Horses working at the track on Friday morningPICTURE: Chelmsford City
Chelmsford City gears
up for return with trial
CHELMSFORD CITY, the racecourse that used to be known as Great Leighs, went some way to putting the finishing touches to its return to British racing when staging a trial on its Polytrack surface on Friday morning.
The all-weather circuit, which will host 58 fixtures in 2015 starting on January 11, closed in its previous guise in 2009, but is now in the control of a group headed by Betfred owner Fred Done and is poised for a comeback.
The seven horses to exercise on Friday morning - the first since May - were supplied by trainers from the Newmarket area, for which Chelmsford City will provide a handy and closer alternative than Britain's four other all-weather tracks.
Hayley Turner, Jimmy Quinn and Fergus Sweeney were among the riders in action and Turner tweeted the track was riding "beautifully".
Clerk of the course Andy Waitt said: "The horses went out just so we could get some feedback of how it's riding, which I'd call standard.
"It's the first time we've had horses on it since May. We had quite a few on before then - Mukhadram and Red Cadeaux came for a gallop - but since then we've had to do the construction of the grandstand and that's taken priority.
"We had to put a bridge across the course that stopped the galloping unfortunately. That's why we've done this trial to give the jockeys a feel for it and let us know what it's like."
Action from the course, which successfully passed a floodlight test last month, will be screened on SIS and At The Races and Waitt is counting down the days until the first fixture.
He added: "We're more or less set for our first meeting. There are one or two bits and pieces, but everybody is working hard to get everything ready and we're quite confident everything will be ready by the 11th if not before then."