A review of the Grand National has concluded that changes are to be made to three fences following the tragic events at Aintree this year. Becher’s Brook is among those that will be altered following the death of two horses in the race that was run in early April at the Merseyside course.
The most drastic changes to the historic fence mean that the landing side will be raised by four or five inches across the width of the track. There will still be a drop of ten inches on the take-off side. The review group’s conclusion was that this would be kept “to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and also to retain the unique characteristics of Becher’s Brook.”
At a joint British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Aintree press conference, Managing Director of the course Julian Thick, said, “It is not possible to completely eliminate risk in horse racing. However, I am confident the course changes we are announcing today will, over time, have a positive impact.
“We will continue to monitor this carefully and make further improvements and modifications to the course if required as part of our ongoing commitment to safety.”
In addition to Becher’s Brook, the first fence has been altered so that the landing side is leveled out with the take-off side. They hope this will reduce horses falling due to over-jumping. The fourth fence is the final one to be altered as the dangerous obstacle has been reduced in height by 2 inches to 4 feet 10 inches. Orange toe boards on the take-off side of each fence have been increased in height to 15 inches to provide horses with a clearer ground line.
The BHA will complete its review in October and we will wait to see how it affects one of the biggest races in the horseracing industry.