Anatomy of a Grand National fence: The fences on the Grand National course are almost as legendary as the horses and riders who have triumphed over them.
Many are individually named and contain unique features such as a drop on landing, or being positioned on a sharp turn. The rest of the fences, though still daunting, are more uniform, and are known by their numbers.
The fences are constructed with a firm ‘core’, which is then ‘dressed’ with a loose topping, and that is overlaid with a rail and a toe board to make the base of the jump clear to horse and rider.
Historically the materials have been natural wood and foliage but in the interests of improving horse and rider safety the jumps were reviewed in recent years.
Aintree Racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority embarked on a three-year research and development programme looking at alternative fence designs for the Grand National course in 2011 and this focused on using materials other than the existing timber and protective rubber padding that made up the central frame of a fence.
After the examination of the Anatomy of a Grand National fence, A small number of Grand National fences with different frames were trialled successfully during the Becher Chase fixture in December, 2012 when two races were run over the Grand National course.
As a result, all the timber central frames in the plain fences (fences 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14) on the Grand National course were then replaced with the Easyfix plastic birch unit.