The Grand National course is left-handed and four and a half miles long, over two circuits of the Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. It has 30 steeplechase fences and 40 runners, which is the maximum allowed for safety reasons. The race is run on a Saturday every April.

The runners jump a total of 30 fences. All but two of the sixteen fences are jumped twice. The only fences that are jumped once are The Chair (fence 15) and the water jump (fence 16).

The landmark fences on the Grand National course are named. They are:

Becher's Brook: This is jumped as the sixth and twenty second fence. Becher's Brook has a nasty drop on the landing side.

Foinavon: A 4ft 6" fence which is on an angle. This is fence 7 and 13. This is named after the Irish horse Foinavon who won in 1967 when there was a massive pile-up at this fence. The apparent no-hoper Foinavon missed all the trouble and so won at 100/1.

The Canal Turn: Fence 8 & 24 is a 5ft fence with a sharp ninety degree turn immediately after the fence.

Valentines Brook: Fence 9 and 25 is 5ft high.

The Chair: Fence 15 is 6ft 3" with a large ditch on the take-off side. Along with Becher's Brook, this famous fence is the one the jockeys fear the most.

Water Jump: Fence 16, is small but the water itself is 10 foot wide.

It is not just the fearsome Grand National fences that have influenced the results, it is the seemingly endless 494-yard run-in from the final fence to the winning line that has turned Grand National results around since the first Grand National won by Lottery in 1839. Half-way up the run-in Is the Elbow, which is a slight bend or kink to the left. Many horses have been leading at The Elbow only to be nailed on the line. The most famous of these was Crisp who heroically made all under jockey Richard Pitman in 1973 only to be denied at the death by fast-finishing Red Rum who was winning the first of his three Grand Nationals.

The Grand National Course

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