Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Chelmsford City Racecourse. In this section we explore this all-weather flat racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

 Chelmsford Racecourse

Overview

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 Races, 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 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. 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 have yet happened.

Chelmsford City Racecourse Map

Chelmsford Course Map
Courtesy of At The Races

Chelmsford City Racecourse is an all weather Polytrack. It its left-handed, with two sweeping 2f bends and two roughly 2f straights. There are starting chutes fo races over 7f, 1m and 2m. It is considered to be a galloping track.

Main Races and Events

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 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 racecourse address is:

Chelmsford City Racecourse
Chelmsford
CM3 1QP

How To Get To Chelmsford City Racecourse

  • 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!
  • 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 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. It’s always worth checking out the brilliant offers and deals available through Booking.com below: 
Booking.com

Chelmsford City Weather

Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Chelmsford:
CHELMSFORD WEATHER

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 great deals with some amazing offers for new customers:

  • bet365 Horse Racing
    Bet365 Horse Racing
    GET UP TO £100 IN BET CREDITS

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Horse Racing
    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Horse Racing
    Coral Horse Racing
    GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    Ladbrokes Horse Racing
    BET £5 GET £20 IN FREE BETS

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Horse Racing
    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Horse Racing
    Unibet Horse Racing Logo
    MONEY BACK AS A BONUS UP TO £40

    New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

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.

Chelmsford Races

Summary

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.

Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland

Our team as of August 2020 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:

Popular Questions

🏇 What surface is Chelmsford Racecourse?

has a polytrack surface and is essentially galloping in nature, having broad, sweeping turns. It is a left-handed track of just over a mile in circumference, with seven-furlong and one-mile races starting in different spurs.

🏇 How do I get to Chelmsford City Racecourse?

  • 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!
  • 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 to both Chelmsford and Braintree run regularly from London Liverpool Street.