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Get involved in a UK Christmas tradition this year

The day after Christmas Day, we all go shopping; it’s one of our traditions. But this year, why not ring the changes and do something different instead? The shops will still have things to sell the next day, and the days and weeks after that. Instead, why not get involved in one of the great UK Boxing Day traditions instead – and watch the King George VI chase online or on the TV?

The King George VI chase is one of the most prestigious events in the UK’s horse racing calendar, and was run for the first time in 1937 at Kempton Park race course, where it still takes place every year. The race was named after Queen Elizabeth’s father – King George VI – and is apparently a real favourite with the Royal Family. This year, of course, it will have special resonance as there’s a new Prince George on the scene – Kate and William’s baby was named after his great great grandfather. Young Prince George won’t be paying much attention to the big race as he’s only five months old, but it’s likely that other people in his extended family will be watching with interest. The Queen is a big racing fan and was in fact named Owner of Year for 2013 by the Racehorse Owners Association so she is likely to have a bet or two on the outcome of the King George VI chase, which covers 18 fences on a three mile course.

Placing some money on the race adds an extra dimension to the raceand you can back your favourite horse at Betfair, the online betting exchange. Cue Card is the current favourite, with odds of 5/2 at the time of writing, but you may want to back an outsider instead. At Betfair, there’s no bookmaker involved – it’s just individuals placing bets (backing) and accepting bets placed by other individuals (laying). It’s not just horse racing that

you can bet on either – almost every sporting event you can think of will be covered somewhere on Betfair, and it can be fun to have a small punt on a big sporting event like the Triple Crown early in the year when the value is good, and then see what happens to the odds as the race dates draw closer. In its history, there have only been 11 Triple Crown winners, so the chances of getting this bet right are very slim, but it’s still fun to have a go!

You don’t need to have a great interest in horse racing to enjoy watching the big events like the King George VI chase and the Triple Crown – they’re spectacles in their own right. But having a bet or two riding on them can certainly add to the fun.

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