Kempton Park Racecourse to close as part of Jockey Club's £500m plans

 
Bill Esdaile
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Kempton Races
The closure of Kempton would see the King George VI Chase moved to nearby Sandown (Source: Getty)

Kempton Park Racecourse, home of the King George VI Chase, looks set to be sold off for housing as part of a Jockey Club plan to re-invest £500m back into British racing over the next decade.

The 300-acre estate has been submitted for redevelopment consideration with any future housing works beginning in 2021 at the earliest.

This follows Spelthorne Borough Council’s recent call for sites to address unmet local housing needs and a decision to undertake a review of its green belt boundaries.

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The Jockey Club intends for Sandown Park, less than six miles from Kempton, to receive major investment to unlock its potential as London’s premier dual-code racecourse.

Under the new plans, Sandown will also play host to the historic King George VI Chase traditionally run on Boxing Day at the Sunbury venue.

Roger Weatherby, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, admitted that it had been a tough decision to make. He said:

“The Jockey Club is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British Racing.

“One of the ways we want to live up to that is through a series of projects that offer benefits all around the country and collectively add up to us contributing more than half a billion pounds to the sport over the next decade from its grassroots to top level.

“We must show leadership with the assets we have and, where merited, take tough decisions to help our sport to keep moving forwards.”

The Jockey Club’s plans also include the creation of a new floodlit all-weather racecourse, with Newmarket looking the most likely location at this early stage.

It also aims to support vital aspects of the sport, including contributing record prize money, staging more events and boosting their good causes work.

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