20th April 2008 saw the rebirth of the old Essex County Showground when Great Leighs Racecourse opened its gates to visitors for the first time. The all-weather Flat racing facility was the first new racecourse - brand new, not merely refurbished - to open in the United Kingdom since 1927. Although it has since been joined by Ffos Las Racecourse, which opened in 2009 and is officially the newest racecourse in the country, Great Leighs was a major step to rejuvenate racing at the time. However, as things do not always go as planned, 2010 will be a quiet year at Great Leighs Racecourse. Very, very quiet.
Address: Great Leighs Racecourse, Moulsham Hall Lane, Great Leighs, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1QP
Phone: 01245 362 412
When Great Leighs Racecourse staged its inaugural races on 20th April 2008, the future of racing at this Essex track looked as bright as the floodlights installed for night time and winter racing. Although the course was supposed to have its grand opening in 2006 and the premier came with quite a substantial delay, there was nothing to dampen the spirits of the racegoers and proprietors of the track. However, in 2009 the Great Leighs' racing license was revoked and the course was placed into administration, due to insufficient funding. Although the course is currently leased out it did not obtain a fresh racing license in time and could therefore not secure any fixtures for 2010. It is said that racing will resume at Great Leighs Racecourse in 2011.
None in 2010.
In 2009 Great Leighs Racecourse staged over 50 meetings, so it stands to reason that the next season will see a spectacular and busy revival.
Bad News: There is currently no shuttle bus on race days between Chelmsford Station and Great Leighs Racecourse.
Good News: As there is no racing until 2011, this is really none of your concern.
The former Essex County Showground is directly accessible from the A131 bypass north of Great Leighs Village. Take the M25 to M11, exit M11 at Stansted Airport/ Junction 8 and follow the A120 dual carriageway towards Colchester and Braintree. Exit A120 at Panners roundabout to get onto A131.
Private Boxes: Great Leighs Racecourse provides the hire of private boxes which comfortably seat up to 12 guests. Every box has a private viewing balcony with great views of the track and the winning post. There are a number of packages available for private hospitality customers, which can cater for a formal setting or a more relaxed get together at the races.
Restaurants: There are two restaurants to choose from when looking for some chow at Great Leighs Racecourse. The 'Hospitality Restaurant' offers an extensive wine list, silver service luncheon and dining, as well as multiple course meals. The 'Brasserie Restaurant' provides a more laid back atmosphere, with an a la carte menu including a large selection of delicious seafood.