Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 12:41 UK

Welsh racecourse debut sells out

Ffos Las Racecourse
The first race will start at 1820 BST on 18 June

The opening meeting at the first new turf racecourse to open in Britain for more than 80 years has sold out.

Around 8,500 race-goers have bought tickets for 18 June at Ffos Las near Trimsaran in Carmarthenshire.

Almost £30m has been invested in the development over 600 acres on a former opencast mining site, and organisers are delighted by the initial response.

"People are desperate to experience this fantastic new course," said Ffos Las general manager John Williams.

"I would appeal to everyone without a ticket not to come to the racecourse because there will be no admission for them."

As well as the general admission areas, all hospitality and the restaurant are full for the 18 June meeting.

Ffos Las has three tracks and will cater for flat racing, hurdles and chase events.

Horses on the track
It has been a long wait and many hurdles have had to be overcome, but it has been well worth it
Meryl Gravell, Trimsaran councillor

Eight fixtures are scheduled for 2009 with 16 next year on dates to be confirmed.

The first race starts next Thursday at 1820 BST although the gates will open at 1300 BST with racing from Royal Ascot being broadcast live on big screens.

Racehorse owner and millionaire Dai Walters who runs a plant hire, civil engineering and earthworks company, is behind the venture.

Plans to develop the site were first put forward almost a decade ago and work finally started in 2007.

'Gift to Wales'

He has described Ffos Las as his "gift to Wales." More than 100 staff will be employed on race days.

The course is managed by Northern Racing, which operates nine other courses in the UK, including Hereford, Sedgefield, Newcastle and Chepstow, which is home to the Welsh Grand National.

Carmarthenshire Council leader Meryl Gravell said: "Ffos Las is a very exciting development which will bring tremendous benefits to the surrounding communities and to the whole of Carmarthenshire.

"It has been a long wait and many hurdles have had to be overcome, but it has been well worth it."

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