There are 16 different fences in the Grand National, 14 of which are vaulted twice over the four-mile, two-and-a-half furlong course at Aintree. The fences play a major part in the drama at the Grand National as they test the skill of horse and jockey to the limit.
In recent years the Grand National fences have changed somewhat to make them safer. This has included lowering the heights, while the materials used within the fences are less bulky than before.
Here, Paddy Power gives a run-down of the fence heights at the Grand National, and why they differ.
GRAND NATIONAL FENCE HEIGHTS
Before we look at specific heights of fences at the Grand National it’s worth remembering that the minimum height for fences in the National Hunt season is 4ft 6in. The difference between fences and hurdles are both the height and the way they are built.
Workers at Aintree Racecourse have over the years changed the sturdiness of the fences in order to make they easier to pass over. They remain an integral challenge in horse racing but aren’t as dangerous.
WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!
Of the 16 different fences at the Grand National, seven are between the minimum 4ft 6in and 4ft 10in. There are six 5ft fences plus one that also features an open ditch. This is the 11th and 27th jump of the race and is called Booth, after a former fence builder at Aintree.
The Grand National also features a Water Jump on the 16th that is only 2ft 6in high. However, the water pond behind the fence stretches back further than an open ditch, meaning horses must leap as far as 12ft 6in to scale the jump.
HIGHEST FENCE AT GRAND NATIONAL
The Chair is the highest fence at the Grand National, standing at 5ft 2in. It it two inches taller than any other jump and is a notoriously difficult jump to master. Horses only scale The Chair once, as on their second lap round the racecourse both this jump and the Water Jump are missed out, as the horses charge towards the winning line instead.
The Chair gets its name from back in the 19th century when heats were run before the Grand National itself. A racecourse official would sit at this jump and any horse that failed to scale it before the first horse crossed the winning line was subsequently disqualified and cut from the list of contenders.
Racing betting fans will often hold their breath when their picks square up to The Chair, as vaulting this jump marks the halfway stage of the race.
GRAND NAITONAL FENCE HEIGHTS
16 – Water Jump
1 – Plain fence
7 – Foinavon
14 – Plain fence
2 – Plain fence
13 – Plain fence
4 – Plain fence
6 – Becher’s Brook
3 – Westhead
5 – Plain fence
8 – Canal Turn
9 – Valentine’s Brook
10 – Plain fence
11 – Booth
12 – Plain fence
15 – The Chair
- Why are there false starts in horse races like the Grand National?
- How many horses are there in the Grand National?
- Grand National prize money: How much does the Grand National winner get?
- 9 things to consider when picking a Grand National winner
- Grand National fence names and the stories behind every Aintree jump
- How high are Grand National fences at Aintree Racecourse?
- What are Grand National fences made of at Aintree Racecourse?
- Grand National fences: Order of jumps, total and which are taken twice
- Grand National weights: Why do horses carry different weights at Aintree?
- How many people usually attend the Grand National? What is Aintree’s capacity?
- What is the distance of the Grand National? How far do the horses run?
- How does a horse qualify for the Grand National?
- When did a horse last win the Grand National carrying top weight?
- Do Grand National reserve horses ever run in the race at Aintree?
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?
- What is a sire and a dam? Why is breeding so important in horse racing?
- What’s the difference between a colt, filly, gelding, stallion and mare?
- What does it mean when a horse goes to stud?
- What do horse racing commentators mean by sectional times?
- What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot? Which members of the Royal Family attend?
- How do they choose Epsom Derby stall numbers? Is there a draw bias?
- How long does it take horses to complete the Epsom Derby? How fast are the runners?
- How many racehorses does the Queen own?
- What is a stewards’ enquiry in horse racing?
- What does it mean when a horse is exposed?