Fun for all the family at Tregaron Harness Racing Festival
A three-day August festival of harness racing in the West Wales town of Tregaron, which offers almost £100,000 in prizemoney, is being promoted as the "perfect family day out".
Ceredrotian, a company established last year to support and promote Ceredigion's four harness racing clubs, describes the festival from August 24-26 as a major tourist attraction for the county, which is best known for its spectacularly beautiful coastline. Children under the age if 16 years get in free.
"Hundreds of horses and thousands of spectators from all over the UK and Ireland flock to Tregaron festival, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious harness racing fixtures in the UK," explained Kayleigh Evans from Ceredrotian.
"Spectators get to experience the thrills of a unique and exciting sport as well as witnessing some of the finest equine athletes battle it out to win the esteemed prizes.
"Tregaron Trotting Club was formed to raise the standard of harness racing in Wales and, without doubt, its aim has long been fulfilled. It has become a pinnacle of harness racing in the UK.
"Harness racing is enjoyed by all the family, who can bring a picnic and soak up the beautiful surrounding whilst watching some top quality races Tracks are only half mile circuits so the crowds are never far away from the action.
"There are also a number of fringe activities to keep spectators entertained and the best bit is that children under 16 get free entry."
Representing Lampeter, Tregaron, Tan y Castell and Ceredigion trotting clubs, Ceredrotian has a website ceredrotian.com to promote the race meetings, which are affiliated to the British Harness Racing Club.
Ceredrotian's promotional activities are assisted by grant funding from Ceredigion County Council through the Wales Rural Development Plan, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government Fund.
Other forthcoming Ceredrotian race meetings are at Tanycastell Harness Racing Club on Sunday, August 5 and at Lampeter Harness Racing Club on Saturday, September 1.
Ceredrotian is a member of Mid Wales Tourism, an independent organisation representing 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.
Tregaron Trotting Club was first established in 1980 as the Deri Llanio Harness Racing Committee and held its first race meeting on the Deri Llanio fields near Llanddewi Brefi on July 29 that year.
By August 1984 it moved to its current location at Dolyrychain, Pontrhydfendigaid. From the outset the club was creating history by offering the first £1,000 harness race in Britain.
It was in that year that three fields were transformed to what is now universally accepted as the best grass track in Britain, set in the most natural amphitheatre, with a backdrop of the rolling Welsh mountains.
The race meetings' popularity has resulted in extensive live TV coverage, firstly on BBC Wales and then on S4C's Rasus programme.
Winner on that historic day in 1984, Mountain Hero, was bred in Tregaron by the committee's first secretary, Gareth Lloyd Davies, who sadly did not live to see the success. It was fitting, however, that the winner received the Gareth Lloyd Davies Memorial Trophy, which is now a perpetual award presented annually to the winner of the Welsh Classic, one of the finest accolades in British harness racing.
The club continued to create history in 2002, when it staged the first three-day harness race meeting in the UK and today it offers almost £100,000 in prizemoney.
The season at Tregaron kicks off with the spring meeting in May when trainers from all parts of the country make sure that they have some of their stable stars ready to take the early honours in The Spring Handicap or the four-year-old Senior Welsh Dragon.
By the August festival, all horses are finely tuned - from the up and coming two and three-year-olds and the rising stars to the public's favourite horses and the mighty giants of the Free For Allers.
Winning any race at Tregaron is an achievement but winning one of the feature races, is what owners' dreams are made of.