Moehat, interesting reference to the Mildmay Course. I actually think that, until recently, the fences there were TOO stiff on what is a very sharp chase course. They have looked a lot more forgiving in the past few years. I can remember when that course had, I think until 1975, slightly smaller Grand National fences. Extraordinary!
You mention, GT, the resiting of the 2nd last obstacle (on the Old course). Although resiting of fences is a separate issue from the easing of them, I think it is worth visiting. This fence, for whatever reason(s), seemed to be causing more and more problems in recent years, though I do not recall it being that much of a bogey fence in the 60s and 70s. The fatal injury incurred by Granit Jack was probably the deciding factor in resiting this obstacle. The new layout results in that long long run from the third last, similar to that between the 2nd last and last hurdles on the New course, with the final 2 fences shoehorned into the short straight. I have no issue with the safety aspect of the resiting, but the thrill of Katabatic/Barnbrook Again/Waterloo Boy/Edredon Bleu/Direct Route squaring up to the final (one) fence in the home straight has gone.
I do not, of course, ‘…want horses to fall more often when hitting a fence’. I want to see them jumping over, rather than through, the fences. This was the system that applied, predominantly though not exclusively, at the major tracks until quite recently. I thought it worked rather well.
If you wish to comment on, or agree or disagree with, any of my observations, you are welcome to do so, though I am not seeking responses. Should you decide to comment further, less of the ‘only if there’s less of’ attitude will do nicely.
Good God properfences, you’re morphing into Ginger McCain!
Despite that I concur entirely with your posts, the Grand National is an absolute shambles now and by common consent and even by the jockeys at Cheltenham the fences were significantly softer. Claisse’s response was that they weren’t consciously made softer. How do you make fences softer unconsciously?
If that’s the case maybe he could have made a conscious decision to ensure the fences weren’t softer.