Ffos Las Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of the village of Trimsaran, in the county of Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales, five miles north of Llanelli. The 600-acre racecourse is actually built on the site of the largest open cast coal mine in Europe, but no signs of its industrial heritage remain and, today, the course offers scenic views of the Gwendraeth Valley and Carmarthen Bay. Ffos Las has the distinction of being the first new turf racecourse to be opened in Britain in the last 80 years. Unlike the now defunct Great Leighs Racecourse, in Essex, which went into administration just nine months after it officially opened in 2008, Ffos Las was complete in every detail when it opened and has thrived ever since. The racecourse staged its first fixture in the summer of 2009 and, in 2013, is scheduled to host 19 National Hunt fixtures, seven Flat fixtures, between July and September and one mixed fixture.
For racegoers, Ffos Las offers just a single enclosure, although admission prices vary according to whether meetings are classified as “Standard”, “Premium” or “Feature.” Saturday Show Night in May, for example, is a “Feature” fixture at £20 per person, Family Fun Raceday in April is a “Premium” fixture at £16 person and Ryan Jones Testimonial Raceday in August is a “Standard” fixture at £12 per person. Admission is free for accompanied children regardless of the pricing structure.
For corporate events, large and small, the course offers five function rooms, up to eight breakout rooms, the Blinkers Bar, capable of seating 350 people, banquet style and a selection of hospitality boxes for smaller meetings. The 600 acres of land surrounding the racecourse is also available for outdoor events. Free Wi-Fi and free car parking, lunch and refreshments are included in all delegate packages, the latest audio/visual equipment is available on request and a dedicated events team is on hand to make sure events run smoothly.
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What's unique about the course at Ffos Las?
Ffos Las consists of a flat, galloping oval, approximately a mile and a half around, with generous, sweeping bends that suit even the longest striding horse. The straight six furlong course is nearly 200 feet wide, with gentle undulations throughout.
The slightly downhill finish tends to favour horses that race prominently, especially when the ground is good or faster. Over Jumps, there are nine, moderately stiff, fences per circuit.
Notable Races and Events
The very first race ever to be run at Ffos Las, the Freebets.co.uk “National Hunt” Novices' Hurdle, on June 18, 2009 was won by the 6-year-old Plunkett, trained by Evan Williams in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan and owned by Hywel Jones, a native of west Wales. Mr. Jones said, “It's a historic moment and I'm proud to win this first race.”
The two most valuable races run at Ffos Las are the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle, a limited handicap hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs worth £50,000 in total prize money and the William Hill West Wales National, a handicap steeplechase over 3 miles 4 furlongs worth £30,000 in total prize money. In February 2013, the William Hill Champion Hurdle was won by Alan King's 6-year-old Medinas, who went on to win the valuable Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival the following month at odds of 33/1.
The winner of the 2013 William Hill West Wales National, Mark Bradstock's 10-year-old Carruthers, fared less well on his only subsequent start when pulled up in the Midlands National, over 4 miles 1½ furlongs, at Uttoexeter. However, he's becoming a course specialist at Ffos Las, having won on both visits, so he could be one to look out for on his return to the track.
Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers
On the Flat at Ffos Las, Martin Dwyer, Steve Drowne and Cathy Gannon have all ridden 14 winners since the racecourse opened in 2009, although in terms of strike rate Martin Dwyer leads the way by virtue of having achieved that total from 29 rides, whereas Steve Drowne and Cathy Gannon have needed 40 and 57 rides respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Monmouthshire handler David Evans heads the trainers' table with 11 winners from 83 runners, but David Simcock, who's based in Newmarket and Mark Johnston, who's based in North Yorkshire, are in second and third with 10 winners from 36 runners and 9 winners from 43 runners respectively. Hamdan Al Maktoum is the leading owner with 4 winners from 8 runners.
Over Jumps, Tony McCoy is far and away the most successful jockey with 53 winners from 183 rides, despite having fewer rides than his nearest pursuers Richard Johnson and Paul Moloney. Vale of Glamorgan trainer Evan Williams, with 45 winners from 327 runners, leads compatriots Rebecca Curtis, Peter Bowen and Tim Vaughan in the trainers' table and J.P. McManus is the leading owner with 23 winners from 124 runners.
Follow Ffos Las Racecourse on Social Networks
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