Kempton Park Racecourse
Section of tracks with finishing line
|Location||Sunbury-on-Thames, Spelthorne, England|
|Owned by||Jockey Club Racecourses|
|Date opened||July 1878|
|Screened on||Racing TV|
|Notable races||King George VI Chase|
Kempton Park Racecourse is a horse racing track together with a licensed entertainment and conference venue in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England, 16 miles south-west of Charing Cross, London and on a border of Greater London. The site has 210 acres (85 hectares) (0.85 km²) of flat grassland surrounded by woodland with two lakes in its centre. Its entrance borders Kempton Park railway station which was created for racegoers on a branch line from London Waterloo, via Clapham Junction.
It has adjoining inner and outer courses for flat and fenced racing. Among its races, the King George VI Chase takes place on Boxing Day, a Grade 1 National Hunt chase which is open to horses aged four years or older.
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 as tenant in 1872 and six years later in July 1878 Kempton opened as a racecourse. This was the feudal lord's demesne of a manor recorded in the Domesday Book and has had at least four variant names but though early Victorian gateposts exist, no buildings of the manor house remain.
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.
Flat racing from 2006 is run on the synthetic track so 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, it joins the outskirts of the park as part of the green belt.
On 10 January 2017 the Jockey Club announced the closure of the 230-acre site by 2021 for a total of £500 million investment programme over a 10-year period that was submitted for consideration following the local authority's 'Call for Sites' to address unmet local housing needs. The plan includes the move of some important jumps races like the King George VI Chase and Christmas Hurdle to the Sandown Park Racecourse with the other jumps fixtures to be spread around other Jockey Club-owned racecourses throughout the country, while the all-weather track to be replaced by a new artificial track to be built at Newmarket.
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 BetBright Chase.
Early September hosts the Sirenia Stakes major race day.
Non-racing events and facilities
In addition to racing, the site is home to a weekly market on Thursdays, holds an antiques market on the second and last Tuesday of every month and seasonal wedding fairs. Reception areas and two restaurants can be booked for private hospitality or celebrations. Boxes are used for meetings and race days.
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-yard run-in.
|January||Saturday||Lanzarote Hurdle||Hurdle||Handicap||2m 5f||4yo +|
|February||Saturday||BetBright Chase||Chase||Grade 3||3m||5yo +|
|February||Saturday||Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle||Hurdle||Grade 2||2m||4yo only|
|February||Saturday||Pendil Novices' Chase||Chase||Grade 2||2m 4f 110y||5yo +|
|February||Saturday||Dovecote Novices' Hurdle||Hurdle||Grade 2||2m||4yo +|
|Mar / Apr||Saturday||Magnolia Stakes||A W Flat||Listed||1m 2f||4yo +|
|Mar / Apr||Saturday||Rosebery Stakes||A W Flat||Handicap||1m 3f||4yo +|
|Mar / Apr||Saturday||Easter Stakes||A W Flat||Conditions||1m||3yo only|
|April||Saturday||Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes||A W Flat||Conditions||1m||4yo+ f|
|September||Saturday||Sirenia Stakes||A W Flat||Group 3||6f||2yo only|
|September||Saturday||September Stakes||A W Flat||Group 3||1m 4f||3yo +|
|November||Wednesday||Floodlit Stakes||A W Flat||Listed||1m 4f||3yo +|
|November||Monday||Kempton Mares' Hurdle||Hurdle||Listed||3m 110y||4yo + m|
|December||26th||King George VI Chase||Chase||Grade 1||3m||4yo +|
|December||26th||Kauto Star Novices' Chase||Chase||Grade 1||3m||4yo +|
|December||26th||Christmas Hurdle||Hurdle||Grade 1||2m||4yo +|
|December||27th||Wayward Lad Novices' Chase||Chase||Grade 2||2m||4yo +|
|December||27th||Desert Orchid Chase||Chase||Grade 2||2m||4yo +|
- Other races
- Dragonfly Stakes
- Hyde Stakes
- Ladybird Stakes
- London Mile
- Masaka Stakes
- Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes
- Sunbury Stakes
- Wild Flower Stakes
- The Mascot Grand National, a charity footrace between sporting and corporate mascots.
For racegoers not travelling via the capital, and including the direct Thameslink from Bedford to Brighton, a junction station on this short line is at Clapham Junction and for services on lines from Reading and Windsor to Waterloo, a change can be made at Twickenham followed by nearby Teddington.
- "Kempton Park racecourse faces closure to make way for 3,000 homes". bbc.com. BBC News. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- "Kempton to be closed for housing". sportinglife.com. Sporting Life. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Racing Post Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine "Kempton drama as horse plunges into lake". Turia Tellwright, 14 January 2009