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Reindeer in training for the big Christmas Eve event were seen racing at the weekend at Kempton Park racecourse.

Santa's favoured sleigh-pullers got involved in some excercise at the track on Saturday afternoon, and although there were no take-offs or incidents of flight recorded they did make an effort to gallop in competition after some encouragement from Father Christmas.

The eight competitors, Dasha, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, were in fine form once they'd been shown the right direction to go, and following a close run with cheering elves on the sidelines the winner was Dasha. He was awarded a trophy full of carrots for his trouble.

Bookmaker William Hill organised the race. The betting brand's spokesperson Kate Miller said "This has proved a roaring success with punters across the land as the festive season continues. December can be an inclement month weather-wise, with many race meetings lost to the elements. Reindeer racing could prove a lifeline for race-starved punters in the future."

The Reindeer Racing World Cup in Kautokeino, Norway takes place every year - but slightly after the festive season, in Easter, perhaps giving Santa's finest a chance to recover from a hectic Christmas.



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Video: Reindeer race at Kempton Park
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