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Great Leighs falls into administration- 19 Jan 2009 00:00:00

Great Leighs, the first new racecourse launched in the UK since 1927, has been placed into administration after less than a year of operation.

The administrators Deloitte are talking to the British Horseracing Authority to try to secure the course's racing licence and help it continue to trade.

The £30m all-weather course cancelled Thursday's floodlit meeting after its licence was revoked by the BHA. The flat track near Chelmsford in Essex opened in 2008 after being beset by delays.

Great Leighs officials had hoped to be racing again before the end of January but a statement from the BHA explained: ‘Unless a new application is made and is successful, there is no licence in place for racing.’

It has emerged the Great Leighs course has been operating under a temporary licence since the start of 2009.

An application by the course's managers, the Essex County Showground Group, for a new licence to run until the end of January was declined at a BHA meeting.

Course spokesman John Holmes stated that the track was undergoing ‘a restucturing process’ and would try again for a new licence.

He said: ‘We successfully ran four fixtures this month under a temporary licence but the process has taken longer than we hoped.

‘We applied for an extension to cover the next two (22nd and 29th January) fixtures but were told we had not supplied enough information. Because of the timing for entries, we have lost next Thursday's fixture.

‘We are back at the BHA on Monday with a view to resuming racing from 29th January.’

When the course officially opened on 20th April 2008 it was given a mixed reception, receiving some criticism over the standard of its facilities and muddy conditions worsened by heavy rainfall.

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