Chelmsford City off to a racing start!
14 January 2015 by Lucinda Stacey
Sunday 11th January 2015 saw the re-opening of Chelmsford City’s all-weather racecourse. The Essex track has been closed for 2,188 days since January 2009, after the Great Leighs racecourse went into administration less than a year after it was launched. As Britain’s fifth all-weather track, Chelmsford City racecourse has been opened with a new stand and a Polytrack surface which many trainers have reviewed favourably. Accordingly, £14 million has been invested on the new track to attract all-weather race fans. Not only did the re-opening attract much publicity, but some of the biggest names in flat racing were runners on Sunday, most notably John Gosden, who had a good record at the Great Leighs racecourse, with his eight winner haul remaining unchallenged.
The weekend re-opening saw an initial trial of only 800 people attending and as such, there were no tickets being sold on the gate to the general public. Management decided to limit entry to members of the public and a statement was made by spokesman Andrew Griffiths that “we appreciated many people want to come racing at Chelmsford, but we’d like to reiterate that we are treating Sunday as a live test..” It would seem the ‘live test’ was successful as many were more than complimentary about the new facilities and in particular were commenting on the improved warmth of the grandstand in comparison to the facilities which existed back in 2008. As with any trial, minor improvements have been suggested by the initial attendees. Chelmsford City managing director Phil Siers said: We’ll now have a good look at the feedback, both good and bad, and take what we’ve learned to our next meeting.”
Phil Siers commented further that: “it’s been a great day and it was wonderful to see everyone here enjoying themselves…. It’s a solid foundation to build on and bodes very well for the future.” This trial day was the first of 58 fixtures which are to be held at the new racecourse, showing a bright future for Chelmsford City. Fred Done, owner of the new track commented “I’m 100 per cent confident about the track’s future. Once we are half successful we’ll spend more money and bring in new facilities.” This promises a refreshing start to Chelmsford City and brushes away the omens of the former Great Leighs racecourse.
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