Aintree Racecourse Will Undergo Changes, Including Decreasing Its Distance
Aintree racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority have announced "a raft of changes that will be implemented" for next year's Grand National, "but have resisted calls to cull Becher's Brook and the field size from the world's greatest steeplechase," according to Rod Gilmour of the London TELEGRAPH. One of the "key measures" is moving the position of the start forward by 90 yards, away from the crowds and grandstands. The changes will make the distance of the race around four miles and three and a half furlongs, reduced from the previous distance of four and a half miles. In addition, the start will include the "no-go" zone, which is defined by a line on the track, being extended from 15 yards to around 30 yards from the starting tape. The starter's rostrum has been moved to a position between the starting tape and the no-go zone to reduce the potential for horses to go through the starting tape prematurely. Meanwhile, "the landing zone at Becher's Brook will be levelled further, and the BHA will continue to review fence designs." There will also be no reduction in the size of the 40-horse field (TELEGRAPH, 9/20).