Where, and what, was the Table Top Jump?
For lover or sports and gambling there is little to rival the Grand National. It’s a time where even those who love casino games and the like, and drawn towards the sport of kings. The Table Top Jump was situated on the Grand National Course at Aintree, specifically on the Anchor Bridge Crossing of the Melling Road, which follows the twelfth, and twenty-eighth, fence in the current layout. Back in the days when the Grand National was run, in part, on farmland and open countryside, the Anchor Bridge demarcated the ‘racecourse proper’.
By 1870, long before the age of online casinos and indeed many of today’s major gambling and sporting staples, the Table Top Jump was no longer considered an obstacle, per se, so details of it rely on contemporary reports from over a century and a half ago, which are, at best, a little sketchy. Confusingly, the Melling Road was originally known as the ‘Sunken Lane’ and, for a decade or more, ‘Proceed’s Lane’, following an incident involving the well-backed Proceed in 1849. However, the Anchor Bridge Crossing was on an elevated part of the track that required the horses to jump over a hedge onto a bank and off again, over another, in rapid succession. Thus, the Table Top Jump was akin to banks found on the cross-country courses at Cheltenhham or Punchestown, or in the cross-country phase of eventing.
As early as 1843, the second hedge was removed, leaving just a downhill incline on the far side of the Table Top Jump. In 1870, the first hedge was also removed, leaving just the bank, which was reduced in height and abruptness two years later, before being completely levelled off in 1887.