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KEMPTON (ALL WEATHER)
Kempton Park is a Jockey Club course situated in Sunbury-on-Thames, 16 miles from the centre of London. There has been racing on the site since 1878 but the track underwent a major change in 2005 when the Turf course, which staged Flat racing, was replaced by Polytrack and the course was floodlit. The course now stages Flat racing year-round and frequently holds meetings on evenings, usually Wednesdays or Thursdays. Several traditional races were lost in the rebuild, including the once-valuable Jubilee Handicap, but others were switched to the artificial surface including the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes and September Stakes. The Queen’s Prize is a competitive early-season race for stayers and four-year-olds boast an impressive recent record. Most winners since the race was switched to the Polytrack have also had a recent run.
The course is right-handed and is either a mile or 1m2f in circumference, depending on whether the inner or outer bend is used. Low numbers generally have an advantage in races up to a mile, especially in big fields, though the course does widen over 2f from the finish which can benefit hold-up horses.
Kempton is on the A308 between Sunbury and Hampton Court, one mile from Junction 1 of the M3 and eight miles from Junction 12 of the M25. The course has its own station which has a direct service to London Waterloo on racedays.
Ralph Beckett and Saeed Bin Suroor’s runners are the one to follow on the Polytrack, though James Fanshawe’s older horses have also built up a decent strike rate and usually start at backable odds.
KEMPTON (NATIONAL HUNT)
Right-handed Kempton has a relatively sharp hurdle and chase track and both favour horses that can lie up with a strong pace. The fences on the chase course can be tricky but are by no means as big as others elsewhere. Useful converts from the Flat or those with good form in bumpers are often prominent in hurdle races.
The Boxing Day meeting at Kempton is the highlight of its national hunt season, with the Christmas Hurdle and King George VI Chase taking place. The Grade 1 Feltham Novices’ Chase is another mid-season championship staged over the Festive period. Later in the season, the Racing Plus Chase is always an eagerly-awaited handicap and run on the same card as the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase, normally a good trial for Cheltenham. More and more, the Racing Plus Chase is a race in which the classier horses dominate. Only two winners in the last 10 years have carried less than 11st and one of those carried 10st13lb. Whatever Richard Johnson decides to ride should also go on the short-list. He has been on the winner five times since the turn of the century and retainer Philip Hobbs has trained the winner on four separate occasions.
Nicky Henderson and Emma Lavelle’s runners generally do well and Tom George and Paul Webber’s chasers have a better strike-rate than most.
Wednesday 18th January Results
Tuesday 17th January Results
Saturday 14th January Results
Wednesday 11th January Results