LIVERPOOL, England (AP) – Organizers of the Grand National steeplechase will make modifications to fence design, landing areas and course irrigation following a review of the world’s most grueling jumps race after the death of two horses this year.
However, there will be no reduction in the size of the 40-horse field. Also, Bechers Brook – the much-feared fence that has been the cause of a number of horse casualties – will remain with the same drop and dimensions.
John Baker, who runs the Aintree course where the race is staged, says “balancing the Grand National’s enduring appeal while working to reduce risk in the race is a delicate but important balance to strike.”
Ten horses have died in the past 12 years in the National, leading to criticism from animal welfare groups.