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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

New course put in administration

Great Leighs racecourse
Great Leighs was Britain's first new racecourse since Taunton in 2007

Britain's newest racetrack Great Leighs has been placed in administration.

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The 30m all-weather course cancelled Thursday's floodlit meeting after its licence was revoked by the BHA.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 to become the first new British racecourse since 1927.

Earlier on Friday, Great Leighs officials had told BBC Sport they hoped to be racing again before the end of January.

But 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.

We ran four fixtures under a temporary licence but the process has taken longer than we hoped

Great Leighs spokesman John Holmes
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.

The BHA has not made public the reasons for its decision.

Course spokesman John Holmes told BBC Sport the track was undergoing "a restucturing process" and would try again on Monday for a new licence.

"We successfully ran four fixtures this month under a temporary licence but the process has taken longer than we hoped," he said.

"We applied for an extension to cover the next two (22 and 29 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 29 January."

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

But meetings have been staged there regularly, with footballers Owen Hargreaves, Roque Santa Cruz and Claudio Pizarro among those to visit.

The trio saw their horse Audemar win at the track in October.

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see also
Johnson predicts difficult year
15 Jan 09 |  Horse Racing
Mixed reaction to Great Leighs
29 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Great Leighs stages first meeting
20 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
Great Leighs debut delayed again
20 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Great Leighs suffers new setback
18 Jan 08 |  Horse Racing
New racecourse gets green light
24 Jun 03 |  Horse Racing

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