Chelmsford opens to general approval

John Gosden registered his first winner for Godolphin as Tempus Temporis booked his ticket for Good Friday by winning the Betsi Golden Mile Conditions Stakes as racing took place at Chelmsford City for the first time yesterday.

The Essex circuit, formerly known as Great Leighs, closed in January 2009 after going into administration less than a year after it launched, but has reopened under a new name.

Gosden looks like being the chief beneficiary of the decision tun run all the horses previously owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, Sheikh Mohammed’s wife, in the Godolphin blue.

Tempus Temporis was a winner last time out and was stepping up in class for the £20,000 Fast Track Qualifier but Robert Havlin always looked confident and the 11-4 chance beat Super Kid by an easy five lengths.

Gosden’s wife, Rachel Hood said: “This horse had the blinkers on which suited him and he’s been very progressive.”

Jono Mills, representing Godolphin, said: “I would anticipate that the All-Weather Championship is exactly where we’ll go but we’ll go home and check with John and the team and then a decision will be made.”

Gosden had earlier won with Zamoura who was a game winner of the SIS Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Sent off the 2-5 favourite after a promising run when second on her debut, she looked a sitting duck in the straight but kept on pulling out more for Nicky Mackay.

Duchess Of Marmite was just a head back in second.

“She’s still green and I thought I was beaten but she just held on,” said Mackay.

“Hopefully there’s more to come from her.

“The track rides lovely, it’s very nice to ride.”

The Godolphin colours had already been carried to victory in an eventful first race as Tryster edged out Gaelic Silver in a pulsating finish to the Betfred Handicap.

Members of the public without pre-booked tickets were not admitted but generally the reaction among the estimated 750 people present, including invited guests and connections of the runners, seemed favourable despite some very small setbacks including a tumble dryer blowing up that created some very brief power outages.

Philip Siers, racecourse managing director, welcomed racegoers and said: “We’ve got 58 fixtures here this year and we only bought it in December of 2013 and we’ve collapsed a two-year construction project into one year.

“The weather hasn’t helped us and we’ve a couple of small things to do which will be completed by the end of January and we’ve limited the crowd on that basis.

“We’ve spent £15 million on the track as we want to have a facility that helps racing and all of racing’s constituents.

“This is the first of possibly three trial fixtures – we certainly want one more. The official opening will be on February 1 when we’ll be open to the public, although we might increase the crowd, perhaps up to 1000/1200 for the January 22 fixture.

“We’ve got overall prize money of £2.2 million this year which is a considerable investment by us. For a small track that is a significant amount and we’re hoping to get some big corporate sponsors with the money ploughed back into the facilities and prize money.

“We have a couple of significant fixtures here – March 28 which is World Cup night at Meydan and September 26 which is Breeders’ Cup Trial night.”

Joe Scanlon, racecourse chairman, added: “This is a preview and you don’t open a production on Broadway or the West End without a preview. I know that people are disappointed not to be at the inaugural meeting but it’s for all the right reasons.”


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