New Welsh racecourse Ffos Las to open today with a sell-out crowd

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  • Ffos Las, the first new racecourse to open in Wales since Chepstow 82 years ago, hosts its inaugural race meeting today (18 June).

    A sell-out crowd of 10,000 is expected at the opening fixture, which is a jumps card with the first race off at 6.20pm.

    Tim Long, clerk of the course, said: “We’re very happy with all the preparations and are looking forward to opening.

    “The track has undergone rigorous examinations and we’ve had some great feedback from jockeys and trainers.”

    Last week, the 1m 4f course, which cost almost £30million and took two and a half years to build was praised by jockeys.

    National Hunt jockeys AP McCoy, Paddy Brennan and Mark Bradburne tried out the jumps track on Thursday, 4 June.

    “The surface exceeded my expectations,” said Mark. “It seems to ride really well and is a lovely galloping oval track. Their first priority was definitely getting the ground right.”

    Top female jockey Hayley Turner, who is currently sidelined from race riding following a fall in March, was the first jockey to test out the Flat course.

    “It’s a really nice track, it’s very fair and I think it will be popular with jockeys,” she told H&H. “The bends ride well and it seems very safe — I don’t think trainers will be worried to take their top horses there. Plus the view from the grandstand is brilliant.”

    Ffos Las, meaning blue ditch in English, is built on the 600 acre site of the former largest opencast mine in Europe.

    The land was bought seven years ago by racehorse owner and local businessman Dai Walters and last September Northern Racing announced it would be running the course.

    Nearly 800 people have already applied for annual membership, costing £100, far exceeding expectations.

    The track, situated between Llanelli and Carmarthen, has nine fixtures this year — a combination of both Flat and National Hunt.

    It will host 12 Flat and 16 National Hunt fixtures next year and there are currently talks of resurrecting the Welsh Champion Hurdle there.

    For more information, visit www.ffoslasracecourse.com

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