The Kempton Park Christmas Festival (26th-27th December 2021) is the jewel in the Kempton Park crown, boasting 12 top quality races over two days and a staple of the festive racing calendar. Here, The Wine Tipster shares his favourite racing moments from the Kempton Christmas archive, and some unmissable wine to accompany the Christmas weekend. Cheers!
Day one is all about The King George VI Chase (3:05) which showcases some incredible talent and is a chance to make horse racing history. It is synonymous with some of the most famous names in racing with Arkle, Pendil, Wayward Lad and Best Mate among its winners. In 2020, history was made in the King George VI Chase with Frodon winning, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by the first female rider to win the race: Bryony Frost.
Also featured on Friday are the Grade 1 races the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (1:55) and the Christmas Hurdle (2:30). The former is named after the great Kauto Star who won the King George a record-breaking 5 times and was one of the most successful steeplechasers of his era.
Day two of the Festival is named in honour of Desert Orchid (Dessie) who won the King George an impressive 4 times and ran his last race at Kempton before retiring. His ashes are buried close to his memorial statue overlooking the parade ring at Kempton Park.
The Monday is packed full of quality racing including the Grade 2 (1:20) Wayward Lad Novices’ Steeple Chase, the (1:55) Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race, and, of course, the (2:30) Desert Orchid Chase. In 2020, Dan Skelton trained Nube Negra to became only the second horse to beat Altior in winning the Desert Orchid Chase.
Whether you are at Kempton or at home for The Christmas Festival, The Wine Tipster has an array of wine and food tips to accompany this first class race meeting.
If you are looking for a tipple or two alongside the races, a glass of Ruggeri Argeo Prosecco DOC Brut is a vibrant and refreshing Prosecco with citrus fruit flavours and lovely crisp acidity. It’s a classic, stylish Prosecco, from this highly regarded producer. Great as an aperitif, or with fish dishes, it’s vegan friendly and abv 11%. Available from The Great Wine Co. (£11.75).
For a classy white for Christmas at Kempton, the Mâcon-Lugny Le Crays Joseph Drouhin 2020, Burgundy, France is the perfect bottle. Maison Joseph Drouhin have been producing a fantastic array of Burgundy wines for over 140 years, with the fourth generation now at the helm. This Chardonnay is tremendous value, lovely to have on its own or with fish dishes, it’s vegan friendly and abv 13%. Available from The Great Wine Co. (£18.85).
Top red for the weekend has to be the Ken Forrester Reserve Merlot 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa (abv 14%). Ken Forrester made his first wines in 1994 and has built an international reputation for the range of wines he produces. He is renowned for his Grade 1 Chenin Blancs and there are excellent reds too, including his Reserve Merlot which is medium bodied with intense cherry fruit, herbal notes and friendly tannins. Only available at The Jockey Club Racecourse so do try if you are at Kempton, however, check out the great range of Ken Forrester wines at The Great Wine Co. Perfect for a range of dishes at Christmas time.
If you are at Kempton, please be aware of the COVID safety guidance to keep everyone safe this Christmas:
The Wine Tipster hopes that you have wonderful Christmas weekend and lots of wins! Look out for his Unibet Blog for tips and follow him on social media for updates. For blogs straight into your inbox, subscribe here.
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