Located just 16 miles from Trafalgar Square, Kempton Racecourse is the nearest racecourse to London and is easily accessible by car and train. The course has staged racing since the late 19th century, and currently stages flat-racing on its all-weather track and jumps racing on its turf track.
Kempton Racecourse is most famous for staging the King George VI Chase, a race won five-times by Kauto Star and four-times by Desert Orchid. However, it also stages lots of other famous races such as the Christmas Hurdle, Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, and the Betdaq Handicap Chase. Meanwhile, one of Kempton’s most famous flat races is the Group 3 September Stakes, which was won by multiple Group 1 winner Enable in 2018.
Course Type: Jumps and All-Weather Flat
Current Owner: Jockey Club Racecourses
The racecourses at Kempton Park are all right-handed and flat. The all-weather flat course is oval-shaped and has a polytrack surface. The course has two loops. Races run over ten, nine, and five furlongs are run on the inner circuit. This is a sharp course with a home straight measuring slightly under two furlongs. The outer course has more of a sweeping bend into a longer home straight that measures around three furlongs. A short run to the first-bend over five and six furlongs often means a low draw and a fast start is required but, if too many horses try to gain an early pitch, this can lead to too strong an early pace, meaning front-runners are often run out of it late on by a horse coming from behind.
The jumps course is triangular and flat and is considered one of the fairest courses in the United Kingdom. The fences aren’t the stiffest but, as races are generally run at a decent pace, they will still catch plenty of dodgy jumpers out. The ground can make a massive difference. When it is good or better it tends to favour horses with plenty of speed. The ability to travel at speed is still a big asset when the ground is soft, but stamina kicks in up the home straight, meaning dubious stayers don’t tend to get home.
The Christmas Meeting is the flagship event of Kempton’s annual racing fixture list, with the King George VI Chase the highlight. This grade 1 chase is run over three miles and has a role of honour that is the envy of every racecourse. Winner of the King George include Cottage Rake, Mill House, Arkle, Pendil, Captain Christie, Gay Spartan, Silver Buck, Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid, The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, First Gold, Kicking King, Kauto Star, Long Run, Silviniaco Conti, and Cue Card.
The second biggest race at the Kempton’s Christmas Meeting is the Christmas Hurdle. Run over two miles, it is another race with a stunning list of winners that includes Birds Nest, Dawn Run, Kribensis, Intersky Falcon, Harchibald, Binocular, My Tent Or Your, Faugheen, Yanworth, and Buveur D’Air. Other notable races at the Christmas Meeting include the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, which was renamed to commemorate the five-time winner of the King George. There’s also the Desert Orchid Novices’ Chase, a race that has been won by several Queen Mother Champion Chase winners in recent seasons, such as Voy Por Ustedes, Finian’s Rainbow, Sprinter Sacre, Sire de Grugy, and Special Tiara.
Other notable National Hunt Races at Kemton Park include the Lanzarote handicap hurdle, the Betdaq Handicap Chase, the Adonis Juvenile Novice’s Hurdle, the Pendil Novices’ Chase, and the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle.
Meanwhile, notable flat races include the Magnolia Stakes, the Roseberry Stakes, the Easter Stakes, the Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes, the Sirensis Stakes, the September Stakes, and the Floodlit Stakes.
Kempton doesn’t operate a strict dress code, but smart attire is always encouraged with a slogan that says, “Racing doesn’t happen every day, so why not treat your visit as a special occasion?”
If attending some of the most prestigious enclosures or hospitality areas on the biggest racing days, it’s a good idea to check any dress stipulations there may be. However, smart is always a safe bet.
Kempton also encourages racegoers to consider the weather forecast. It’s common to spend a lot of time outdoors at Kempton so, whether you’re coming in summer or in winter, come prepared.
Fancy dress is also allowed, though people wearing any outfits that may cause to other racegoers may be declined entry.
When the Prince of Wales announced his intention to attend a meeting at Kempton Racecourse in 1889, Kempton managed to construct a Royal Box in just three weeks.
In 1932, a fire caused major damage to the many areas of Kempton Racecourse including the Tattersalls Bar, Member’s Stand, and the restaurant.
Address and Contact Details
Kempton Park, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex TW16 5AQ
Free Tips for Kempton
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