Neil Graham has been a key member of the team at Chelmsford City Racecourse since its launch in 2015 and, having joined the board of directors in 2020, he has recently been appointed to the role of Racing Director.
A former Newmarket trainer who tasted Classic success with the 1988 St Leger winner Minster Son, Neil has a depth of racing knowledge which he has used to good effect in helping to develop the racecourse in recent years.
“I’ve really enjoyed my involvement with Chelmsford City, which goes back to before the track reopened in 2015. After the launch I was asked to stay on and help on race days, taking care of hospitality, keeping an eye on the paddock area and owners and trainers,” says Neil.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to try to attract non-racing people and to make it a more comprehensible experience, and it’s a team run with an unquenchable enthusiasm for racing and Chelmsford City Racecourse. We are very keen to be innovative and are always thinking about how we can make things different and better.”
Neil’s role includes liaising with the RCA, Levy Board and BHA over fixtures and race-planning, and he will also sit on the independent racecourse industry committee.
He continues, “It’s been exciting and interesting to see how the course has evolved. There has been a real effort to put up decent prize-money to attract quality horses and big fields, and to make our racing a good product.
“The trainers certainly appreciate the prize-money – and we will have dramatically increased prize-money from 1 January. They also like the track. The location is obviously ideal for the Newmarket trainers but Mark Johnston is actually our leading trainer this year. He has more runners than anybody else and they are coming all the way from Middleham.”
Neil is also proud of the racecourse’s commitment to ensuring that stable staff are well looked after during race meetings.
He says, “We were the first track to offer free food to the racing staff and that’s really important as a race day is a long day for them and we have had a lot of positive feedback from the travelling head lads.”