Great Leighs racecourse has suffered yet another setback as potential buyer Terry Chambers has withdrawn his offer.

Last Thursday (7 May), administrators Deloitte announced it hoped to exchange contracts with Ashfields Carriage and Polo club owner Mr Chambers today (Friday 15 May).

But a statement from Deloitte issued this afternoon read: “The proposed sale of the Great Leighs racecourse to Terry Chambers will not be concluded following Mr Chambers’ withdrawal from the process.

“As the exclusivity agreement entered into with Mr Chambers has now expired, the joint administrators have approached a number of other interested parties in an attempt to secure a third party sale and negotiations in this regard are continuing.

“The joint administrators are, in parallel, also continuing in their discussions with The Royal Bank of Scotland as the main creditors for the Essex County Showground Limited.”

Racing has been suspended at Great Leighs since the Essex course went into adminstration on 16 January.

In March Deloitte announced that two bidders were interested in the racecourse — but neither met the administrator’s financial requirements.

Mr Chambers bought Ashfields Carriage and Polo club in 2003. Previously a dairy farm the site has now been transformed into a state-of-the-art equestrian yard with three blocks of stables set in 200 acres in Essex.

And Horse & Hound forum users were hopeful that Mr Chamber’s purchase would provide more opportunities for horse owners in the area.

One forum user wrote: “Yippee, hopefully Terry Chambers is buying the racecourse. I’m sure that he will make it a successful equestrian venue, not just a racing venue for all us Essex people and hopefully this time next year he will be running other equestrian events there like he does at Ashfields.”

Currently Ashfield hosts events for the Pony Club, Riding For Disabled Association and British Driving Society, as well as polocrosse, dressage and show jumping events.

Great Leighs must have a licence by 28 May to go into fixture allocation process for 2010.