There are new plans to create a 250-stable training facility after John Holmes, the equestrian entrepreneur declared bankrupt after the collapse of Great Leighs racecourse, bought back the neighbouring 200-acre farm.

Moulsham Hall Farm was seized by Mr Holmes’ lender when the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) put the racecourse into administration in January 2009. However, he has reacquired Moulsham Hall in a £3.1m deal that, according to Land Registry records, was finalised in August.

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Mr Holmes bought Essex County Showground in 1996. He later joined the board of the then British Show Jumping Association, took over running Essex County Show and staged several CSIs before redeveloping the site as the floodlit Great Leighs racecourse.

When Mr Holmes originally bought Moulsham in 2006, part of it was used to build the racecourse stables, but the surplus land enabled him to revive his equestrian ambitions.

Then Great Leighs collapsed with debts of £25m.

The revived project is to be known as Equine City.

Great Leighs reopened earlier this year as Chelmsford City racecourse, having been bought from RBS by a conglomerate led by major bookmaker Fred Done.

Mr Holmes acts as consultant to one of the shareholders, though the British Horseracing Authority has stated that he cannot be involved with management decisions.

Ref: H&H 29 October, 2015