Part of the greater Ffos Las Racecourse and Conference Centre, to use its full moniker, the race track here is one of the newest in Great Britain having only opened in June of 2009, while it’s also the westernmost in the country.
The track was built on the site of a former open cast coal mine after operations were stopped there, the ground being ideal for racing.
The racecourse hosts both Flat and National Hunt races and is one of only three tracks in Wales, along with Bangor-on-Dee and Chepstow.
- Address – Ffos Las Racecourse, Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire, SA17 4DE.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Ffos Las caters for both Flat and National Hunt racing. The tracks for both codes have proven to be very popular with trainers and jockeys so far, with the surfaces being described as fair and galloping in the main.
Comparisons have been drawn with other similar tracks, though the surface at Ffos Las is superb and so stands in its own right as an excellent dual-purpose racing venue.
Ffos Las is left-handed, galloping and very fair much like Newbury. The track is about a mile and a half around, very flat in nature and features a long home straight which gives closers plenty of time to level the playing field.
There is a chute up the back for 1½-mile starts, and another for 5 and 6-furlong races which joins up with the main straight around half-a-mile from home.
Flat Track Analysis
Race riders tend to feed back that Ffos Las is a good track overall. It has been described as being very fair and having no ridges or undulations to speak of, meaning straightforward race riding is needed and few excuses being given to jockeys.
There is no great draw bias either, another similarity to Newbury, with pace being the most important angle when looking at the draw as opposed to bias coming from the track surface or layout.
The gallop doesn’t tend to be very strong here, yet another thing which adds to races being fair, so Ffos Las offers punters the chance to look at simple form and pace figures in order to find winners, with no other quirks catching us out.
Ffos Las’ National Hunt course is wide, galloping, left-handed and around 1½ miles in length. Once again, the home stretch is around four furlongs from the final bend to the line and very flat.
Once again there are no appreciable undulations, though there is a slight uphill stretch along the back stretch.
Though the home straight is long in front of the stands, there are short run-ins after the final obstacles so if a mistake is made there, it’s hard for horses to recover.
Jumps Track Analysis
Ffos Las jockeys once again really tend to rate the National Hunt courses here. It has even been mentioned that, if it weren’t so far away for many trainers, it would be backed hugely by some significant names in the game a lot more than it currently is.
The fences are a pretty good test here for horses. They aren’t the stiffest in the country, so you don’t need the very best jumpers around, but it gives novices a good education while keeping things fair.
Much like other ‘flat-natured’ courses such as York and Doncaster within Flat racing, Ffos Las can become very testing when the rain comes so don’t be fooled by the layout; when the ground is soft, true stamina is needed.
Visiting Ffos Las Racecourse
Ffos Las is spread over a lovely wide area. Once you get there, the track has a downloadable racecourse map you can use on your phone to check out locations of enclosures, facilities, bars and restaurants.
How to Get to Ffos Las
Ffos Las Racecoruse is close to the A484 between Carmarthen and Llanelli. When you get near to the area, using post code SA17 4DE, the track is signposted.
From the east, Ffos Las is close to the M4 at junction 48. From the west, the course is near the A40 to Carmarthen. Parking is free for all when you get to the track.
There is a public bus service, the Number 197, which links Llanelli to Carmarthen, though in race days the course arranges a free bus to and from the track.
The race day bus operates from Llanelli train station. The bus is completely free for all but cannot be pre-booked and runs on a first come, first served basis, so when it’s full, it’s full! Getting to Llanelli by train and then using this bus is probably the most convenient way to visit Ffos Las.
The train station at Llanelli is six miles away. Kidwelly is closer at 4½ miles, though services are more limited.
Where to Stay
There are limited accommodations near the racecourse. In the main however, people tend to stay at Kidwelly, Lanelli or other towns meaning a commute is needed.
Ffos Las Racecourse Fixtures
|Thursday||21st Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
Welsh Champion Hurdle
Ffos Las, at least just now, isn’t famous for hosting a ton of top-class races. What it does boast on its schedule however is the Welsh Champion Hurdle. Staged here in October, the Welsh Champion Hurdle was initially run at Chepstow, beginning in 1969.
Holding Listed status during the 80’s, the event was formerly run each Easter Monday and until the 90’s usually featured horses which had run in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Despite that quality however, field sizes for the race were never large even at the race’s peak.
The quality of the event began to decline, eventually leading to it being a handicap in 1993 and then again run under those conditions in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The aim was to increase fields and competitiveness however this didn’t happen and the race was scrapped in 2003.
After Ffos Las was completed however, the new course and a Welsh Champion Hurdle looked like a match made in heaven and so in 2010, the race was revived, this time as a limited handicap hurdle over two miles, though the planned inaugural race was lost to the weather.
In 2011 the all-new Welsh Champion Hurdle did take place and since then it has been won by Oscar Whiskey, The New One and Sceau Royal.
It would be no surprise if the race was to be upgraded in the coming years, making it a bona fide trial for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
About Ffos Las Racecourse
Ffos Las managed a couple of milestones after its first phase of construction. When hosting a meeting in June of 2009, the track officially became not only the third racecourse in Wales but also the first new National Hunt venue in Britain for some 80 years.
Amazingly considering the cost now of some other new sporting venues, not least football stadia, Ffos Las was put together for just £20 million. The racecourse plot is around 600 acres and is situated within a lovely, natural amphitheatre just like Cheltenham.
Ffos Las hit the ground running. The BHB, as it was then, confirmed an initial schedule of eight race meetings for the new course in 2009. An extra day was added later which meant a two-day Flat fixture in September, garnering more interest in the venue.
The track officially opened for business on June 18, 2009. Britain’s newest National Hunt course.
On that first day, a sell-out crowd of 10,000 was in attendance, allaying any fears that Ffos Las’ location would hinder attendances.
Ffos Las wasted no time in advertising a Ladies Night, as this was the very first meeting! The 10,000 crowd watched National Hunt racing, the first race at the track being won by Plunkett for trainer Evan Williams, the 15/8 second-favourite who landed a number of the crowd some profit.
The following month, on July 21, Ffos Las’ first ever Flat racing took place. The initial race was a Maiden Stakes, one dedicated to aspiring jockey and local schoolboy Jamie Yeats who had died tragically in the January before.
The first Flat winner in the maiden ace was Dream Queen, ridden by Michael Hills for his father Barry, both now retired as a jockey and trainer.
An official opening ceremony was conducted at Ffos Las by legendary former horse racing commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan on August 28, 2009. Some 12,000 people were in attendance.
Since those early days, Ffos Las has improved slowly but very surely. The best horse to have yet graced the turf there is former champion two-miler Sprinter Sacre. The brilliant Champion Chase winner won a novices’ hurdle at this venue by some ten lengths back in February of 2011.