Which fences are jumped just once during the Grand National?
The Grand National Course at Aintree consists of 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice during the Grand National, making a total of 30 fences in all. On the second circuit of the Grand National, runners bypass the penultimate and final fence on the first circuit and set off, instead, up the infamously long, 494-yard run-in, past the ‘Elbow’ and on, for another furlong or so, to the finish line.
Coincidentally, the two fences that are omitted on the second circuit are the tallest and shortest obstacles on the Grand National course. Indeed, the first of them, ‘The Chair’, is not only the tallest, but also the broadest. The upright portion of The Chair stands 5’3″ high, but the fence is preceded by an open ditch, 6′ wide and 2’6″ deep, which increases the overall span of the obstacle to 9′. Not only that, but to add to the challenge, the landing side of The Chair is 6″ higher than the take-off side.
By contrast, the Water Jump – which stands on the site of what was, at one time, a stone wall – stands just 2’9″ high. However, the fence is succeeded by an expanse of water, 8’10” wide and 6″ deep, which means that the obstacle spans over 15′ from one end to the other. Of course, it is possible for a horse to land with any number of feet in the water.