How many races are run over the Grand National fences each year?
The National Course at Aintree consists of 16 unique, spruce-topped fences, 14 of which are jumped twice during the Grand National itself. However, during the rest of the year, four other races are run over the National fences. Two of them, the Topham Chase and the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase – which, under normal circumstances, is restricted to amateur riders – are run over 2 miles 5 furlongs during the Grand National Festival in early April each year. In both cases, the races start before what is the second-last fence on the final circuit of the Grand National, such that 18 fences are jumped in all.
Similar comments apply to the Grand Sefton Chase, which is staged in late November or early December. However, the fourth and final race of the year over the National fences, the Becher Chase, is run over 3 miles and 2 furlongs in December. By necessity, the Becher Chase starts after Valentine’s Brook and involves jumping 21 fences in all. As in all the races run over the National fences, including the Grand National, runners bypass The Chair and the Water Jump on the final circuit and head, instead, up the famously long, 494-yard run-in.