Kempton Park: A Winter Wonderland We Can All Enjoy

Arkle racing at Kempton Park in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, 1966 (Photo by Bentley Archive / Popperfoto / Getty Images)

There’s a wonderful word that drifted our way this week: ‘coenaesthesis’. It refers, so we understand, to the sum of all our sensations as opposed to the individual ones. It’s a sort of general, all-over, hard-to-define state of being; it’s an ill-defined, overall impression.

So when it gets to about half past eight on Christmas evening, when one is liable to be feeling a little liverish, perhaps a little below par, possibly not quite on mid-season form, that’s the word for to reach for to help describe that all-over, half-spiritual and half-physical malaise. (And whilst we’re on the subject, there’s a useful Norwegian word, ‘fjalleangst’ that translates loosely as ‘hangover anxiety’, not that we’d know what that felt like.)

The resultant impulse - that has a three-to-one chance of becoming action - to go for a walk and get a breath of fresh air can be overcome with ease, however, if one knows that one is going to spend Boxing Day outside, sipping sloe gin and enjoying some racing.

The 32Red Winter Festival at Kempton Park could not come at a better time, boasting a dozen top-flight jump races over two days that will get you out of doors without demanding much in the way of exercise.

There’s the Christmas Hurdle and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, and then of course there’s the cherry on the icing on the rather magnificent cake, The King George VI Chase, in which Thistlecrack is back and facing strong, possibly insuperable competition from the likes of Might Bite, Fox Norton, and Bristol De Mai.

So be of good cheer, for Christmas awaits us all just the other side of the weekend. Beyond that the prospects seem, if anything, only to improve. So dig out a thick coat, unfurl that new scarf and, after finding out all you need to know by clicking the link below, have a very Happy Christmas and an even better Boxing Day.