Great Leighs Racecourse

Great Leighs Racecourse

Infobox UK Racecourse
Name = Great Leighs

Caption = Great Leighs logo
Website =
Location = Great Leighs, Essex
Owner = Great Leighs Ltd - John Holmes & family
Opened = 20 April 2008
Channel = At The Races
CourseType = Flat
Prev = Goodwood
Next = Great Yarmouth

Great Leighs Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Great Leighs near Chelmsford, Essex, England. When it opened in April 2008 it was the first completely new racecourse in the UK for 80 years. Great Leighs is owned by entrepreneur John Holmes and his son, Jonathan. It aims to exploit the largest unserved area in British horseracing. Overall there is slightly more than one racecourse per million people in Great Britain, but there is no racecourse in Essex (population >1.6 million) or in East London (formerly part of Essex and with a population >1.5 million) or in the neighbouring county of Hertfordshire (population >1 million). However the course is only fifty miles from Newmarket, the largest racehorse training centre in Britain.

The course is laid out as an eight-and-a-half furlong left-handed Polytrack oval, with a two furlong home straight. The 10,000 capacity grandstand was used at the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Great Leighs was originally scheduled to open in October 2006, but the opening was deferred several times. On 20 March 2008 the racecourse announced that the opening fixture would be postponed to 20 April 2008 with the original opening date, 4 April 2008, being used a test day. [cite web| url =| title = Great Leighs debut delayed again | date = 20 March 2008| accessdate = 2008-03-20| work= BBC News Online| publisher = BBC]

2008 Opening

On 20 April 2008 the racecourse finally staged its first race meeting, with the opening race being won by Temple of Thebes. The meeting was attended by an invited audience only and the first meeting with full public admission took place on 28 May 2008. [cite web| url =| title = Great Leighs stages first meeting| date = 20 April 2008| accessdate = 2008-04-20| work= BBC News Online| publisher = BBC]


External links

* [ Official website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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