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Earliest meeting: Friday 10th March 1871
Final meeting: Monday 14th April 1879
The Welsh town of Llandilo is in Carmarthenshire on the River Towy, located in beautiful countryside on the western side of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and it was over this beautiful countryside that the town held its own race meetings in the mid to late 1800s. The first meeting was staged on Friday 10th March 1871 and proved to be so successful that further meetings took place for each of the next 8 years. That inaugural meeting was held on a course visible from any of the platforms on the nearby railway station. It began with an Open Steeplechase which saw Captain Phillip’s Mary beat Backed Car and Gwyther, and was followed by a Galloway race. The feature race, the Llandilo Stakes for £10, was won by Mr T Thomas’s 5 year old The Lass, getting the better of Castlemartin and Cor, the afternoon’s activities closing with a Pony Race. The meeting held on Easter Monday 22nd April 1878 was particularly well supported when a crowd in excess of 4000 witnessed Nightshade win the Stewards’ Plate over 2 ½ miles for Mr Heathfield, defeating the 4/1 On shot Pembroke. The concluding Plate was won by Mr Powell’s Milton at the expense of the unfortunate Pembroke and Cameron. The final recognised meeting was held on Monday 14th April 1879 on a course complete with crowded grandstand, stiff fences and entertainment provided by the Band of the Royal Carmarthen Artillery. The feature Llandilo Hunters’ Plate was won by Harkaway, while the Dirleton Plate over 2 miles went to Mr F C Cobden’s Artificer, beating Jolly Tar and Dunkeld. Races did continue well into the middle of the 20th century at Ffairtach, although the cards increasingly included Galloway races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 3 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Colonel Courtenay Scott, Captain Grismoni Phillips, Captain Graham (Stewards)
Principal Races Llandilo Stewards’ Plate, Dirleton Plate

Monday 14th April 1879
Llandilo Hunters’ Plate over 2 miles and 8 hurdles
1. Harkaway, chestnut gelding owned by Mr F A G Jones
2. Zulu, bay mare owned by Mr Henry Norton
3. April Fool, brown gelding owned by Mr J H W Edmond
Betting: 5/4 Nativity, 2/1 Zulu, 3/1 April Fool. 4/1 Harkaway

The final meeting took place on Monday 14th April 1879.
Course today A course complete with grandstand and stiff, challenging fences at Ffairtach.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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