Grand National changes: 10 KEY POINTS – as field shrinks to 34

Grand National changes: 10 KEY POINTS as the Jockey Club tweaks the format of the historic race – with the field shrinking to just 34 runners and a new-look pre-race parade

  • The famous Aintree race is set for a revamp to safeguard its status going forward 
  • Changes also include moving the first fence, and changing the race’s start time 
  • PETER SCUDAMORE: These changes will make the iconic race SAFER 

The Jockey Club have announced major changes to the shape of the Randox Grand National in an attempt to maintain its status as the world’s greatest race. These are the 10 key points.

1. Reduction in the maximum field size from 40 runners to 34. 

2. To reduce the speed of runners approaching the first fence, the start to be moved 60 yards closer to the first fence with runners having as standing rather than rolling start. 

3. Race time will be brought forward to try to make sure the ground does not dry out too much during the build-up.

4. The pre-race parade will be modified with runners cantering in front of the grandstand rather than being led by their grooms.

5. Inside running rail to be re-aligned to assist with the capture of loose horses.

The Jockey Club has announced a spate of changes to the Randox Grand National from 2024

Among the most notable of the changes is the reduction of the size of the field from 40 to 34

6. Height of Fence 11 with be reduced by two inches (from 5ft to 4ft 10in) on take-off side, with some ‘levelling off’ on landing side to reduce the height of the drop.

7. Foam and rubber toe boards fitted to every fence.

8. Further investing in pop-up irrigation to allow for more effective watering of the course.

9. Minimum handicap rating for all horses running in the Grand National will be raised to 130 from current minimum rating of 125. This brings the Grand National minimum handicap rating in line with Grade 1 races.

10. Grand National Review Panel, a group of industry experts who assess the suitability of every horse entered to run over the Grand National fences, will further enhance its procedures to closely scrutinise horses entered in the race that have made jumping errors in 50% or more of their last eight races, before allowing them to run.

2023’s race was won by Corach Rambler, ridden by Derek Fox and trained by Lucinda Russell

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