This course is located within the London suburb of Sunbury, within Surrey County, England. It is a dual-race type track owned by the Jockey Club Racecourses, with racing events televised on Racing UK.


The course has been operational since 1878, when businessman S. H. Hyde opened its doors following a six-year development. It underwent a brief closure for refurbishment in 2005, and was re-opened he following year with a new synthetic all-weather track in place.

In 1889, an announcement that the Prince of Wales would visit Kempton led to the construction of a Royal Box within three weeks.

Much damage was done to sections of the course by a fire in 1932, but racing continued as repairs were done. The World Wars led to closures, as Kempton was used as a depot for transiting military weapons in the first and as accommodation place for prisoners of war during the second.

The course

The course sits on 210 acres of flat grassland, dotted by trees all around and two lakes within its area. It is relatively gentle in gradient, and has tracks for both flat and National Hunt racing. The flat track is synthetic since the 2006, when use of the famous Jubilee Track was discontinued.


The King George VI Chase held on Boxing Day is the track’s most famous event. The Grade 1 National Hunt race attracts viewers such that the Grandstand is almost filled to capacity. The Bet Bright Chase, Desert Orchid Chase and the Sirenia Stakes are other notable events on the course.


Jockey Club Racecourses announced earlier in 2017 that they plan to close the racecourse to pave way for development of the land into around 3,000 homes. The plan is to be carried out in partnership with Redrow Homes, in what the owners say is a bid to raise money to develop horse racing at other courses they manage. If the plan goes through, Kempton will not be used for racing beyond 2021.

Mullins v Nicholls: Which horses are likely to triumph?

Paul Nicholls is aiming to cement his dominance over the British National Hunt scene by winning an 11th champion trainer title in 13 years this season. He was usurped by Nicky Henderson last season, but is currently leading the way this time around and looks a good bet to pull it off.


Over in Ireland, Willie Mullins is even more dominant as he has been named champion trainer in his homeland for the past decade. The real fun comes when Mullins heads over the Irish Sea to pit his wits against Nicholls in the big races, and he has enjoyed plenty of success. In 2015/16 he came within a whisker of becoming the first Irish-based trainer to win the British champion trainer title since Vincent O’Brien in the 1950s, only to lose out to Nicholls on the final day of the season at Sandown.


Their rivalry at big meetings like Cheltenham has captured the public’s imagination for years and it will be no different this season. Between them they have some of the most exciting horses of the season and we have picked out the leading lights to follow:



Nicholls singled out Politologue when asked about his stable’s best chances of success this season and it is easy to see why. He put in several commanding performances to win novices’ chases and was leading the brilliant San Benedento in the G1 Maghull at Aintree in April, only to stumble after jumping the last to hand victory to his stablemate. He will start his autumn campaign at the Haldon Gold Cup and will surely spark a lot of interest in the Sporting Index spreads due to his considerable reputation.



Mullins’ bay gelding was the star performer last season as he extended a superb 13-race winning streak with a number of victories over triple Gold Cup winner Sizing John. He destroyed all and sundry and looked unbeatable, only to break his pelvis and finish seventh in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He has since been recovering, but Mullins is positive about his fitness and will reintroduce him to competitive action this winter, while Ruby Walsh is upbeat about his ability to bounce back. Once he gets into his stride, Douvan is a force to be reckoned with and if he returns to his best he will be invincible.


Benie Des Dieux

Mullins and Rich Ricci look to have another in a long line of excellent mares on their hands in Benie Des Dieux, who put in a stunning performance to claim the Closutton at Limerick on her debut. It was not the most competitive of races, but she travelled extremely well and looks a natural chaser.

San Benedento

The six-year-old chestnut gelding won four out of five races in 2017, including the Group 1 Maghull, and did well to hold onto Altior’s coattails in the Celebration Chase at Sandown. Altior is the best in the business over two miles, so to have stayed with him is a real achievement and if San Benedento can kick on Nicholls will have a real talent on his hands.

Coquin Mans

Mullins snapped up the son of Fragrant Mix after he won a maiden hurdle in France and he has since won all three of his contests. The first came at Limerick in December 2016, where he did well to hold off the charge of Surf Instructor and win by a head. He stepped up in trip to three miles at Wexford this summer as Walsh guided him to a 2 3/4 lengths win over Amaulino. In his last race, at Cork, he gave weight to all his competitors and thrashed the lot, finishing eight lengths clear of Jaime Sommers. Sterner tests await, but Coquin has strong breeding and fantastic potential.


Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom has seen his beloved team reach the Premier League this season, but his sporting success does not end there. He also owns Penhill, a superb dual-purpose horse that has made a splash in both the jumps and flats. Trained by Mullins, Penhill romped to victory in the hugely prestigious Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and looks to have a great future ahead of him. Mullins guided Wicklow Brave to phenomenal success in both disciplines and Penhill could follow in those giant footsteps.


This horse is a real giant and seems built for three mile trips and larger obstacles, so he should show his true ability this season. He is a 139 rated novice hurdler and has performed creditably thus far, but this should be the year when Nicholls gets the best out of him and spurs him on to success at his preferred trip. 


Like San Bernedeto, Frodon has bags of experience and has always been there or thereabouts in all contests as he has stepped up in class. He has won seven of 14 career starts for Nicholls and has the ability to get much better, but he will find it difficult to deal with heavier weights this season.

Augusta Kate

Mullins’ mare draws an eclectic and famous group of owners: former England striker Alan Shearer, golfer Lee Westwood and TV stars Ant & Dec among others. They are likely to be well-compensated for their investment as she looks a terrific prospect. She has the pedigree – Yeats and Feathard Lady – to be a star and she blitzed the field on her bumper debut at Listowel. Expect to see her at Cheltenham, where she will be a threat to all comers.


Author bio

Martin Green is an experienced tipster and horseracing correspondent.




kelsoKelso racecourse is located in the market town by the same name within Roxburghshire County, Scotland. It is a National Hunt course owned by Kelso Races Ltd, with events televised on Racing UK.



Racing at Kelso was first recorded in 1734, when it set out as a site for flat racing. The race type continued until 1888, when the United Border Hunt became the first jump race to be introduced at the course. Flat racing ceased in the same period, and it has remained a jump races course to date.

In the course’s early days, races were moved to Balakelaw, but the decision proved unpopular as the new venue was far from town and also lacked grandstands. The result was a plunge in the number of racegoers, and a resultant dip in profits. The races were thus moved back to Berrymoss, and the race going trend shot up again, and has at this point grown into a culture.

The course

Kelso is considered the Scottish home of National Hunt races. It is a peculiarly shaped course, forming a trapezium shape on the circuit, which has a straight starting run hanging out like a human arm. It is a left handed course whose two tracks consist of sharp bends that give races a start-stop kind of dash, requiring high levels of skill and concentration from the jockeys.

It is widely regarded as the friendliest course in Britain, and has scooped the Best Small Racecourse award of the Racegoers Club numerous times.

Road access is the easiest way to get to Kelso, seeing as the closes railway station is Berwick, 22 miles away.


It hosts thirteen fixtures in a season, between January and May. January, April and the final month of May carry the bulk of racing fixtures.

Morebattle Hurdle, Premier Kelso Hurdle and the King’s Own Challenge Cup are the most notable races run at Kelso. Trainers use races at in the first two months of the year to prepare for the Aintree National Hunt.