Arsonists attack Kempton racecourse and burn down fence as staff race against time to rebuild it for the King George

ARSONISTS attacked Kempton racecourse and burned down a fence – leaving staff in a race against time to replace it for Boxing Day.

The Surrey track is home of the famed King George VI Chase, always held the day after Christmas.

But preparations have been thrown off course after the third-last fence was set ablaze by vandals.

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They evaded the track's 24-hour security – which has since been ramped up – to start the fire.

The obstacle, which comes on the home straight, has significance because it was where legendary horse Desert Orchid fell in 1991 before being retired.

Work has already begun on replacing it but workers face a tight squeeze to get it all completed for the December showcase.

Barney Clifford, Kempton's clerk of the course, said: "Someone burned it to the ground.

"It was a Sunday night, around midnight. We have 24-hour security but somehow they managed to get in.

"It's a real inconvenience, but that's life.

"We've already put part of the frame in and the birch has now arrived.

"My staff are kept busy because we have so many racedays here but we'll geto to it and hopefully it'll be built for Boxing Day."

A spokesman for the Jockey Club, which owns Kempton, added: "The third-last fence at the course suffered an act of vandalism at the beginning of October.

"This was reported to the police."

Commenting on the news, one outraged racing fan tweeted: "Absolute disgrace! How people can derive any pleasure from this defies belief!"

SunSport has contacted Surrey police for comment.

Jumps racing has been held at Kempton since the fence was set alight.

False rails were put in place to tell runners to go around the spot where the fence should be.

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