The first race meeting to be held at Great Leighs has once again been postponed, and its gates are now scheduled to be opened on 20 April.

In February the racecourse was given the green light by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) inspector to race on Friday 4 April (news 28 February).

But now the Essex-based course has suffered another set back and the date has been postponed to Sunday 20 April, the first available daytime slot.

The decision was made following the latest visit from the BHA on 19 March.

This latest set back has been blamed on bad weather holding up progress on groundwork.

Pippa Cuckson, a spokesman for Great Leighs told H&H: “It has been very, very wet here and there is no prospect of it getting drier so there would have been no chance of us being ready for the 26 March trial. It wasn’t worth taking a risk.”

Originally due to open its gates in October 2006 the racecourse has suffered several setbacks over the last year and a half (news 11 January 2007, news 15 March 2007).

The official trial run, where approximately 20 horses and trainers will take part in a ‘dress rehearsal’, which was due to take place on 26 March will now be held on 4 April.

Great Leighs, based in Chelmsford, Essex, will be the first new racecourse to open in Britain in 81 years.