Chelmsford City Racecourse

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, betting guides and even the weather.

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 Chelmsford 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 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.

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
Chelmsford
CM3 1QP

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.

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

Chelmsford City Fixtures

The current Chelmsford City race meetings for 2021 are:

  • Sunday 4th July 2021 – The Queen Charlotte Stakes
  • Saturday 14th August 2021 – Example live at Chelmsford City Racecourse
  • Sunday 15th August 2021 – Family Fun Day
  • Saturday 21st August 2021 – Ministry of Sound Classical
  • Thursday 26th August 2021 – Ladies Day
  • Saturday 11th September – NOW That’s What I Call The 80s Live
  • Saturday 18th September 2021 – Clockstock 2021

As the newest racecourse in the UK extra fixtures are looking to be added each year.

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 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!

Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland

Our team as of November 2021 have reviewed the racecourses below, that are also worth a visit:

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.