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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 July, 2003, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Racecourse 'ready by 2005'
Horse racing
An exhibition detailing the plans was staged on Wednesday
Backers of a new horse racing course planned for west Wales say it will be up and running within two years.

Ffos Las Racing Ltd has already been granted 10 turf racing fixtures by the British Horse Racing Board and is aiming to stage the first meeting in the summer of 2005.

On Wednesday it unveiled plans to build an all-weather circuit, grandstand, equestrian centre, harness course and polo club on the former Ffos Las opencast site at Trimsaran, near Llanelli.

The company says it will attract enthusiasts from across south west Wales and southern Ireland as the nearest course is more than 60 miles away at Chepstow.

The race course will bring the sport to a population with strong links to racing as demonstrated by the support of point to point and the high concentration of betting offices
Ffos Las Racing Ltd

"The aim of the Ffos Las project is to develop the first new horse racing course in the UK for over 75 years," said a spokesman.

He said it would offer racing all-year around for both National Hunt and flat fixtures.

"The project will also become an equestrian centre of excellence for Wales incorporating training facilities, horse jumping and dressage courses, a harness racing circuit, polo facilities, point to point and three day eventing.

"The race course will bring the sport to a population with existing strong links to racing as demonstrated by the support of point-to-point in south Wales and the high concentration of betting offices per head of population."

The site will be developed in three phases with the first stage made up of the race course and grandstand.

Meryl Gravell
Meryl Gravell said the project would benefit the whole of Wales

Consultants Deloitte and Touche have been appointed to identify sources of private and public funding for the project that has been costed at 10m.

A planning application has been submitted to Carmarthenshire Council and the company aims to begin construction early next year.

Council leader Meryl Gravell said: "We are very excited by this project which will make a real difference not just to this area or Carmarthenshire but the whole of Wales.

Around fifty jobs are expected to be created if the project is completed in full.

The company originally wanted to locate the development on the nearby Pembrey Peninsula but failed to reach agreement with the motor circuit at Pembrey over land and the Environment Agency raised concerns about possible flooding.

Ffos Las opencast site
The Ffos Las site has empty for more than four years

But the backers say the new location on raised ground in the Gwendraeth Valley will mean few fixtures are cancelled because of the weather.

In addition to the 10 turf racing fixtures they hope to secure a further 15 on the all-weather track.

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