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Kempton Christmas Meeting: All you need to know

The two-day Christmas Festival at Kempton Park is the jewel in Britain's festive racing crown, with 12 top-quality races taking place immediately after Christmas Day.

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The event holds some of the most significant races in the National Hunt calendar, including the Grade 1 Boxing Day showpiece, the King George VI Chase, as well as the Christmas Hurdle and the Desert Orchid Chase.

When is the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

The Kempton Christmas Meeting takes place over the two days immediately after the big day, Boxing Day and 27th December. This year, that means Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th December.

Where is the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

The action takes place at Kempton Park racecourse in Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex. The track is just 16 miles south-west of Trafalgar Square and is the closest to Central London.

Kempton hosts all-weather racing all year round and National Hunt action through the winter into spring.

The Christmas Meeting is by far their biggest attraction. The jumps track is right-handed and relatively flat, while the fences are considered easier than the likes of Cheltenham.

It can be viewed as speedier track - though on soft ground it offers a good stamina test.

Where can I watch the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

All the festive race from Britain and Ireland is available to watch via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform. Kempton's two-day meeting will also be showcased on ITV Racing on both days (selected races only), while Racing TV will broadcast every race from the meeting.

What is the big race at the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

The Grade 1 King George VI Chase (due off at 3.05 on Boxing Day) is the highlight. Run over three-miles, it's the second-most prestigious staying chase in Britain after the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Viewed as the mid-winter highlight of the National Hunt season, the King George attracts the best of British and often some travellers from Ireland.

Which horses have won the King George VI Chase?

Desert Orchid is the horse most synonymous with Kempton and this race, the grey winning in 1986 before a hat-trick of wins from 1988-1990. 'Dessie' is immortalised with a statue at Kempton.

He is, though, no longer the record holder, as the brilliant Kauto Star made the race his own with four wins from 2006 onwards for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh, before bringing down the house when winning again in 2011 aged 11 as he beat defending champion Long Run.

Mill House (1963) and Arkle (1965) were King George winners while Wayward Lad won three in the 1980s.

Other dual winners include One Man, See More Business, Kicking King, Long Run, Silviniaco Conti and Clan Des Obeaux, while few winners were more popular than Cue Card in 2015 as he flew home from the last to thwart Vautour in the final stride for Colin Tizzard and Paddy Brennan.

Who is favourite for the King George VI Chase this year?

Trainer Paul Nicholls has won more King George's than anyone (12) and his Bravemansgame is 11/10 for the latest instalment following his impressive win in the bet365 Charlie Hall at Wetherby in October.

His stablemate Hitman is 10/3 while L'homme Presse is 7/2 for Venetia Williams and Irish hopes of back-to-back wins in the race are potentially carried by 5/1 Envoi Allen for Henry De Bromhead.

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What are the other big races at the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

On Boxing Day there are a superb three Grade 1s on the card. The Christmas Hurdle (due off 1.55) is a two-mile event for the best hurdlers and is a key Champion Hurdle trial for Cheltenham in March.

There have been eight two-time winners of the Christmas Hurdle, including Lanzarote, Harchibald, Binocular, Faugheen and Epatante. Trainer Nicky Henderson has won the race ten times, more than anyone else, and his rising superstar Constitution Hill is expected to line-up this year.

He is already 4/7 to win the Champion Hurdle in March.

The Kauto Star Novices' Chase is run over the same course and distance as the King George and has been named after the record-breaking winner of that contest. It is scheduled to be run at 1.20 on 26th December this year.

What are the highlights on day two of the Kempton Christmas Meeting?

Day two of the Festival is Desert Orchid Chase Day - named after the charismatic grey who made Kempton Park his own.

The day is packed full of quality racing including a quality Mares' Handicap Hurdle over three-miles, the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase and, of course, the Desert Orchid Chase itself.

Which horses have won the Desert Orchid Chase?

The race was inaugurated in 2006 and Alan King's 2007 Champion Chaser Voy Por Ustedes won the first two renewals.

It already has a rich tradition in being won by winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, including Finian's Rainbow, Sire De Grugy, Special Tiara, Sprinter Sacre, Politologue and Altior.

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