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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Racing course wins approval
Picture from Ffos Las promotional material
First hurdle: The racecourse scheme is backed by the planners
A former open-cast coal site is to be given a new lease of life as an equestrian centre of excellence.

Councillors have approved plans for a 16m horse racing course on the 608-acre former Ffos Las mine site at Trimsaran, near Llanelli, in Carmarthenshire.

Developers aim to create a one mile, five furlong all-weather track with a grandstand, with an the equestrian centre, harness course, polo club and hotel accommodation.

They hope the project will boost the horse breeding industry in the county which gave racing one of its best known winners, Norton's Coin.

The company behind the development says the Ffos Las Horse Racing course will be the first racecourse of its kind to be opened in Britain for 75 years - and only the third in Wales.

Future plans include the establishment of a Welsh National Racing School and show jumping areas.

Picture from Ffos Las promotional material
And they're off: The first race is planned for 2005

The first phase of the scheme - including the racecourse and grandstand - will involve substantial ground remodelling and landscaping.

Backers say the location, on raised ground in the Gwendraeth Valley, will mean few fixtures are cancelled because of bad weather. The oval course will hold flat, hurdle and steeplechase races.

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.

The British Horse Racing Board has already granted Ffos Las Racing Ltd 10 turf racing fixtures. The firm hopes to the first meeting in the summer of 2005.


First Minister Rhodri Morgan is to attend an open day at Trimsaran Sports and Community Centre next Monday to hear a progress update on the scheme.

A Ffos Las spokesman said the race course and equestrian centre should attract racing fans from Ireland's thriving racing industry.

"This area has always had a horse breeding tradition. We want to provide facilities which will appeal to the racing fraternity across, the Celtic world, if you like."

Norton's Coin, the shock 100-1 winner of the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup was born and trained in Carmarthenshire. He is buried in the same field in which he was born.

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