Kempton Park Racecourse

Last updated

Kempton Park
2012 Rock Gem n Bead Show 31.JPG
Section of tracks with finishing line
Location Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, England
Owned by Jockey Club Racecourses
Date openedJuly 1878
Screened on Racing TV
Course type Flat
National Hunt
Notable races King George VI Chase
BetBright Chase
Sirenia Stakes
Official website
Start and return of circuit of inner and outer track 2012 Rock Gem n Bead Show 30.JPG
Start and return of circuit of inner and outer track

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 ) 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.

Contents

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.

History

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. [1] 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. [2]

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 prestigious Grade 1 race. The Kauto Star Novices' Chase (formerly the Feltham Novices' Chase) also takes place on Boxing Day, a Grade 1 race. With similar challenges, past winners of the Kauto Star Novices' Chase 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. On approximately the last weekend of February Kempton Park hosts the Close Brothers Handicap Chase and in early September the course stages the September Stakes 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.

Landscape

Upper tiers of the grandstand and boxes have views toward Sandown Park's Esher and Oxshott ridge and the North Downs range of hills. Woodland and parkland forms the backdrop from the grandstand.

Lake

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. [3]

Racecourse details

Notable races

MonthDOWRace NameTypeGradeDistanceAge/Sex
JanuarySaturday Lanzarote Hurdle HurdleHandicap2m 5f 4yo +
JanuarySaturday Silviniaco Conti Chase ChaseGrade 22m 4f 110y5yo +
FebruarySaturday Close Brothers Handicap Chase ChaseGrade 33m 5yo +
FebruarySaturday Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4yo only
FebruarySaturday Pendil Novices' Chase ChaseGrade 22m 4f 110y5yo +
FebruarySaturday Dovecote Novices' Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4yo +
Mar / AprSaturday Magnolia Stakes A W FlatListed1m 2f 4yo +
Mar / AprSaturday Rosebery Stakes A W FlatHandicap1m 3f 4yo +
Mar / AprSaturday Easter Stakes A W FlatConditions1m 3yo only
AprilSaturday Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes A W FlatConditions1m 4yo+ f
SeptemberSaturday Sirenia Stakes A W FlatGroup 36f 2yo only
SeptemberSaturday September Stakes A W FlatGroup 31m 4f 3yo +
OctoberSunday Matchbook Betting Exchange Novices' Hurdle HurdleListed2m 4yo +
OctoberSunday Matchbook VIP Hurdle HurdleListed2m 4yo +
NovemberWednesday Floodlit Stakes A W FlatListed1m 4f 3yo +
NovemberMonday Kempton Mares' Hurdle HurdleListed3m 110y4yo + m
December26th King George VI Chase ChaseGrade 13m 4yo +
December26th Kauto Star Novices' Chase ChaseGrade 13m 4yo +
December26th Christmas Hurdle HurdleGrade 12m 4yo +
December27th Wayward Lad Novices' Chase ChaseGrade 22m 4yo +
December27th Desert Orchid Chase ChaseGrade 22m 4yo +
Other races

Transport

The racecourse has a purpose-built railway station, on the London Waterloo to Shepperton line.

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.

The A308 passes by the racecourse and so does the A316 that becomes the M3 motorway. Free parking is available for visitors.

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References

  1. "Kempton Park racecourse faces closure to make way for 3,000 homes". BBC News. BBC. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  2. "Kempton to be closed for housing". sportinglife.com. Sporting Life. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  3. Racing Post Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine "Kempton drama as horse plunges into lake". Turia Tellwright, 14 January 2009

Coordinates: 51°25′7″N0°23′53″W / 51.41861°N 0.39806°W / 51.41861; -0.39806