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King George VI Chase at Kempton rescheduled for January

Kempton Park on 23 December
Kempton officials were forced to call Monday's meeting off

The King George VI Chase at Kempton has been rescheduled for Saturday 15 January after the attempt to stage it on Monday fell victim to the weather.

Kauto Star was due to bid for a fifth win in the race, which was initially set to be run on Boxing Day before being delayed for 24 hours.

A Boxing Day inspection forced the postponement of the rescheduled card.

As well as the King George, the Christmas Hurdle will also be held on the same date.

Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said of the decision to abandon plans to stage the race on Monday: "We've done everything we can but the forecast has gone against us."

Kempton Park's managing director Amy Starkey added: "We are naturally bitterly disappointed to have lost the Winter Festival to the severe winter weather.

"Everyone at the racecourse did all that they could to get racing on but the elements defeated us.

"However, we - and all of our partners within racing - are delighted that the two major races will be held on Lanzarote Hurdle day.

"Though it has not taken place at Christmas as we expected, the whole of racing can now start looking forward once again to Kauto Star's bid to win a record-breaking fifth King George VI Chase."

The frost from Saturday night and right into Sunday was more severe than forecast and left Clifford with no alternative but to call off Monday's scheduled meeting and follow the fate of Sunday's Boxing Day card.


He stated: "The temperature got down to -7C overnight, a degree worse than we had been forecast. However, whereas we were forecast 1C and 2C during Sunday, it hasn't got above -2C and was still -5C in the middle of the morning.

"Not only are the protective covers still frozen to the grass, there is now frost in the ground because of the longevity of these frosts.

"We would need daytime temperatures on Monday to be above zero quite early in order for the covers to be removed in time for the 1150 GMT start but that just isn't going to happen.

"There is no chance of the frost coming out of the ground on Monday. Milder temperatures are not arriving in time, so even a contingency of considering racing on Tuesday isn't possible.

"Everyone is so disappointed because so many people were looking forward to the two-day festival.

"The racecourse management will now work on how we reschedule one or more of the principal races."

Champion jockey Tony McCoy had been due to ride Kauto Star in the race after injury ruled out Noel Fehily.

It would have been the first time that the BBC Sports Personality of the Year would have ridden the two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in a race.

Ruby Walsh, who is currently out injured, was on board the 10-year-old for all four of his previous King George wins.

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see also
High five for Kauto Star
25 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy rides favourite Kauto Star
24 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy secures double at Kempton
21 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy wins BBC Sports Personality
19 Dec 10 |  Sport Homepage
The Kauto Star story
29 Oct 12 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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