Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide

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Welcome to our official guide to Chelmsford City Racecourse.

We explore this all-weather flat racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information and betting guides.

If you are looking for the latest betting tips for Chelmsford, check out our full guide to Chelmsford Racecourse tips.

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Chelmsford City Racecourse

Overview of Chelmsford City Racecourse

The newest horseracing course in the UK, Chelmsford City Racecourse has operated for less than a decade and already has an eventful history.

It is the first completely new course to open in Britain since Taunton Racecourse, which opened back in 1927.

Chelmsford City Racecourse opened in 2008 but only has operated successfully for less than five full years of racing. It was originally known as Great Leighs Racecourse (which is geographically accurate, as it is located in Great Leighs, halfway between Chelmsford and Braintree) but was renamed when purchased by Betfred in 2015.

It’s often just referred to as ‘Chelmsford Racecourse’.

The track at Chelmsford City Racecourse is an all-weather left-handed course in an oval shape just over a mile in length and hosts one mile and seven-furlong races starting at different spurs.

The course is Polytrack, so this combined with the oval shape of the course means that it is often compared to horseracing tracks in the USA.

Chelmsford City Racecourse has yet to have operated for long enough to have fully developed and established its place in the British horseracing scene, but that’s not to say it isn’t already making waves!

The track design has been described by critics and commentators as ‘immaculate’, and the facilities on-site are modern and accommodating. Indeed, as a result, Chelmsford City Racecourse plays home to plenty of non-racing events as well as the usual race meets, and its location, set in 150 acres of parkland, means that it’s a favoured picturesque venue for businesses and events of all types.

As a new and purpose-built modern course, Chelmsford City Racecourse plays an important role in the development of British horseracing. It runs ‘kids’ clubs’ for aspiring jockeys and trainers and works closely with the British Horseracing Authority to develop the business and offering where it can.

 Chelmsford Racecourse

Chelmsford City Racecourse History

Despite being the newest course in the country, Chelmsford City Racecourse has already made quite a mark!

The course was designed and constructed by entrepreneurs John and Jonathan Holmes, who sought to open a course to serve the community of Essex, Hertfordshire and East London, as the nearest venue in the area was Newmarket.

Chelmsford City was due to open in 2006 but due to delays did not manage to until April 2008, when invited attendees saw Temple of Thebes win the opening race. It was originally known as Great Leighs.

The course, however, drew criticism, as much of the visitor attraction was unfinished and not yet open. Within a year, the administrators were called in and its racing licence was revoked.

Several deals were pitched but none failed to materialise.

By 2010, the administrators confirmed that they were discussing a new use for the venue so that it wouldn’t remain closed. However, MC Racetracks bought the course in 2011. They were unable to obtain a racing licence right away but went on to be granted one for 2015 after a syndicate, headed up by Betfred boss Fred Done, managed to convince the British Horseracing Authority to proceed. Some 12 fixtures were set and run.

In 2017, Chelmsford City Racecourse announced plans to build an on-site casino and a new turf course inside the existing track, but neither has yet happened.

Chelmsford City Racecourse Map

Below is a map of Chelmsford Racecourse:

Chelmsford Course Map
Courtesy of At The Races

Chelmsford City Racecourse is an all-weather Polytrack.

It is left-handed, with two sweeping 2f bends and two roughly 2f straights. There are starting chutes for races over 7f, 1m and 2m.

It is considered to be a galloping track with a decent home straight.

If you want to check out previous horse racing results, click here!

Main Races and Events at Chelmsford City Racecourse

Chelmsford City Racecourse doesn’t have the most packed of race schedules, but it is still a fledgling course and finding its feet amongst the other 59 horse racing courses in the UK.

Notable races include April’s Cardinal Stakes, run over a mile, May’s Chelmer Fillies Stakes, run over seven furlongs, and June’s Queen Charlotte Fillies Stakes, run over six furlongs.

Chelmsford City Racecourse Address

The official Chelmsford City Racecourse address is:

Chelmsford City Racecourse

How To Get To Chelmsford City Racecourse

The best ways to get to Chelmsford Racecourses are:

  • By car – Chelmsford City Racecourse is just five miles north of Chelmsford and easily accessible by car. All parking on-site is free. Somewhat unusually, sat-nav devices pick up the postcode just fine and will lead you straight to the car park entrance! Details for your sat nav are – Chelmsford Racecourse, Chelmsford City, CM3 1QP
  • By bus – buses from Chelmsford to Braintree stop close to the course but are not ideal as there’s a busy dual carriageway to cross upon alighting. However, taxis do regularly pick up from the drop-off point and carry passengers directly and safely to the course.
  • Trains – trains to both Chelmsford and Braintree run regularly from London Liverpool Street.

Hotels near Chelmsford City Racecourse

The nearest hotel to the Chelmsford racecourse is the Holiday Inn Braintree, just three minutes drive away.

Other hotel options are split somewhat evenly between Chelmsford and Braintree, with some countryside accommodations as well.

As a fairly rural area, you’ll also find some great country pubs with rooms too, including The Compasses, Channels Lodge and The White Hart. As Chelmsford City Racecourse has yet to host many large events, you shouldn’t struggle too much to book a room in the surrounding areas, even at fairly short notice.

Chelmsford City Races 2024

Here is the horse racing calendar for Chelmsford City Races in 2024:

11/1/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
13/1/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
21/1/2024Chelmsford CitySunday
1/2/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
9/2/2024Chelmsford CityFriday
15/2/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
24/2/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
29/2/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
9/3/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
14/3/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
29/3/2024Chelmsford CityFriday
6/4/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
11/4/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
13/4/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
18/4/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
25/4/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
2/5/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
9/5/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
23/5/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
6/6/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
20/6/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
7/7/2024Chelmsford CitySunday
6/8/2024Chelmsford CityTuesday
15/8/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
22/8/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
29/8/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
31/8/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
19/9/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
28/9/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
3/10/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
10/10/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
12/10/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
17/10/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
26/10/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
31/10/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
7/11/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
9/11/2024Chelmsford CitySaturday
14/11/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
5/12/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
12/12/2024Chelmsford CityThursday
19/12/2024Chelmsford CityThursday

Check out our guide for the full list of UK horse racing calendar fixtures for 2024.

Chelmsford Racecard

The racecards for Chelmsford races will be released the day before the races are set to happen. You can view full racecards in advance, check out  – horse racing cards tomorrow and horse racing cards today. In these, you will get an advance look at all the runners, trainers, form and riders.

You can also of course purchase a racecard from the track which carries much of the same useful information. Many like to keep these as souvenirs, especially from major horse racing events.

Best Chelmsford Races Betting Sites

At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following as the best horse racing betting sites, each has some amazing offers for new customers, They also have some amazing free bet offers, best odds, live horse race streaming, a range of bookmaker deposit options and more.

Betting Shops Local to Chelmsford City Racecourse

On-site, Chelmsford City Racecourse has several Tote kiosks (at least one in every enclosure) as well as roving Tote staff to help you place a bet even without visiting a dedicated area or shop.

There are also independent bookmakers by the track on race days, but not as many as you may expect to see at other racecourses.

Chelmsford isn’t the biggest place in the world, but you’ll find branches of Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred in the centre. Braintree has the same as well as branches of William Hill and BetCentral.

Mobile signal in the area is good, so if you’re unable to bet in a shop, you can do so online through your mobile device.

Other Events at Chelmsford City racecourse

Chelmsford City Racecourse is fast becoming a major events venue in Essex and so plays host to non-racing events as well as standard race days.

The Clockstock Music Festival has taken place here for two years running (with future years planned) and darts evenings, including The Icons of Darts, have proved popular.

The Club restaurant on the course is also worth a positive mention!

Chelmsford Races

Popular Questions

✅What surface is Chelmsford Racecourse?

The surface at Chelmsford is a polytrack surface.

The tracj is essentially galloping in nature, having broad, sweeping turns. It is a left-handed track of just over a mile around.

✅How do I get to Chelmsford City Racecourse?

The ways to get to Chelmsford Racecourse are:

  • By road – Chelmsford City Racecourse is just five miles north of Chelmsford and easily accessible by car. All parking on-site is free. Somewhat unusually, sat nav devices pick up the postcode just fine and will lead you straight to the car park entrance!
  • By bus – Buses from Chelmsford to Braintree stop close to the course, but are not ideal as there’s a busy dual carriageway to cross upon alighting. However, taxis do regularly pick up from the drop-off point and carry passengers directly and safely to the course.
  • By train – Trains to both Chelmsford and Braintree run regularly from London Liverpool Street.

Summary of Chelmsford City Racecourse

The newest racecourse in the UK Chelmsford City is still rather finding its feet as a venue.

It is starting to build a good reputation as a fun night out hosting good racing on a quality racing surface.

It is praised for its great facilities and we are enjoying seeing this newbie go from strength to strength.

Definitely worth a visit!