TWO decades of live broadcasting from a Towyn racecourse has come to an end.
Welsh-language broadcaster S4C has cancelled the Rasus series which has been held at the Tir Prince racecourse for the last 21 years.
Tir Prince owner Adam Williams said: “This is devastating news for the community.
“The knock-on effect will be tremendous, as a lot of people rely on the Rasus series as a source of income and this news will hit them hard.”
Mr Williams said an estimated 25,000 people visited the area each summer for the meetings.
With the series of broadcasts now being cancelled, it is still unclear whether or not the racing schedule will continue next year and Mr Williams is exploring avenues to contest the decision made by the S4C hierarchy.
He said: “We have recently spent a substantial amount on regenerating the track and as a result of this news we will now have to re-evaluate the budget to see whether it is financially viable to stage the meetings.
“It is far from an ideal situation, and I have contacted local MP’s who are also fraught with losing what is North Wales’ main exported TV series.
“We are just baffled by the decision because it had very high viewing figures and it seems to me as if it’s down to one person’s personal preference rather than simply cancelling the show due to lack of interest.”
Cllr Bernice McLoughlin, mayor of Towyn and Kinmel Bay said: “This is a severe blow to North Wales. The meetings were a great advert for Towyn and jobs and tourism are likely to be severely affected by this news. Adam was hoping to extend the number of meetings held at the course but after this news this has now been put on hold.
“From what I understand S4C are planning to run any future programs from a course in Tregaron - which doesn’t have the reputation or the reliability of the track at Tir Prince."
Dafydd Rhys, director of content at S4C, said: “Rasus is a familiar name to S4C viewers as it’s one of the series which has been on the channel over the last twenty years.
“Although a full series won’t be included in the 2014 schedule S4C is in discussion with the production company and hopes to show one trotting event during the year.”