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Page last updated at 18:25 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:25 UK

Welsh duo create Ffos Las history

Plunkett is the first horse to enjoy the Ffos Las winners' enclosure

A Welsh trainer and owner double-act rode into racing's history books by claiming the first winner at the new Ffos Las racecourse in South Wales.

Trainer Evan Williams and owner Hywel Jones were celebrating after Plunkett won the National Hunt Novices' Hurdle on Thursday.

The 15-8 shot finished beat Older And Wiser around the two-and-a-half mile course near Llanelli by seven lengths.

"It's a historic moment," said Jones. "And I'm proud to win this first race."

West Walian Jones was proud after his horse Plunkett won the landmark occasion at the first British turf racecourse to open in 80 years.

A sell-out crowd of 10,000 packed into Ffos Las in Trimsaran and cheered Plunkett to victory on a momentous day and fairytale occasion for owner, trainer and racecourse.

"It is an extremely proud moment to win the first race at this amazing brand new race course," said Jones.

Evan Williams
We got this horse off Michael Hourigan and all credit must go to him as he said he was the type of horse we could do well with in the summer

Winning trainer Evan Williams

"We planned ahead as I said to Evan we'd love to come down here and win the first race.

"As a proud West Walian, I wanted to show that West Wales is a hard place for anyone outside the area to win and I said to Evan Williams find me a horse to win that prize.

"Evan went away and found a horse that he believed would win the first race at Ffos Las.

"The man did exactly what he said he would do. He bought the horse and we won the race - job done."

The new course on the site of a former open-cast coal mine was the ambitious brainchild of local businessman Dai Walters, who had a runner in the opening race at 1820 BST.

Walters seemed to have a standout chance of winning given his appropriately-named Ffos Las Diamond was 6-4 favourite.

However, Nicky Henderson's five-year-old could only finish fifth behind Plunkett, who travelled powerfully throughout under Donal Fahy.

"He's a very nice horse and one we will take our time with," Jones said of the winner.

"We saw this race for him so we thought we would come down here and spoil the Ffos Las Diamond party."

After cruising to the front early in the straight, Fahy only had to keep his mount up to his work to come home seven lengths clear of Older And Wiser.

Successful trainer Williams, who is based at Llancarfan in the vale of Glamorgan, said: "It's very, very quick and is drying very quickly.

"It will be a superb track in the middle of the winter.

"We got this horse off Michael Hourigan and all credit must go to him as he said he was the type of horse we could do well with in the summer."

Fahey added: "I wouldn't have a bad word to say about the place - it's perfect ground. It's nice to have a winner anywhere, but to have one here is especially nice.

"He's a lovely horse and travelled well the whole way round."

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see also
Ffos Las clears first hurdle in style
19 Jun 09 |  Horse Racing
Ffos Las starts at a gallop
18 Jun 09 |  Horse Racing
Historic racecourse's first meet
18 Jun 09 |  South west
Welsh racecourse debut sells out
11 Jun 09 |  South west
Racecourse under starter's orders
27 Dec 08 |  South west
Racecourse launch at ex-mine site
11 Jul 07 |  South west
Racing course wins approval
20 Nov 03 |  South west
Horse racing plan at former mine
09 Jun 03 |  South west
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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