Ffos Las Racecourse Guide

Ffos Las Racecourse Being Built
Ffos Las Racecourse Being Built (Rose and Trev Clough / geograph.org.uk)

Built this side of the millennium, Ffos Las can be considered a very new addition to the racing scene and one that takes the total amount of major racecourses in Wales up to three.

With it being a modern build, Ffos Las includes all the features you come to expect from a racecourse in this day and age. In its first year, only eight race meetings were scheduled but today it holds over 20, consisting of both flat and National Hunt racing.

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The Course

The left handed flat course at Ffos Las measures around a mile and a half long, although there are two straight chutes at opposite ends. The chute on the stand side allows for straight sprint races, five or six furlongs long while the far chute is where races a mile and a half begin. It’s a fair course, well maintained and galloping in nature which helps draw comparisons to Newbury. There are no great biases, although it pays not to be the inside on wet days as that’s where the track can be at its softest.

The chase course is another that suits gallopers and the width of the track gives horses plenty of room to manoeuvre. There are no cambers or undulations of note. Only a slight rise on the back straight and slight decline on the home straight stop it being entirely flat. The fences are fair without being overly testing and both the final fence and hurdle are close to the winning post, giving it a short run-in.

It was known for being an extremely boggy course at times. Retired legend of the sport AP McCoy once remarked “there’s heavy, and then there’s Ffos Las heavy.” With Ffos Las gaining a bad reputation for extreme conditions, course chairman Dai Walters approved spending £200,000 to fix the issue in 2015. This has made very heavy going largely a thing of the past and has been very successful.

Major Races

Ffos Las is more known for its jump racing and it previously had two big National Hunt events. This was before the West Wales National was cancelled (at least temporarily) following a disastrous run in 2015 when only two horses, from 10, managed to finish the race. Bob’s Ford enjoyed a 99 lengths victory over second place Gorgehous Lliege, who was originally thought to have been pulled up before crossing the finishing post the most distant of distant seconds.

The two mile Welsh Champion Hurdle on the other hand has been running every year at Ffos Las since making its debut there in 2010. The race has a much longer history that this though, originally dating back to 1969 where it was a Listed event that took place at Chepstow. Declining interest saw it change to a handicap and in 2003 it was erased from the racing calendar. It’s enjoying a new lease of life, however, as a limited handicap at its new home.


Ffos Las may not be the easiest racecourse to get to for many but its stunning 600 acre surroundings make it worthy of a trip out.

Useful Info

Dress Code

For general admission, racegoers will not be required to adhere to any special dress code although smart casual wear is encouraged. In the hospitality areas, certain standards are kept. As at many racecourses this means that ripped jeans, trainers and sports shirts are not permitted.

Ticket Prices

Pricing at Ffos Las is very straightforward. General admission for concessions (over 60s, students and emergency personnel) is £10 online and £15 on the gate. For all other adults, tickets cost £15 online and £20 on the gate. A Punter’s Package which includes a welcome drink, £2 totebet and racecard on top of admission can only be purchased online for £20.

There is also the online only Party Package at £25 that includes three drinks vouchers along with your entry. Hospitality packages start from £50 and for all tickets purchased online, a £2 fee on the booking will be applied. Under 18s receive free entry.


Annual membership at Ffos Las costs £230 for adults or £170 for concessions and covers the whole calendar year. Being a member gives you access to Ffos Las’ 19 fixtures, all ARC (Arena Racing Company) courses and more than 25 reciprocal fixtures.

You will also be given over £100 in ARC vouchers, the opportunity to buy discounted tickets for family and friends for most meets, as well as two complimentary tickets to give away.

Getting There

There can be a substantial amount of traffic on racedays so if driving to Ffos Las, it’s good to aim to get there 90 minutes before the first race. On some racedays a courtesy bus service is in operation, collecting from nearby Llanelli train station and working on a first come first serve basis.

The 197 public bus service will also take you from Llanelli to the racecourse. There are other train stations close by including Kidwelly (4.5m) and Pembrey and Burry Port (4.5m) but they aren’t as well connected to the course.


There is ample free parking close to the racecourse entrance, further enhancing the notion that driving is the best bet for access.


Ffos Las, Wales
Ffos Las, Wales - Overlooking Cardigan Bay (Eirian Evans / geograph.org.uk)

Ffos Las, Welsh for ‘blue ditch’, is a very new racing venue in relation to the vast majority of UK tracks. It is, in fact, the only National Hunt course to have opened in the UK in over 80 years. When opening, it also ended a 72 year absence of top class racing to West Wales. It took a lot of time and money to convert a former open-cast mine into a racecourse. In fact, the former site used to be the largest open cast coal mine on the continent. The transformation took over five years at a cost of a rather whopping £20m.

Dai Walters

Welsh businessman Dai Walters, was the man funding the new racecourse and it opened its gates to the public for the first time on 21st July 2009. For the opening race, a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle, Walters entered one of his own horses, Ffos Las Diamond. Despite being favourite to claim the race, Walters’ horse was easily beaten in fifth place in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,000 people.

That was no doubt a disappointment to Walters, however, the continued success of the track is sure to be of far more concern. Ffos Las has certainly had some issues but there is no doubt its future looks bright and secure.