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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Great Leighs not ready for racing
Taunton racecourse
Taunton, which opened in 1927, was the last new British racecourse
Great Leighs, Britain's first new racecourse since 1927, will not be ready to open on schedule.

The Essex track was due to begin staging races on 6 October but has now handed back its first five fixtures.

The announcement follows a visit to the site last week by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority.

The all-weather track now plans to hold its first meeting in November but this will be subject to a further HRA visit on 8 September.

Course chairman John Holmes said: "Naturally it is disappointing not to be ready on the date originally selected, but we still expect to be racing before the end of this year.

"We were allocated 24 fixtures during 2006 - and a further 58 for 2007 - which puts the delay in perspective."

BHB acting chief executive Chris Brand said: "Although this is disappointing news, we remain fully supportive of Great Leighs' ambitions, which reflect well on the whole sport.

"The success of the project should not be judged on its start date, but on what it achieves for British Racing in the years to come."

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