Built on the site of the previous Gt Leighs racecourse, Chelmsford City is not only the newest racecourse in Britain, but is also one of only 5 fully floodlit all-weather tracks in the UK. With the distinctive shape of the bespoke made Champagne-flute shaped lights, the racecourse pioneers sleek design, the newly constructed Grandstand having been short-listed for an architectural award in 2016.
The course opened for racing on 11th January 2015 with the first public raceday on 1st February in the same year. Throughout the two and a half years the course has been in operation, it has gone from strength to strength, offering a huge variety of raceday and non-raceday events including, but not limited to, live music concerts, obstacle races, family fun days, wedding exhibitions and Arabian race fixtures.
2015 saw the course host an inaugural music event when Madness played an outdoor concert after racing. A great event saw a crowd of around 7,000 guests enjoy a full evening of racing followed by some rousing renditions of some of the best Ska hits of the 1980’s. With a total attendance of approximately 80,000, the first year of operation was a great success and has provided a platform from which the racecourse has grown year on year to date. 2015 finished on a high when Channel 4 Racing covered the fixture on 27th December, following the abandonment of some jumps fixtures – the huge advantage of boasting a top of the range all-weather surface!
The second year of racing at Chelmsford City saw not only some great live music from the likes of Simply Red, Rick Astley and Jools Holland, but also a huge increase in attendance, a more prominent local presence and some top-class Arabian horse racing. In a gesture of huge confidence from the racing community, the course was selected as the best place to stage the rearranged Group 3 Greenham Stakes following the decision to call off the original Newbury fixture. This is a fantastic accolade for such a young track and one which was handled with aplomb by all the staff at incredibly short notice.
2017 began with a bang with hugely successful early sales for all three concerts as well as standard race fixtures. In addition to some big name bands set to play at the Essex course over the summer, the annual Ladies Day has already become a focal part of the Essex social calendar. Three Racecourse Association Excellence awards, and numerous other shortlistings, and projected prize money of over £3.6 million throughout the year show that Chelmsford City really has developed from the young pretender to a leading contender.
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