- Kempton’s popular Boxing Day meeting didn’t disappoint as punters saw a thrilling King George VI Chase
- ANDY HOOPER was at the historic race meet to watch the unlikely hero come from the back to claim victory
- DOMINIC KING: £800 horse pulls off a miracle as Hewick seizes on Shishkin’s error to win King George VI
Welcome back to the Soul of Sport, as Mail Sport’s ANDY HOOPER travelled to Kempton’s Boxing Day meeting for a dramatic King George VI Chase.
The race has long been synonymous with the festive season, but Tuesday’s iteration ranks highly for drama and against-the-odds storytelling as the unfancied £800 hero Hewick came from the back to storm to victory.
It was set to be a battle between Shishkin, favourite Allaho, and last year’s winner Bravemansgame and they led the six runners into the final two fences.
The well-fancied trio were neck and neck until Shishkin dramatically fell after the final fence, leaving Allaho and Bravemansgame to fight it out.
But Hewick wasn’t done. The eight-year-old flew down the outside to claim a shock and memorable win.
Elsewhere, Il Est Francais won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and the heavy favourite Constitution Hill claimed the Christmas Hurdle in the meeting’s two other Grade One races.
Hooper was at Kempton on Tuesday to capture the day’s best moments on the course and off it, and soak up the festive atmosphere.
Long-shot Hewick (left) at one stage had odds of 549-1 in running looked unlikely to get the better of favourite Allaho (right)
Punters turned out in droves at the iconic race meeting on Boxing Day, with some making a sartorial nod to the festive season
The King George VI Chase is a mid-winter jewel in jump racing’s crown and an important Grade 1 showing in the season
Racegoers may have opted to stay inside in the warm while the race’s runners made their final turn around the parade ring
Kempton saw thousands of visitors take advantage of the Christmas Bank Holiday and travel to the storied racecourse
Between the day’s races, some had to keep themselves entertained without the prospect of a quick trip to the bookies
Festive racegoers dressed up for the spectacle in their finest wintry attire – and may have shown off some Christmas presents
Mahons Glory clinched victory after pulling away early and beating favourite Emailandy in the 3.40pm Handicap Hurdle
Keen punters try to get the best view of the horses in the distance with binoculars on a popular day in the racing calendar
One young fan took advantage of the array of food stalls to take a break and have lunch on a day out in Sunbury-on-Thames
Paul Nicholls trained winner of the Kauto Star Novice Chase Il Est Francais who lived up to his billing in the Grade One contest
Kempton Park welcomed ten of thousands of visitors to the festive season’s showpiece, which features three Grade Ones
Allaho (centre) was the strong favourite to take the King George VI but couldn’t beat the late pace of shock winner Hewick
Racegoers watched with interest as the unlikely winner came out of the stalls dead last before surging up the field late on
Hewick was nowhere to be see as the six runners prepared to jump the last and head home (pictured: The Real Whacker)
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old Allaho had just one start over the last 20 months, at Clonmel in November this year
Fans were unable to believe their eyes after being treated to a famous upset in the storied Grade One race on Tuesday
There were no signs of Boxing Day hangovers as racegoers enjoyed the bracing fresh air at Kempton the day after Christmas
Shishkin’s rider Nico de Boinville was unseated after the second-to-last fence to derail what could have been a promising win
Shishkin’s trainer Nicky Henderson looked concerned after his 2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner slipped
But fans in the stand roared home the eventual winner Hewick on a staggering afternoon for National Hunt racing
Hewick’s jockey Gavin Sheehan punched the air with delight after sealing the famous victory in the midst of a strong season