The Grand National fences provide some of the most iconic moments in sporting history. From Tiger Roll leading the charge over The Chair to the Foinavon pile-up in 1967, fences have produced memorable upsets and astonishing feats of equine athleticism ever since the first Grand National in 1839.
But if you’re new to horse racing betting then you might not know much about the Grand National fences and the order they’re in. You might also be unaware that many of these fences are jumped twice during the Grand National.
So Paddy Power is here to explain everything you need to know about the fences at the Grand National, so you can better predict the next jumps during the big race and impress your mates with your knowledge.
How many fences are at the Grand National?
The Grand National consists of 30 fences over the 4-mile, 2-and-a-half furlong course. Since its inception the race has been famed for being a gruelling steeplechase that only horses with the best stamina in the business can master.
The fences are evenly distributed across the Grand National course and pose varying challenges to the horses. Some are the minimum height standard for National Hunt fences at 4ft 6in, while The Chair is the biggest fence at 5ft 2in. Water jumps and open ditches also form part of the Grand National course.
Grand National fences order
The Grand National fences order stays the same each year and includes iconic horse racing jumps such as Valentine’s and Becher’s Brook. The order is as follows…
1 & 17 Plain fence – 4ft 6in high
2 & 18 Plain fence – 4ft 7in high
3 & 19 Westhead – 5ft high, open ditch
4 & 20 Plain fence – 4ft 10in high
5 & 21 Plain fence – 5ft high
6 & 22 Becher’s Brook – 4ft 10in high, drop between 6in and 10in on the landing side
7 & 23 Foinavon – 4ft 6in high
8 & 24 Canal Turn – 5ft high
9 & 25 Valentine’s Brook – 5ft high
10 & 26 Plain fence – 5ft high
11 & 27 Booth – 5ft high, open ditch
12 & 28 Plain fence – 5ft high
13 & 29 Plain fence – 4ft 7in high
14 & 30 Plain fence – 4ft 6in high
15 The Chair – 5ft 2in high, open ditch on landing side
16 Water Jump – 2ft 6in high, water pond behind
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Which Grand National fences are taken twice?
Fourteen of the 16 Grand National fences jumped during the race are taken twice. These are the first 14 of the course and include Westhead, Becher’s Brook, Foinavon, Canal Turn, Valentine’s Brook and Booth.
The two fences that aren’t re-jumped are The Chair and the Water Jump. That’s because they are situated near to the Grand National finish line. So, when the horses charge towards the grandstands on their second lap, they move right and away from the jumps to instead gallop on the home straight.
Interestingly, the two jumps that are omitted a second time around are arguably the toughest of the entire course.
The Chair is considered the hardest jump of the Grand National and racing betting fans will often hold their breath as their picks leap over the 5ft 2in fence. Vault that and suddenly the rest of the race seems a lot easier to handle!
Will the Grand National fences be altered this year?
Organisers at Aintree are not expected to dramatically alter the height or make-up of the Grand National fences this year. However, there are times when the clerk of the course will consider adjusting, reshaping or redesigning fences in order to adhere to safety guidelines.
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