Chelmsford City racecourse 'given 56 meetings'

Great Leighs racecourse, which is now known as Chelmsford City
Great Leighs was the first new course in Britain for 81 years when it opened in 2008

Chelmsford City racecourse will stage 56 meetings next year, according to the track's managing director Philip Siers.

The course, initially known as Great Leighs, will host racing for the first time since it was closed in 2009 after going into administration.

The British Horseracing Authority had initially authorised 12 fixtures for the Essex all-weather flat track.

"There will be a full programme and we hope that will go from strength to strength," Siers told BBC Essex.

"We're scheduled to start racing around the middle of January.

Chelmsford City timeline
April 2008: Becomes first new course in Britain in 81 years when hosting opening meetingMay 2012: New owners fail in bid for licence
January 2009: Course goes into administration and has racing licence revokedJune 2013: New application is rejected
2009: A deal with a potential new owner falls through when the course fails to secure a new licenceApril 2014: Course approved for potential fixtures
November 2011: MC Racetracks buys the courseJuly 2014: Twelve fixtures guaranteed for 2015 season

"We'll probably have a couple of meetings in January to give us a small start into the racing season, but we've been guaranteed 56 fixtures next year."

Management hope to have new grandstands in operation by November and, although next year's meetings will be run on an all-weather surface, they also aim to have a turf track in place by late 2016.

Chelmsford City has been owned since 2011 by MC Racetracks, which failed with two bids to acquire fixtures before finally being approved this year.

The BHA will release the full 2015 schedule before the end of the month.