Chelmsford ready for action on Sunday

Officials at Chelmsford City racecourse remain extremely upbeat about their opening meeting on Sunday – despite two of the races on the card attracting fewer than expected entries

Although the list of horses totalled 107 at the confirmation stage, the Weatherbys Printing Handicap over five furlongs for three-year-olds is at risk under a three-month experiment by the British Horseracing Authority as it has only attracted 10 entries.

The fast-track qualifier for the All-Weather Championships has also been reopened until Tuesday morning after receiving just nine entries.

Nevertheless, there is great anticipation at Chelmsford City after the British Horseracing Authority made its final inspection on Monday morning.

“Our initial reaction is that we’re very pleased so many owners and trainers have decided to support our first meeting,” said Chelmsford chairman Joe Scanlon.

“We’ve put good prize-money up for our first meeting, in excess of £70,000.

“The BHA inspectors were here this morning for the final inspection.

“They have been very helpful and we’re pleased we’ve now got to a point where they are happy we can race on Sunday.

“It’s a nervous time and I’ll be pleased when it’s Sunday evening.”

The first meeting is for invited guests and competition winners only and is designed to test facilities.

Racegoers will not have to wait long for the second of 58 scheduled fixtures in 2015 as the next one is a twilight meeting on January 22.

Racing briefly took place at the same venue under the name of Great Leighs from April 2008 until it went into administration the following January.

* The barren spell endured by the trainer Jonjo O’Neill, which began after his last winner on 19 November, continued at Lingfield yesterday when his Cloudy Copper, ridden by the champion jockey Tony McCoy, was beaten 15 lengths by the 10-1 shot Leo Luna at odds of 2-5. The handler has five runners scheduled to run at Bangor today.

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