By Simon Jackson.
The chances of racing returning to Essex have received a massive boost following news that the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has accepted an application for fixtures allocation for 2015.
The request was submitted by Great Leighs Estates Limited (GLEL) for the new Chelmsford City racecourse, on the site of the former Great Leighs racecourse.
Great Leighs, an all-weather track near Chelmsford, was the first new racecourse in the UK for over 80 years when it opened in 2008, but went into administration the next year after just 44 meetings.
An application on behalf of MC Racetracks Ltd – a different entity to GLEL – was turned down in 2014, which had left the future of racing returning to Essex looking increasingly bleak. But the BHA’s confirmation of Chelmsford City’s inclusion in the process, along with the new all-weather track at Newcastle, has boosted hopes of a return.
“Having submitted applications which met all of the criteria for new and converted racecourses, both Chelmsford City and the converted Newcastle all-weather track have been granted permission to join the 2015 fixture allocation process,” the BHA’s director or racing, Ruth Quinn, said.
“However, 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 at either venue.
“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.”
The final fixture list for 2015 is due to be published by the end of September.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.