The Grand National is held at Aintree, near Liverpool, every year and covers two full circuits of the 2.25 mile circular track. During this horses and jockeys face 30 jumps over 16 fences all of which are jumped twice except fences 15 & 16 – The chair and the water jump.
The fences, made of wood, are dressed each year with 150 tonnes of spruce branches from the Lake District. After a safety review in 2011 the landing side of Becher’s Brook and fence 1 & 17 were re-charted to reduce the drop alongside the reduction in height of the fourth fence and increase in height of the toe boards (that help the horse determine the height of the jump).
1 & 17: The thorn fence is 4ft 6in high and 2ft 9in wide. The drop was reduced in 2011 to offer a more level landing.
2 & 18: The fan is much wider than the thorn at 3ft 6in but not quite as high.
3 & 19 Westhead: The 6ft ditch on the approach and 4ft 10in height makes this the first difficult fence of the race.
4 & 20: A 4ft 10in high and 3ft wide plain fence.
5 & 21: A 5ft high and 3ft 6in wide spruce dressed fence.
6 & 22 Becher’s Brook: The most famous and nail biting fence in the course. On the landing side the fence measures over 6ft and had a drop of between 5 and 10in from take-off. It earned its name after Captain Martin Becher took shelter after being unseated.
7 & 23 Foinavon Fence: The smallest jump on the course at 4ft 6 in high and 3ft wide.
8 & 24 Canal Turn: A fence of hawthorn stakes covered by spruce. Horses must turn 90 degrees after landing to avoid the canal. This is often thought of as where the race can be lost or won.
9 & 25 Valentine’s Brook: A 5ft high 3ft 3 in high fence followed by a brook on landing that is 5ft 6in wide.
10 & 26: A 5ft high and 3ft wide thorn fence.
11 & 27 Booth: A 5ft high 3ft wide fence with a 6ft wide ditch preceding the jump.
12 & 28: A 5ft high 3ft wide fence with a 5ft 6in ditch on landing.
13 & 29: A 4ft 7in high and 3ft wide fence.
14 & 30: Almost the same height as the previous fence
15 The Chair: The tallest, at 5ft 2in, and widest fence on the course, with a 6ft wide ditch preceding the jump.
16 Water Jump: A 2ft 9in fence brings the first circuit to an end and was originally a stone wall in the very early Grand Nationals.