Kempton Park Racecourse
|Owned by||Jockey Club Racecourses|
|Date opened||July 1878|
|Screened on||Racing UK|
|Notable races||King George VI Chase
Racing Plus Chase
Kempton Park Racecourse is a horse racing track in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England, 16 miles from Central London. The site is set in 210 acres (85 ha) of land and has a railway station on the line from London Waterloo, via Clapham Junction named Kempton Park.
The racecourse was the idea of 19th century businessman (and Conservative Party agent) S.H. Hyde, who was enjoying a carriage drive in the country when he came across Kempton Manor and Park for sale. Hyde leased the grounds in 1872 and six years later in July 1878 Kempton opened as a racecourse.
The site briefly closed (2 May 2005-25 March 2006) to reopen with a new all-weather polytrack (synthetic material) main track and floodlighting to enable racing at all light levels and all but the most severe bad weather.
As flat racing was from 2006 only to be run on the synthetic track the historic "Jubilee Course", a mile long spur which joined the main track by the home bend, used for the "Jubilee Handicap" which parred the Cambridgeshire and the Stewards' Cup in seniority, was abandoned. It is now overgrown for racing, however joins the outskirts of the park as part of the green belt.
Top Three Events
Kempton Park stages National Hunt racing (with fences) and Flat racing, with the most famous race being the King George VI Chase held every Boxing Day, a foremost grade 1 race. Associated, the Feltham Novices' Chase also takes place on Boxing Day, a grade 1 race. With similar challenges, past winners of the Feltham and of the King George VI Chase include Kauto Star and Long Run; the following day is the Desert Orchid Chase, a Grade 2 race.
Approximately the last weekend of February hosts the Racing Plus Chase.
Early September hosts the Sirenia Stakes major race day.
In addition to racing, the site is home to a weekly market on Thursdays, and an Antique market on the second and last Tuesday of every month, wedding fairs and suites and boxes can be booked for private hospitality.
The horse Blue Warrior strayed and fell into Kempton Park's centre-course lake having jumped before the start of the 19.20 on 14 January 2009. The rescue operation to get the horse out of the lake caused the race to be delayed by 15 minutes, with the horse rescued and sustaining a minor cut to his leg.
- All-weather Opened in March 2006, this floodlit Polytrack synthetic course is a right-handed oval of 8 or 10 furlongs, depending on whether the inner or outer bend is used.
- National Hunt Triangular circuit 1m5f, practically flat, with 220 yd run-in.
- Flat races
- Dragonfly Stakes
- Easter Stakes
- Floodlit Stakes
- Hyde Stakes
- Ladybird Stakes
- London Mile
- Magnolia Stakes
- Masaka Stakes
- Rosebery Stakes
- September Stakes
- Sirenia Stakes
- Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes
- Sunbury Stakes
- Wild Flower Stakes
- National Hunt races
- Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle
- Christmas Hurdle
- Desert Orchid Chase
- Dovecote Novices' Hurdle
- Feltham Novices' Chase
- King George VI Chase
- Lanzarote Hurdle
- Lapland Mares' Hurdle
- Pendil Novices' Chase
- Racing Plus Chase
- Wayward Lad Novices' Chase
- Other races
For racegoers not travelling via the capital, and including the direct Thameslink from Bedford to Brighton, two junction stations on this short line are at Clapham Junction for most services, and for services on lines from Reading and Windsor the changes on those lines to Waterloo can be made at Twickenham and nearby Teddington.
- Racing Post "Kempton drama as horse plunges into lake". Turia Tellwright, 14 January 2009