What a great weeks racing- Round it off at Ffos Las on Sunday

Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Here at Ffos Las we round off the biggest week in the jump racing calendar in 2014 with our meeting on Sunday (16 MARCH). It’s ‘Super Irish Sunday’ – the eve of St Patrick Day – with live entertainment before and after racing from The Wild Murphy’s, the three-piece group who play a mix of traditional and not so traditional Irish music! We hope many Irish visitors to Britain for the Cheltenham Festival may also drop in for another exciting day’s racing as they make their way home. We have already been a stopping off point for horses from the Emerald Isle on their way to the National Hunt Festival. Racing gets under way at 2.15pm.

Anyone who has read the blog before will know how I often mention one of the boss’s horses, Whisper. He’s already been a good winner of several races but surpassed this by winning The Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival this week. He’s a star and with 25-1 available in the morning of the race and a starting price of 16-1, I certainly will be giving him a pat and a few polo mints when I see him next.

Hope to see you at the track soon.

Tim  

 

 

Super Irish Sunday

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014

Well, here’s hoping the worst of the foulest weather I can ever remember is behind us! The track is drying out and it won’t be long before the grass picks its head up and starts growing.

As the Cheltenham Festival draws close, its exciting times for the racing enthusiast. Waiting for that horse you have been following all year, and sometimes for longer, to step up and win a major race. It has been great to see horses that have won races at Ffos Las go on to win at both Cheltenham and Aintree- Sprinter Sacre, At Fishers Cross, Oscar Whisky and Medinas to name but a few. As a fair, open and galloping track, Ffos Las dictates that good horses win here and the form is generally worth following.

We race again on Sunday 16th March- Super Irish Sunday when the band The Wild Murphys will be providing musical entertainment both before and after racing. A seven race card that usually draws plenty of runners should keep us all well entertained with the first race at 2.15pm.

Not too sure of the boss’s horses going to Cheltenham but hope good old Oscar Whisky can cover himself in glory if he runs. I think his jumping of fences has improved on every run this year, and consequently, so has his confidence. He’s an admirable type and deserves success.   

See you for a Guinness on Super Irish Sunday

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Super Irish Sunday!

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014

Well, here’s hoping the worst of the foulest weather I can ever remember is behind us! The track is drying out and it won’t be long before the grass picks its head up and starts growing.

As the Cheltenham Festival draws close, its exciting times for the racing enthusiast. Waiting for that horse you have been following all year, and sometimes for longer, to step up and win a major race. It has been great to see horses that have won races at Ffos Las go on to win at both Cheltenham and Aintree- Sprinter Sacre, At Fishers Cross, Oscar Whisky and Medinas to name but a few. As a fair, open and galloping track, Ffos Las dictates that good horses win here and the form is generally worth following.

We race again on Sunday 16th March- Super Irish Sunday when the band Wild Murphys will be providing musical entertainment both before and after racing. A seven race card that usually draws plenty of runners should keep us all well entertained with the first race at 2.15pm.

Not too sure of the boss’s horses going to Cheltenham but hope good old Oscar Whisky can cover himself in glory if he runs. I think his jumping of fences has improved on every run this year, and consequently, so has his confidence. He’s an admirable type and deserves success.   

See you for a Guinness on Super Irish Sunday

National Hero Aims For More Welsh Glory

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Welsh National winner Mountainous is targeting more glory here at Ffos Las on Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle Day on Saturday (1 FEBRUARY). The hero at Chepstow Racecourse at Christmas time is poised to go for the West Wales National, a race also sponsored by the Carmarthenshire pet food business.

 And it could take the nine-year-old – owned by our guvnor Dai Walters – all the way to Aintree Racecourse in April because he’s being entered for the Grand National which this year is worth £1 million for the first time.

Strong entries have been received for both the big races with Medinas – last year’s winner of the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle who also went on to win at the Cheltenham Festival in March – bidding to retain his title in the £50,000 event. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know how much I think of the guvnor Dai’s horse Whisper and I reckon he could win this and follow in Oscar Whiskey’s hoofprints, the winner in 2011. Trained by Nicky Henderson, how many times has Whisper ran here at Ffos Las? Answer- Three. And how many times has he won here? Answer- Three. And yes, on heavy ground too.

 Among 17 horses entered to oppose the Welsh Grand National winner Mountainous in the big steeple chase over three and a half miles is former Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers. He is a course winner too and although in the veteran stage of his career, is in fine form and has been handled with great skill by his connections. I hope and expect him to run well.

We’re delighted with all the enties, especially for our new sponsor Burns Pet Nutrition, and there’s plenty of interest in some of the big names entered to run.  The cameras of Channel 4 Racing are here too such is the national interest in our racing. I’m absolutely thrilled that Burns Pet Nutrition, not only a fantastic Welsh business that is renowned in its field throughout the British Isles but one that is located just down the road from the racecourse, is to sponsor our most high profile races from this year.

Hope to see you at Ffos Las. 

Tim

 

 

 

New Sponsor For Welsh Champion Hurdle

Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

BURNS Pet Nutrition – headquartered just four miles from Ffos Las – is to be the new sponsor of our principal race of the year. The Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle will be run here on Saturday 1 February. The £50,000 race over two and a half miles is a brilliantly competitive event which last year was won by Medinas, who went on to glory at the Cheltenham Festival.

We are absolutely thrilled that Burns Pet Nutrition, not only a fantastic Welsh business that is renowned in its field throughout the British Isles but one that is located just down the road from the racecourse, is to sponsor our most high profile race from this year. The 2013 renewal of the Welsh Champion Hurdle was fantastic and we are already looking forward to the big day next month when we will be delighted to welcome our new sponsor to the racecourse. The 2013 race was well supported by Welsh trainers, with five of the 14 horses stabled in The Principality – and I’d say it was six because Welshman-in-exile Nigel Twiston-Davies also sent a runner.

The Welsh Champion Hurdle, which was won by our chairman Dai Walters’s star horse Oscar Whisky in its first year in 2011, became a limited handicap race last year to increase its competitiveness.  Prize-money was also raised by 16% to encourage racehorse owners and trainers to run their horses.

 Until the race was brought back by Ffos Las, it had been run until the spring of 2002 at Chepstow Racecourse.  Traditionally held in April, the race began to suffer competition from Aintree and Punchestown Racecourses and sometimes attracted only a small field of runners.The Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle is covered on terrestrial television by Channel 4.

 The business is also sponsoring the £30,000 West Wales National which is run on the same day.  The three-and-a-half mile steeple chase could see the first appearance by Mountainous since his victory in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow Racecourse at the end of last year.  The horse, trained in Herefordshire by Richard Lee, is also owned by Dai Walters.

 

Great Racing- Business as usual for AP McCoy

Posted on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Having ridden in Ireland on Sunday, AP McCoy was in Leeds that evening evening where he came third behind Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Welsh rugby international Leigh Halfpenny in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

It was then here to Ffos Las where McCoy won on It’s A Doddle (7/2) for JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill in the IWEC Electrical Novices’ Hurdle, with victory only looking likely in the final 100 yards.

The 18-times champion jockey then partnered the Rebecca Curtis-trained newcomer Imagine The Chat (9/4 joint-favourite) in the Three Rivers “Newcomers” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, coming out on top by three-quarters of a length.

It is again testament to the Champ’s professionalism that instead of making the long trip home immediately after the last race he instead remained to give a racecourse gallop to “Tea For Three” in preparation for his run in the Welsh National on 28th Dec. Trained by Rebecca Curtis, Tea For Three was second in that race last year and afterwards finished third in the Grand National at Aintree in April. He’s a smashing looking horse and was in great form yesterday, jumping over a few fences he was accurate and fast. Despite having to carry plenty of weight in the Coral Welsh National you would have to think he wont be far away at the business end, especially if his connections employ a good claiming jockey to offset some weight.

 Also yesterday the cheque for £100,000 which was raised through prize auctions and a raffle here last month, and will be used for the ongoing care of injured jockey JT McNamara, was presented to Brough Scott, chairman of the trustees of the Injured Jockeys Fund in Britain. Sarah Llewellyn, the daughter of our Chairman Dai Walters, made the presentation. It really could have only been someone like Dai who could mastermind such a collosal effort to raise this sort of money. A great many thanks to all who helped and contributed. 

Next stop here is Boxing Day; with a  competitive seven race card it’s the ideal way to get out of the house for a bit of fresh air. Might even be able to recoup some funds after Christmas! Hope to see you here but in any case, have a great Christmas and good luck for the New Year.

Tim

DOUBLE HELPING OF HORSE RACING FOR CHRISTMAS + £100,000 HANDED OVER FOR CARE OF INJURED JOCKEY

Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013

Full steam ahead here for a festive period to remember with two racing days either side of Christmas. The horses are racing not only on Monday 16th – the racecourse’s Christmas Party Race Day – but also on Boxing Day. It is the third time that we have had a meeting on 26 December which is just about the most popular day for horse racing across Britain.

On Monday 16th December our Chairman Dai Walters will present the £100,000 raised at the racecourse last month for paralysed jockey JT McNamara to Lisa Hancock, the chief executive of the Injured Jockeys Fund. It is wonderful that, through the generosity of our supporters, we are able to give £100,000 for the continuing care of JT McNamara who was paralysed as a result of a fall at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Boxing Day horse racing is as Christmassy as mince pies, carols and unwanted sweaters.  It’s very much a tradition in Britain for people to get out and watch some sport on Boxing Day and we are delighted to be offering that chance to the people of south and west Wales at Christmas. The local derby will be on the screens too. With free admission for accompanied under 18s, I reckon we offer a very affordable family day out in December.  

Meantime, Ffos Las annual badges for 2014 would make fantastic presents for followers of horse racing. They cost just £135 until the end of the month and offer admission not only to Ffos Las but also to the 14 racecourses in the Arena Racing Company group including Chepstow.  The price is £150 from 1 January so get in before Crimbo. Annual badges offer discounts on refreshments; reciprocal visits to other racecourses outside the Arena Racing Company group; 10% off hospitality prices; admission to annual badge holders bar; a walk the course or behind the scenes tour with me (thats not be missed on its own!); and two complimentary admission badges for family or friends. BARGAIN.

Not too much news on the horse grapevine but a good friend of Ffos Las’, Mark Williams, is hoping to run his horse, Comehomequietly, here on Boxing Day. He’s had his problems (the horse that is) but is well handicapped as a result; so as a previous course winner it may be worth keeping an eye on him.

Anyway, best of luck and a very happy festive season to you.

Tim Long

 

£100,000 raised on JT McNamara raceday!

Posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013

A fantastic £100,000 was raised through prize auctions and a raffle at our raceday on Sunday for the care of jockey JT McNamara who suffered paralysis after a fall at the Cheltenham Festival this year.

The total on the day was just a little shy of the six-figure amount, so our Chairman Dai Walters, who arranged the array of superb prizes for the auction, topped up the amount to a round figure.

Mr Walters said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to raise such a sum of money to help JT McNamara and his family. We are indebted to the many very generous bidders in the auction and also most grateful to race-goers who dipped into their pockets to buy raffle tickets on Sunday. What happened to JT at the Cheltenham Festival was a terrible accident and at Ffos Las we hope that in a small way we will be able to contribute to his treatment and care.”

Among the prizes auctioned and successful bids were:

• £27,500 (two bids) A visit to Ballydoyle racing stables in Tipperary – where Aidan O’Brien trains – and a tour of Coolmore Stud with lunch, for four people, donated by Coolmore;

• £7,000 A day’s top-class shooting at Llechweddygarth in mid-Wales, donated by Richard Blair;

• £5,000 A P McCoy print, donated by Nicky Henderson;

• £5,000 A trip to Hippodrome casino in London, donated by Simon Thomas;

• £3,500 A hospitality box for 12 people at Anfield football stadium for Liverpool v Swansea City in February 2014, donated by Owen Fuels;

• £3,500 A day’s hunting with Limerick Harriers, donated by JT McNamara’s father.

One of the prizes was a morning on the gallops and breakfast with champion jump racing trainer Nicky Henderson, including an overnight stay at The Pheasant near to his Berkshire stables. On Sunday, the champion trainer offered the runner-up in the bidding the same prize too – and effectively doubled the amount raised.

Again, many, many thanks to all who contributed and helped.

 

Charity Race Day- Sunday 10th November

Posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Tuesday 29th October was a good afternoons racing with some close, exciting finishes. AP McCoy won on both of Jonjo O’Neill’s runners- the chasing debutant Taquin Du Seuil not getting out of second gear to win the Novice Chase and really catching the eye. He was a smart hurdler and looks as if some big prizes over fences are well within his grasp- his jumping was measured and scopey out of the heavy ground. In the bumper, owner Janet Evans welcomed back her seventeenth winner at Ffos Las with Capilla winning in the style of a nice young horse. Janet and her husband are huge supporters of jump racing in Wales and are fantastic sporting people.

Looking forward, we are now preparing for The J T McNamara Raceday on Sunday 10th November. JT was seriously injured in a fall at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. He remains paralysed and we aim to raise as much as we can to assist him and his young family going forward. The life of a jockey can be irrevocably changed with just one fall, worth bearing in mind as we enjoy this fantastic sport.  Already, the support we have received from both individuals and companies through sponsorship and hospitality has been fantastic. After racing we are holding an auction of some quite special lots to boost the fundraising effort. Although you can see them all listed on the web site, some notable ones are A Tour of Ballydoyle and Coolmore Stud, Hospitality for 12 at Anfield for Liverpool v Swansea, A Day on the Gallops with Nicky Henderson, a cracking day’s shooting and the list goes on. Please give me a shout if you wish to bid but can’t get to the course on the day. A silent auction and raffle will also take place and includes many prizes of superb and unique racing memorabilia and hospitality. Please do come along if you can, enjoy a good days racing and support a very good cause.

Talking of racing, I hear one of the guvnor’s horses is currently scorching up the gallops in training and will be running soon- more than likely here on Sunday 10th so watch out for him. His name is West Wizard. One of my favourite horses of last season I look forward to seeing again is Whisper.Again owned by Mr Walters, he was a very good novice hurdler and will be running over fences this time. He’s a lovely horse.   

All the very Best of Luck and hope to see you racing

Tim

Plenty of fun Jumping and a Good Cause in November

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013

At our first jump fixture of the Autumn, it was great that Dan Skelton trained his first winner here. The first of many no doubt having spent valuable years with Paul Nicholls and now having a superb training establishment, Dan is sure to rise to the top of the training ranks (he actually has “John Reel” in training, owned by the guvnor Dai Walters. A nice horse) . Looking forward to our next meeting on Tuesday 29th October, a seven race card of competitive action with hopefully the added spice of the Champ, AP McCoy getting ever closer to the unbelievable feat of riding 4,000 winners. With only 20 odd winners to go, it would be fantastic if he could achieve it here wouldn’t it?

If not on the 29th then perhaps on Sunday 10th November when we host our annual charity raceday. This year’s beneficiary is JT McNamara, a leading Amateur jockey who suffered serious injuries in a fall earlier in the year. There are some truly magnificent pledges to be auctioned on the day including A tour of Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle, Hospitality for 12 at Liverpool v Swamsea, mornings on the Gallops with Nicky Henderson and  Richard Hannon to name but a few. People have been very generous and we are incredibly grateful. On the day a raffle with some lovely prizes will also be held. It looks to be a good card and a really worthwhile cause- call the office or book on line.

Having last season flagged up the guvnor’s horse “Whisper” as one to follow, he went on to win several decent hurdle races and looks a fantastic prospect again this year over hurdles or even fences. Keep on the right side of him, I think he’s special. I would imagine that Oscar Whiskey will make his debut over fences soon and it would be no surprise for him to go to the very top in Novice Chases and to be even better than he was over hurdles.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my ear to the ground as the horses get nearer a run and will relay any information here!

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