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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Shock over Kempton

Heartbreak City is the current favourite for the Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 22. Pic: racingpost.com
Heartbreak City is the current favourite for the Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 22. Pic: racingpost.com

Surprising news emerged yesterday that Kempton Park is likely to finish racing in 2021 and be bulldozed to make way for a housing development.

The home of the King George VI Chase has been struggling for attendances outside of its flagship meetings and The Jockey Club are now planning to move the King George VI to Sandown Park while also exploring the possibility of moving Kempton's all-weather fixtures to a new venue, possibly Newmarket.

With the proposed closure of one track on the outskirts of London, The Jockey Club have put forward a revamp of Sandown to make it a major draw for people in the London area.

A Jockey Club statement which revealed the news said: "We will work with the British Horseracing Authority to seek to run some races, including the King George VI Chase, at Sandown Park. We plan to transform Sandown Park's facilities, utilise the latest advances in track technology and help bring a focus on it as London's premier dual-code racecourse, right on the doorstep of millions of people, unlocking what we see as its great potential.

"Furthermore, we will look to boost jump racing from its grassroots to the top-end in consultation with horsemen and the wider industry."

Blank

Meanwhile, after another blank midweek for Irish racing, Punchestown will stage the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Hurdle on Saturday.

A total of 15 entries were received for the race which has a fairly impressive roll of honour, including two recent Supreme Novices' Hurdle winners Vautour and Douvan.

Their trainer, Willie Mullins, also won the race last year with Min and has entered five horses in a bid to make it five consecutive victories in the Grade Two hurdle.

Entries were also revealed yesterday for the Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 22.

Tony Martin's Emirates Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City is the 3/1 clear favourite with the sponsors for the prestigious €100,000 contest.

Martin expects to be well represented in the race that both he and Willie Mullins have seven entries in.

Gordon Elliott's Aintree Grand National hopeful Empire Of Dirt heads the weights for the Leopardstown Chase on the same card.

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