New Hope for Great Leighs Racecourse

Essex’s only race course at Great Leighs has finally found new investors who are willing and capable of driving the venue forwards. The new owner is MC Racetracks Limited. They have announced plans to build a new hospitality complex and a state of the art grandstand for Great Leighs.

The new owners have said that they will work with the local community. Councillor Robert Bamford of School Lane, Great Leighs explained that they have mentioned that they will be looking to local farmers and producers to provide food at the race course.

The race course was previously owned by a Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary, West Register (Realisations) Limited, who took control after the previous owner found themselves in financial difficulties. MC Racetracks bought the race course a couple of weeks ago.

Great Leighs race course was founded by father and son, John and Jonathan Holmes in 2006. Its first race meeting was on 20th April 2008. However, it went into administration in January 2009 and had its racing licence revoked.

Terry Chambers, owner of Ashfields Carriage and Polo Club in Great Canfield, Essex,  agreed to lease the course for 18 months but the course was never granted a new racing license and the plans all fell apart.

The administrators could not find a suitable buyer for the course so the Royal Bank of Scotland took ownership through a subsidiary. Earlier this year, Eddie Stobart’s CEO Andrew Tinkler was in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland, but these talks never progressed.

Finally an agreement has been met with MC Racetracks, which is managed by Tony James. He has been working hard to finalise this deal. Because of the previous licencing problems Tony James sought assistance from the British Horseracing Association prior to making the deal. It is thought that this deal looks set to go ahead properly when the licencing process is started early next year.

Great Leighs Race Course

The course has an 8 1/2 furlong left-handed Polytrack oval, with a two-furlong home straight. Although it is the only racecourse in Essex, and there is also no racecourse in neighbouring Hertfordshire, there is stiff competition from Newmarket just over the border in Suffolk.

To find out more about the return to racing in Essex call +44 (0) 1245 364 299 or email [email protected]. You can also sign up to Great Leighs mailing list or visit their Facebook & Twitter pages for the latest information.

Great Leighs Horse Racing website: www.greatleighs.com.

Location: The Showground, Chelmsford, Essex , CM3 1QP.


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Directions to Great Leighs

  • By Car: Great Leighs is five miles north of Chelmsford on the A131
  • By Rail: To Chelmsford from Liverpool Street. Bus shuttles to the racecourse will operate on race-days.

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