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Chelmsford Races

Last Updated: October 12, 2018

Chelmsford City Racecourse is located in the Essex countryside and is one of the newest racecourses in the UK, having only begun hosting horse racing meetings in January 2015. However, it did have some previous history, having opened as Great Leighs Racecourse in 2008, only to close in 2009. Despite that initial failure, the track has proved a huge success since reopening, with many Newmarket-based trainers sending horses to race on the all-weather Polytrack surface.

Many decent horses have raced at the course in the last three years, with the most notable being Tryster who went on to win an Easter Classic at Lingfield, and Buratino who went on to win the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Meanwhile, the 2017 Steward’s Cup winner Lancelot du Lac is undefeated in three runs at Chelmsford. The course stages a variety of meetings, some of which are night meetings, when horses race under floodlights.

Key Facts

Below are some key facts about Chelmsford Racecourse.

Established: 2015

Course Type: Flat (all-weather, Polytack)

Current Owner: Betfred


The reason that Chelmsford City Racecourse is popular with Newmarket trainers is that it gives horses a chance to race left-handed around wide, sweeping bends. This makes it a great track for horses that like to stretch their legs and gallop all the way to the line. The track measures a little more than a mile and forms a complete circuit, with the finishing straight measuring just over two furlongs. However, races at 7 furlongs and a mile start in chutes that allow runners to race straight for a while before encountering a bend.  

Notable Races

One of the main races staged at Chelmsford Racecourse is the Queen Charlotte Fillies’ Stakes. This Listed race is open to fillies and mares aged four or older and is run over 7 furlongs. It was only added to the calendar in 2018, when it was won by Carolinae who is trained by Charlie Fellowes.

In September 2018, Chelmsford will host the inaugural Gentleman’s Day. This new innovation is being advertised as the “Ultimate day out for the boys” and will feature five-furlong and seven- furlong handicaps that are each worth £40,000.

Dress Code

The dress code at Chelmsford Racecourse may refer to specific enclosures or specific racing days. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the dress code before you attend to avoid the chance of being refused admission.

In the Corporate and Annual Members Area and the Club Restaurant, men must wear a jacket, collared shirt, and tie. If you prefer smart casual, but no trainers, the Fairwood Restaurant could be the place for you. Meanwhile, you may be refused admission from the Sports Bar if wearing a sports top shirt with sporting club logo that may cause conflict with other racegoers. No shorts, sports shirts, or flip flops are allowed in any of the hospitality areas.

Interesting Facts

When Great Leighs Racecourse, now known as Chelmsford City Racecourse, opened in 2008, it became the first completely new racecourse to have opened in over 80 years. The last completely new racecourse to open before that was Taunton in 1927. 

In 2016, Chelmsford Racecourse staged the Group 3 Greenham Stakes, after the original race was earlier postponed at its usual home of Newbury.

Address and Contact Details

Chelmsford City Racecourse, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1QP
01245 360300

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