The Grand National Course
We take a look at the fences of the Aintree Grand National course, where it should be noted that no fence, other than the Water Jump can be less than 4ft 6in high. There are sixteen fences in total with fourteen of them having to be jumped twice. The course is 4 miles 3f long.
Only 4ft 6in high, this first fence is one of the smallest on the course, but it often claims a fair few victims due to the speed and momentum of the horse as they jockey for position from the start. The first fence is less than two furlongs from the start. It has been proven that this is the most dangerous plain fence on the course.
Fence 2 &18
A plain fence just 4ft 7in-high fence that offers no real concern to the jockeys. Any falling here it will usually be a jockey or horse error.
Before jumping this five foot high fence, the runners will have to negotiate a potentially lethal 6ft open ditch, from which the ground slopes away on the landing side. It is a severe test and is a fence well respected by the jockeys.
A comfortable fence for most being under five feet high. That said this is the fence that caught out the great Corbiere after he had completed three Grand Nationals, winning once and being third twice.
A 5ft high fence and not one of the most dangerous.
Fence 6&22 - Becher's Brook
Although less than five feet high, this fence has become the most infamous fence anywhere in steeplechasing, mainly due to its severe drop on the other side which catches horses out year after year. It is positioned on a left handed turn, which causes a secondary problem. Once over on the first circuit, jockeys can feel that they are in the race.
After clearing Bechers, many jockeys are still breathing a sigh of relief when they approach this fence, particularly on the first circuit, where it has been known that a concentration lapse has cost the horse its legs.
Fence 8&24 Canal Turn
This 5 foot high fence is particularly dangerous because many jockeys attack it from an angle to reduce the angle of the severe turn. It was the scene of a huge pile up in 2002 Grand National when eight horses either fell or were brought down.
Fence 9&25 Valentines Brook
Not as dangerous as Bechers, but it is another fence with a big drop on the other side and often catches the horses out. It is the first of four fences in a row that are all five feet high.
The second of the five foot fences on this stretch, this fence does not cause any particular problem for horses or jockey¯¢¬¢s.
The third of the 5ft fences, not particularly dangerous, but jockeys will have to watch out for the drop on the other side.
The final five foot fence in this testing stretch, has a 5ft 6in ditch on the other side to negotiate. This is the third last on the second circuit.
Only a comparatively small fence being 4ft 7in high, this does not cause any real problems. However it is the penultimate fence on the second circuit and the leaders will be very keen to get into the right position after jumping it.
Once over this final fence on the second circuit, those still standing will have the famous Aintree run in of nearly 500 yards to deal with. This is the final test as to whether or not the runners have the necessary staying power and speed to be a Grand National winner.
Fence 15 The Chair
The Chair is one of the most dangerous fences on the course which is preceded by a six foot wide ditch. Due to its narrow approach It is a scary fence, particularly as the ground on the other side looks higher than the take off side.
Fence 16 Water Jump
This final fence on the first circuit is actually the smallest fence on the course, being only 2ft 6in high. However to clear it properly the runners have to jump long to clear the 12 feet wide water obstacle on the other side.