- The Racecourse
- Our Story
Just Getting Started
Chelmsford City Racecourse is the UK’s newest racecourse and the home of horseracing in Essex, but it’s so much more than that.
Chelmsford City Racecourse opened its doors in 2015 and since then has gone on to become one of the busiest racecourses in the UK, thanks to its highly acclaimed All Weather Polytrack surface that will play host to a massive 53 fixtures in 2021 including two Listed Races, as well as the Chelmsford City Cup Handicap. By providing some of the highest prize-money in British racing, the racecourse routinely attracts some of the most successful and prominent trainers and jockeys in the world with horses running at Chelmsford City going on to win at Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, and many other major international racing festivals.
Built on the site of the previous Essex County Showground, Chelmsford City Racecourse is the newest racecourse in the UK and just one of only five fully floodlit All-Weather tracks in the UK capable of offering horseracing all year round.
With its distinctive bespoke champagne-flute floodlights, the racecourse prides itself on sleek design with the newly constructed grandstand having been shortlisted for an architectural award in 2016.
In January 2015 the racecourse opened its doors to the public for the first time in six years to a fevered audience, with the first race being won by the Godolphin owned Tryster, trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by Adam Kirby.
A first year of operation was of immense success, providing a platform from which the racecourse quickly established a reputation for some of the most generous prize money in British racing and an attendance of more than 80,000.
The racecourse immediately attracted racing’s finest to its unique surface, most notably when Hugo Palmer’s Covert Love used Chelmsford City as a launch page for a campaign which saw her win the Irish Oaks and Prix de l’Opéra.
The racecourse’s first year open also saw its first major music concert, when Madness played an outdoor concert after racing to a crowd of more than 10,000. Guests were able to enjoy a full evening of racing followed by one of the most popular bands of the 80s as Chelmsford City signed off its first successful summer.
The second year of racing at Chelmsford City saw more excitement on the track and even more world-class entertainment with a selection of outstanding concerts from Simply Red, Rick Astley and Jools Holland among others.
The racecourse’s facilities were honoured when selected to stage the prestigious rearranged Greenham meeting following the decision to abandon the original Newbury fixture. This card featured three Group races and was incredibly well-received by the racing community thanks to all of the staff who made it a success at such short notice.
2017 was another trailblazing year for the racecourse with more quality racing, great entertainment and more big names such as Boyzone playing at the Essex destination. Chelmsford City’s annual Ladies Day was a sell out, becoming a focal part of the Essex social calendar.
2018 saw the racecourse stage its busiest year of racing to date, with 63 fixtures which provided a massive £5.2 million in prize money, this included the UK’s most valuable evening meeting in history and Chelmsford City Racecourse’s first ever Listed race, the Queen Charlotte Stakes. Chelmsford City quickly broke this record just two months later with an even more valuable meeting which featured the inaugural running of the Chelmsford City Cup worth an astonishing £100,000.
Chelmsford City Racecourse also found itself the recipient of three Racecourse Association Excellence awards, firmly establishing its position as one of the the UK’s most exciting racecourses.
2019 was another massive year of racing with the addition of another Listed race, the Chelmer Stakes and 60 race meetings. It was a wonderful summer that also saw us co-host our first music festival in partnership with the legendary Clockwork Orange, to create ‘Clockstock’. This sell-out music festival saw 60 of dance music’s most iconic DJs and acts including Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, and Todd Terry come to the racecourse and deliver undoubtedly the biggest party in Essex.
What looked to be a sensational sixth year at Chelmsford City Racecourse, like most the racecourse found itself disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The racecourse prevailed becoming one of the first to return with ‘behind closed doors’ racing, managing to successfully stage the majority of its calendar as well as preparing to open as one of the South East’s largest vaccination centres in the new year.
Major Races at Chelmsford City Racecourse
Chelmsford City Racecourse has proven a keen desire to invest in developing its racing programme, not only at a grassroots level, but at the very top.
Our first major race of the calendar is the Cardinal Stakes. This Conditions race will be worth a staggering £100,000 in 2022 and serves as the final leg in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
This race is the final opportunity for a European horse to qualify for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, one of the most prestigious races in international racing where only the best of the best possess the opportunity to be immortalised in the history books as an American Classic winner.
In order for a horse from Europe or Japan to receive an invitation to this most glorious of races, they first must accumulate enough points across a highly competitive string of races in the UK, Ireland and France. Chelmsford City Racecourse forms the seventh and final opportunity of the series which could see them on their way to Louisville in May for the 147th edition of the American race.
Chelmsford City Racecourse first Listed race of the season, the Chelmer Stakes is a highly competitive sprint over six furlongs. Having been won by Happy Romance and course specialist, Sean Levey, in 2021 we are expecting bold challenges from racing’s finest as we continue to develop this great race.
Louis Roederer Queen Charlotte Stakes
Chelmsford City Racecourse’s most prestigious race is a Listed event over seven furlongs which regularly attracts high quality fields of some of racing’s elite equine participants.
The Queen Charlotte Stakes name was given approval by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2018 and is named in recognition of the former Galleywood racecourse which gained Royal approval when King George III put up a 100 guinea purse for the Queen’s Plate in honour of his consort Queen Charlotte.
The inaugural race in 2018 was won by the Charlie Fellowes trained Carolinae and in 2019 by Richard Hannon’s 1000 guineas winner Billesdon Brook. The current incumbent is the John Quinn trained Highfield Princess.
Louis Roederer Queen Charlotte Stakes day will take place on Sunday 3rd July and will be a spectacular day of racing for everyone to enjoy.
Chelmsford City Cup
Historically Chelmsford City Racecourse’s most valuable race in the calendar, the Chelmsford City Cup, is the UK’s richest evening race and meeting.
This Heritage Handicap is one for outsiders and guarantees excitement and drama which we hope you join us for.