's support is crucial to the future of the track which is now owned by a consortium, headed by Fred Done, the boss of bookmakers Betfred. The conglomerate bought the track from the Royal Bank of Scotland in December 2013 and have invested £25 million in the course.

Betfrd spokesman Andrew Griffiths said, "It's a solid foundation to build on and bodes very well for the future. We'll now have a good look at the feedback, both good and bad, and take what we've learned onto our next meeting."

You can buy tickets for future meetings can be purchased from the official website.

Check out all the other Horse Racing information at our dedicated page.

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