The British Horseracing Authority yesterday dashed the hopes of MC Racetracks Ltd, owners of Great Leighs, of bringing racing back to the Essex circuit next year. The BHA has not made public its reasons for turning down an application from MC Racetracks to be included in the fixture allocation process for 2013.
Instead, the BHA released a statement through its head of external affairs Will Lambe that said, “We have informed those involved with the Great Leighs submission of the board’s concerns and although we won’t be discussing them publicly we have offered to provide the racecourse with some guidance as to how they might be addressed in future.”
In a gesture that offers a crumb of hope for the future the statement added, “When it is appropriate, we have said they are welcome to submit an application to be part of the 2014 list.”
MC Racetracks chairman Keith Brown was also keeping quiet about the specific concerns the BHA still has. The application to bring racing back to Essex for the first time since 2009 appeared to be a score draw, as Brown said, “While we have satisfied the BHA on a number of issues, they need to be satisfied on other aspects of our application.”
However, he indicated that he had been able to settle any qualms the BHA might have had about the ownership of the course, about which several issues came to light when the administrators first tried to sell the track as a going concern. He said the BHA was also satisfied with the quality of the racing surface.
Brown said he would “seek an early meeting with the BHA to resolve the outstanding matters before making a new application so that racing can be resumed at Great Leighs at the earliest opportunity.” That now looks to at least two years away.