Irish Night at Kempton Park 16/08/17

Yesterday, Wednesday 16th August 2017, was my experience to explore what Kempton Park had to offer. Never having attended Kempton before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Getting there couldn’t have been easier (even in the London rush hour traffic). From exiting the a3, a short trip past Esher, down to Hampton Court & passing along the river Thames, I soon found myself driving into the grounds of the racecourse.

Kempton is very unique in its own right when compared to its two closest London neighbours - Epsom & Sandown. A nice addition which separates it from its two sister courses is the well maintained grass verge, stretched along the finishing line. Multiple benches were laid along the verge which on a day like yesterday, with the sun beaming down, was ideal for nursing your drink, reading the race card in preparation to pick your next winners!

And that’s exactly what I done. It must be noted that in these smaller race meets, the favourites tend to do much better than in the larger ones i.e Royal Ascot, Cheltenham etc… Maybe it’s just my own experience, but it certainly seems to work for me.

For whatever reason I didn’t listen to my own advice on backing the favourites in these smaller meets for the first race. Don’t ask me why, I just had a hunch. And my hunch was right. 8/1 shot Mountain Peak defied odds and claimed victory! Cracking start.

“That was my long shot of the day over and done with, it won’t come in again”, I thought to myself. As such, I proceeded to do what I do best. Backing the favourites.

And it paid off! The favourites came in on the second third and fourth. Quids in!! Now being confident and perhaps slightly over reading the Racing Post tips, I stupidly backed outsiders for the corresponding 3. Oh, what a mistake. As I’m sure you can already tell these tips were about as useful as a waterproof towel.

Drowning my sorrows (or in this case eating), I thought it was only best to treat myself to some food. Kempton has an excellent selection of food stools to choose from. The independent food stools which set up shop outside the parade ring sell some very tempting food. However, I ended up going for the mushroom pizza. Great choice.

Bit on the crispy side as you can tell

Bit on the crispy side as you can tell

However, racing isn’t all about the betting side of things. Yes that is a massive part of the fun, but it’s also about more than that. A love for the horses... Appreciating the work jockeys have to put in to maintain their weight… Reading up on the trainer.. I could carry on all day.

Some fantastic entertainment in between the races featured a live Irish band performance. Suitability playing in the Guinness bar, at the far end of the main hall, this was great entertainment to pass the time in between the races. As I’m sure you can imagine, the later the evening went on, the number of people getting up dancing grew larger.

However, this was just a sign of this to come. It was time for the main evening's entertainment. Celtic Journey, an Irish folk band, rocked the tunes overlooking the parade ring. A great evening, capped off by a great performance.

Be this my first experience of Kempton and it was certainly a pleasant one at that. A warm evening with bags of entertainment weaved in where can (oh yeah, and the racing was pretty decent as well I suppose). Kempton, I will certainly be back.

Sam Hitchmough