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Kempton Park Racecourse is situated in Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, approximately 16 miles west of central London. The racecourse was the brainchild of 19th century businessman Samuel Henry Hyde and staged its first fixture in 1878. More recently, Kempton Park was closed between 2005 and 2006 for the construction of a floodlit, all-weather Flat track inside the existing National Hunt track.

Kempton Park is still most famous for the King George VI Steeplechase, which is run on Boxing Day each year, but is actually one of the busiest racecourses in the country, staging almost one hundred Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year.

Facilities


General admission prices at Kempton Park are £10 per person between January and April and between October and December, £12 per person in April and £16 per person in May and August. Fixtures at which racing is followed by a live music concert cost £16 per person and so-called “Premier” race days cost £20 per person.

For corporate events, such as award ceremonies, conferences, dinners, exhibitions and meetings, Kempton offers 15,000 square feet of floor space on the ground floor of the grandstand, plus a further 400 acres of outdoor space. The racecourse complex can accommodate up to 700 conference delegates at a time and offers the facility to tailor bespoke packages, including catering and free ticket options, to your own requirements. Each event has its own dedicated events manager and delegate packages start from £45 per person.
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Getting there



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What makes the Kempton course so unique?



The all-weather course at Kempton is composed of Polytrack, a wax-coated, synthetic surface, which has a root structure that mimics turf and produces a consistent surface. The all-weather course is right-handed with two bends.

The National Hunt course is also right-handed and consists of a flat, triangular circuit approximately one mile five furlongs around. There are ten fences per circuit and a fairly short run-in of 175 yards. The fences are generally considered stiff, but fair and typically cause few problems for sound-jumping horses.
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King George VI Chase


The legendary Desert Orchid

The King George VI Chase is one of just four Grade 1 staying chases run during the British National Hunt season and has produced many memorable performances over the years.

Desert Orchid, for example, won the King George VI Chase four times between 1986 and 1990, but it was perhaps his first win in 1986, as a 7-year-old, that was the most memorable. Starting as rank outsider at 16/1, he jumped spectacularly well under Simon Sherwood to defeat the previous year's winner Wayward Lad and the previous year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Forgive ‘N Forget by 15 lengths and further. He was surprisingly beaten by Francois Doumen's Nupsala the following year, but returned to Kempton Park for three further triumphs in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Desert Orchid was only surpassed as the most successful horse in the history of the King George VI Chase in 2011, when Paul Nicholls' 11-year-old Kauto Star won the race for the fifth time in six years. The record-breaking victory came as something of a surprise because Kauto Star had been comprehensively beaten in the race the previous year by Long Run, who had subsequently won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and was, once again, favourite for the King George VI Chase. Nevertheless, Kauto Star jumped impeccably under Ruby Walsh and, having gone 4 lengths clear from the fourth last fence, was never going to be caught, much to the delight of the 22,000-strong crowd that had gathered at Kempton to see history in the making.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers


Jim Crowley, on Tullius (credit: biltho)

On the all-weather track at Kempton, Godolphin is, by far the most successful owner in the last five seasons, with 85 winners from 309 runners. However, Goldolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is only the second most successful trainer, with 65 winners from 195 runners.

He trails some way behind Richard Hannon, who has a record of 104 winners from 107 runners. Richard Hannon's stable jockey and son-in-law, Richard Hughes does well percentage-wise, with 96 winners from 527 rides, but in terms of total winners ridden is some way behind Kempton regulars Jim Crowley, Luke Morris and Adam Kirby.

Crowley (right) has ridden 127 winners from 863 rides, Morris has ridden 119 winners from 966 rides and Adam Kirby has ridden 107 winners from 732 rides.

National Hunt racing obviously takes place at Kempton Park far less often than all-weather Flat racing but, while the total numbers of winners are correspondingly smaller, the leading owner, jockey and trainer over the last five seasons have all recorded impressive strike rates and level stakes profits. Top owner Michael Buckley has a record of 11 winners from 23 runners, or a strike rate of 48%, for a level stakes profit of 4.19 points.

Top jockey Barry Geraghty has a record of 46 winners from 134 rides, or a strike rate of 34%, for a very healthy level stakes profit of 51.75 points and his boss, Nicky Henderson has trained 65 winners from 218 runners, at a strike rate of 30%, for a level stakes profit of 11.02 points.

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