Kempton Park Racecourse, Kempton Park Races, Kempton Races, Kempton King George, Kempton's Winter Festival

Quick Guide to the ‘King George’ at Kempton’s Winter Festival

Kempton’s Winter Festival: It’s the must-see British sporting occasion at Christmas time and tickets for the 32Red Winter Festival at Kempton Park Racecourse on Boxing Day and Wednesday 27th December are always in demand.

Racing fans still recall Kauto Star’s historic fifth win in the King George VI Chase, the feature race of the festival, but there are 11 other top quality jump races over two days to savour as well.

Boxing Day is an absolute treat for top quality racing with three Grade 1 races including the Christmas Hurdle, Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and the 32Red King George VI Steeple Chase. Won in 2016 by Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack, the race is steeped in history and has an impressive list of previous champions with the likes of Arkle, Desert Orchid and – and of course five-time winner Kauto Star – taking their place on the roll of honour.

Day two of the 32Red Winter Festival offers a six race card to savour. Highlights include the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novice’s Steeple Chase and the Desert Orchid Chase which has offered some spectacular winners over the past few years including Sire de Grugy, Sprinter Sacre and Special Tiara.

Day two is also geared towards the little ones in the family with  a host of free entertainment including a festive pantomime, fairground rides, face painting and music.

About the ‘King George’

Not to be confused with the ‘King George’ at Ascot (the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a Flat race), the King George VI Chase at Kempton is a Grade 1 race over 3 miles including 18 fences, for horses aged four years or older.

First run in February 1937, it was named in honour of the new British monarch, King George VI. It was only run twice before World War II, with each running being contested by four horses. The winner of the inaugural event, Southern Hero, remains the race’s oldest ever winner. The event returned in 1947 on a new date – Boxing Day. 

The King George VI Chase is second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in prestige, and is the highlight of Boxing Day for millions watching on TV or at Kempton Park Racecourse itself.

Fourteen horses have won it more than once, including Desert Orchid who won it four times and Kauto Star who won it five times.

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