The Best Christmas Jumpers

Features | 16th December 2022

Everyone loves a Christmas jumper

There’s no better way for racing fans to keep warm over the busy festive period than watching some of the sport’s greatest National Hunt horses dazzle in the biggest races. Here’s a look at our magnificent seven Christmas jumpers.

Desert Orchid

For racing fans in the late 1980s, Dessie made sure it was always a white Christmas. The ghostly grey won the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day on four occasions with his bold-jumping, front-running style.

Trained by David Elsworth, he was one of the most popular racehorses of all time and had his own fan club. He is remembered with a race named in his honour, fittingly run at Kempton’s Christmas meeting.


Kauto Star

Few horses have dominated one of the sport’s biggest races than Kauto Star. He won the King George VI Chase in four consecutive years from 2006. His only defeat in the Kempton Grade 1 came when the race was put back to mid-January due to frost.

There were emotional scenes when he bounced back to win the race for a fifth time as an 11-yearold in 2011 after he had been written off by many racing fans as past his best.

Wayward Lad

The demands of the King George VI Chase were perfect for Wayward Lad. One of the best horses never to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup where the stiff finish was beyond him, he was successful in Kempton’s Christmas cracker three times in the 1980s.

In his final season he was fifth in the King George behind Desert Orchid, handing over his Boxing Day crown to the new king. Like Dessie and Kauto Star, he has a race named after him at Kempton’s Christmas meeting.

Long Run

Not many horses make their British debut by bolting up in a Grade 1. Long Run had arrived at Nicky Henderson’s Lambourn yard from France with a huge reputation ahead of the 2009 Feltham Novices’ Chase (now the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase). It proved spot on as he cruised home to win under amateur jockey and owner’s son Sam WaleyCohen.

The pair returned the following season to win the King George VI Chase when it was run in mid-January. Despite losing the title on Boxing Day 12 months later, Long Run showed he was a Christmas star when landing his second King George in 2012.

Bonanza Boy

Christmas – or Nadolig – was when Bonanza Boy came alive. The star stayer’s finest hours came during the festive period in Wales. He won the Welsh Grand National in both 1988 and 1989 to spark a domination of the Chepstow marathon by Martin Pipe, when the legendary trainer won the race five times in six years.

Bonanza Boy also twice finished fourth in the race behind stable companions Carvill’s Hill and Run For Free. In all he ran in five Welsh Grand Nationals clocking up more than 17 Christmas Chepstow miles.

Voy Por Ustedes

When a race to honour Boxing Day legend Desert Orchid was created in 2006, it gave Voy Por Ustedes the chance to become a Christmas favourite. He won the two-mile Kempton contest in each of the first two years the Grade 2 prize was held. Trained by Alan King, he went on to win the Champion Chase later in the season after landing the inaugural contest.

He would have surely been warm order for a third Desert Orchid had he not gone up in distance for the King George instead. While no match for Kauto Star, he finished a creditable third to prove not only his versatility, but also his liking for Christmas time.


The Christmas Hurdle – run at Kempton on Boxing Day – has seen no less than eight dual winners. When Epatante was successful for the second time last Christmas, she joined the likes of Lanzarote, Kribensis and Faugheen as a two-time winner of the Grade 1 prize. It might have been three had she not made an uncharacteristic blunder three hurdles from home when long odds-on for the 2020 Christmas Hurdle. 

There’s a chance she could try to complete the record-breaking hat-trick this year. She’s only once finished out of the frame in her 19 races and her Kempton wins make her one of the great mares to have graced racing’s Christmas scene.

There’s plenty of action across the country this festive period to see some more Christmas jumping legends made. 

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