Plans announced by the BHA to modify certain aspects of the 2013 Grand National renewal primarily centred around the start of the race and indeed that's what many news publications picked up on. There were of course, other plans announced concerning the actual fences at Aintree and in particular the Grand National Fences.
One recommendation was that Aintree and the BHA embark on a three-year research and development programme looking at alternative fence designs for the Grand National course. This specifically focuses on utilising materials other than the existing timber and protective rubber padding that make up the central frame of a fence, also known as the “core”.
Thankfully the height of the Grand National fences will not change but prototype fences are currently being assessed and could be trialled as early as the Becher Chase meeting in December.
Becher’s Brook has undergone further levelling of the wider landing zone, but this will not change either the dimensions or the character of the fence.
Following the 2011 Review, the landing area of the first fence was levelled to smooth out undulations existing in the natural terrain. This process has now been extended to fences 4, 5 and 13.
And it appears that even though the report was only made public within the last couple of days, all works were already carried out in the summer to ensure time for the course to settle prior to racing over this course in December.
Frankly, the proposed alterations could have been a lot worse but only time will tell if these modifications will have any impact on the race.