RACECOURSE owners will apply to bring horse racing back to a Chelmsford venue four years after it closed.

MC Racetracks is submitting a plan to the British Horseracing Authority asking for Great Leighs to go on the 2014 fixture list.

If accepted races could return to the site just off the A131 for first time since January 2009 when the all-weather flat course closed just nine months after opening as it fell into administration.

A similar application was turned down by the BHA last year, but venue chairman Keith Brown feels the issues have been ironed out and hopes to hold between 35 to 45 races annually.

Mr Brown said: “They are not many racecourses in the area, with the next nearest track being in Newmarket, so we will be providing an entertainment facility for quite a large population with around 300,000 people living within half an hour of us.

“I have had quite a lot of people asking when the venue will see racing again, so it is clear there is a demand for it locally.

“The track’s quality is very, one of the best in the country in fact, and it did attract some of the top trainers and horses before, so we feel there is a lot to offer.”

BHA media manager Robin Mounsey said once the application is lodged, they will look through the plan with the course owners.

He also said Great Leighs would have to apply for a racing licence if the fixture list application is accepted.

It is expected a decision on the application should be known by the end of May, with a chance it might be decided before then.