From Arkle to Kauto Star - five great moments in the history of Kempton
Tuesday 10 January 2017
Kempton has seen many memorable moments since it opened its gates to racing in 1878. We select five of the most famous races at the Sunbury course.
ARKLE (1966 King George VI Chase)
The best ever steeplechaser ran just the twice at Kempton and after easily landing the prohibitive odds of 1-7 in 1965, was expected to follow-up the following winter. Sadly, he was injured during the race which resulted in a shock defeat to Dormant. Amazingly, Tom Dreaper's superstar was in the lead until the closing stages. The crowd was in a state of disbelief and it was only later the truth emerged that Arkle had fractured the main bone of his off-fore hoof. The Irish legend never raced again.
DAWN RUN (1983 Christmas Hurdle)
Dawn Run is one of the many top-class hurdlers to have taken in Kempton on their way to Champion Hurdle glory. It was felt the sharp track would not suit the Irish mare, but she proved her critics wrong with a battling display to defeat Gaye Brief. The latter had a pacemaker in Migrator, but that was not enough to shake off Dawn Run, who put it up to Gaye Brief over the last two flights and got the verdict by a neck after an enthralling duel.
DESERT ORCHID (1990 King George VI Chase)
The popular grey was a standing dish in this winter warmer of a race and made it virtually his own with victories in 1986 and from 1988 to 1990. His exuberant style of jumping endeared him to the racing public and he produced a typically Dessie-style performance. Jumping boldly, he was left in the lead when Sabin Du Loir fell at the sixth fence from the finish. From then on, it was plain sailing and David Elsworth's ace went on to score by 12 lengths from Toby Tobias in the hands of Richard Dunwoody.
GRUNDY (1974 Sirenia Stakes)
Grundy is best remembered for his epic battle with Bustino in the 1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes at Ascot in July 1975, but he graced Kempton's turf course as part of his education as a two-year-old. Peter Walwyn's flashy chestnut had won nicely on his debut in July and followed up a month later with a convincing win against decent opposition in the Sirenia. With this under his belt he went on to be champion two-year-old with wins in the Champagne and Dewhurst Stakes.
KAUTO STAR (2011 King George VI Chase)
Kauto Star managed to surpass Desert Orchid's great achievement by going one better with a fifth win in the Christmas showpiece. Successful from 2006-2009, it looked like Paul Nicholls' crackerjack performer was going to have to settle for just equalling the grey after he had been beaten by Long Run the following season. But he came back to take his revenge and raise the roof in front of a 22,000-strong crowd with a telling victory just days short of his 12th birthday.