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Gentlemen Prefer Ffos Las . . . On Welsh Champion Hurdle Day

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By Graham Thomas

The DragonBet Welsh Champion Hurdle will take centre stage at Ffos Las on Sunday as the climax of three days’ racing across Wales.

The £50,000 race – which forms part of Gentlemen’s Day at the course – will celebrate its 102nd running, the culmination of the return of the jump season after two days of meetings at Chepstow.

Last year, the race was won by the Irish-owned and trained Effernock Fizz, but there will be a chance for Wales to reclaim the title, with Welsh trainers, such as Evan Williams, out to deny the Irish a repeat.

Williams was a winner of the title in 2018 when Silver Streak streaked home, with Wales-based jockey Adam Wedge on board.

Effernock Fizz will be back to defend the title, and also making a return is last year’s runner-up, Milkwood.

The other big race is the Norton’s Coin Trophy Handicap Chase, also sponsored by DragonBet, which Williams will also contest with Libberty Hunter.

If Wales can beat Argentina in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final 24 hours beforehand, then it could prove a successful day for the dragonhood across both sports.

For those keen to see if England can overcome Fiji on Sunday afternoon – or maybe the other way around – then the TV screens in the bars and grandstand will be showing the match.

“If Wales win and then we have a great day’s racing with the Welsh Champion Hurdle as our feature race on Sunday, then it should be a great weekend of Welsh sport,” says Ffos Las general manager Kevin Hire.

“It’s Gentleman’s Day, so we have some fantastic attractions well as the racing, plus live music after the final race.

“It’s a great combination of entertainment, plus two of our biggest races on the calendar.”

The music will be provided by Brothers of Blues – a Blues Brothers tribute act – whilst there will be the usual best dressed gentleman competition for the smartest effort when suited and booted.

There is also a fun casino, a mechanical rodeo horse, an opportunity to muscle up and test yourself with the strength machine, plus a selection of classic cars to admire.

To get race-goers in the mood for the Welsh Champion Hurdle, Britain’s Got talent finalist Gruffydd Wyn Roberts will be singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The gates open at 11.35am on Sunday, with the first race off at Ffos Las at 1.35pm.

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