What’s the most difficult fence on the Grand National course?
Several of the ‘named’ fences on the Grand National course are contenders for the most difficult fence. In the order in which they are jumped during the Grand National, they are Becher’s Brook, which is jumped as the sixth and twenty-second fence, the Canal Turn, which is jumped as the eighth and twenty-fourth fence and The Chair, which is jumped just once, as the fifteenth fence.
Named after pioneering jockey Captain Martin Becher, Becher’s Brook stands 4′ 10″ high and while it appears fairly innocuous from the take-off side, the steep drop on the landing side, which is up to 10″ lower than the take-off side, is what makes the fence so difficult. In the case of the Canal Turn, it is the orientation of the fence that can cause problems. To avoid galloping into the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, from which the fence takes it name, Grand National must either jump the fence at an acute angle or turn sharply left, through 90º, immediately after jumping the fence.
The Chair may be jumped just once during the Grand National, but is nonetheless, the tallest and broadest fence on the National fence. The fence itself stands 5’3” high, but is preceded by a 6′ wide ditch, with the added complication of a landing side that is 6” higher than the take-off side. Consequently, The Chair is the fence that is widely considered the most difficult on the Grand National course.