Whether you are a casual follower of racing or regard yourself as an enthusiast, you will no doubt have heard of the King George VI Chase; a race held every year in the UK. This is a prolific horse racing event that takes place every Boxing Day (December 26th) at the acclaimed Kempton Park Racecourse situated in the stunning surroundings of Surrey, England. Making up part of the Kempton Park Racecourse Christmas Festival, the race is followed, watched and bet on by hundreds and thousands of individuals across not only the UK but the world. This is due to its ability to attract the industry's leading racehorses, jockeys, trainers and owners, being a true display of UK horse racing talent.
The race itself is categorised as a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase and is run over 3 miles (4,828 metres). It can be entered by horses that are at least 4 years of age, with entrants required to tackle the gruelling 3-mile track whilst clearing eighteen fences throughout the race.
The King George VI Chase was established in 1937, named after the new British monarch, King George VI, who held the throne from December 1936 until he died in 1952. Paying homage to the King, the race has certainly adopted a regal feel to it, regarded as the second most prestigious chase in England! The first is of course the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
While a fixture that is eagerly awaited year on year, there have been a few hiccups in the race's schedule. During World War 2, Kempton Park was closed for racing as it was being used as a prisoner-of-war camp. The race was also cancelled in 1961 and 1962 due to severe frost. The King George VI Chase was again abandoned in 1967 due to restrictions surrounding foot-and-mouth. However, in recent years, aside from a few weather-related issues, the race has run smoothly, having given us some iconic horse racing moments!
One of the most notable winners of the race is Kauto Star, who won the race in 2016, 2017, 2008 and 2009 saddled by the one and only Ruby Walsh.
More recent winners of the King George VI Chase include Long Run (2012), Silviniaco Conti (2013, 2014), Cue Card (2015), Thistlecrack (2016), Might Bite (2017), Clan des Obeaux (2018, 2019) and Frodon (2020).
Past Winners | King George