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National fence views

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  • #1689801
    Avatar photovikingflagship
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    Watched the fox hunters today, and thought the what would be first in Grand National tiny, and how the spruce was compact as recent years fences where just falling away to plastic core
    And when itv said as the come to the iconic bechers brook I was like :unsure:

    VF x

    #1689806
    Avatar photoEx RubyLight
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    Well, I think it still is a proper jumping test and nothing for lowly rated horses. There were loads of mistakes today and almost the first four highest rated horses and the first four in the betting came home 1-2-3-4 with ORs of: 140-132-142-134

    The fifth placed horse was already 25 lengths behind. I think the decision of having 34 horses in the race is a good one. Bechers might not be a iconic as it used to be, but what do we want to see there?

    #1689823
    Avatar photopatriot1
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    I walked the length of the home straight before racing and took a few photos. Unfortunately I am struggling to upload a picture of the final fence on the National course on this site.

    Suffice to say it looked tiny even in comparison with the previous fence. But it still managed to take out one of the runners in the foxhunters.

    I would agree re Bechers. It doesn’t present any sort of challenge these days.

    #1689866
    Avatar photopeter .h
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    The fences definitely weren’t holding their shape yesterday. I also thought what will be the first on Saturday looked markedly small, but that might just be perspective.

    I still believe park fences dressed in spruce would have sufficed, but a decision was made.

    I wonder if anyone knows how tall the old cores were without the spruce compared to the modern cores? Did it take as much dressing to get them to size before? Or is it about the same?

    #1689917
    Avatar photoGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 31975

    A balance is needed.
    Can understand them having the first fence fairly small, being closer to the start (at last). However, the problem is that once jockeys get used to it they’ll go faster at the fence. The fence being smaller makes for fewer falls, but being faster over them means if a horse does fall it is more likely to be injured. However, on very soft ground there should be less of a problem for injuries.

    I do remember them pulling dead horses out of the way so the remaining runners could jump 2nd Bechers. If there was a fatality at Bechers nowadays the old photographs would come out. So can understand them making it easier, especially on a turn.

    The last fences have always been pretty small and has never (or at least in my living memory) rarely had any fallers. On statistics it is one of the easiest last fences in the country. Whereas Leopardstown’s last fence is a nightmare.

    Some Grand National fences are bigger than others. May not be what was intended, but picking out the ones which are small gives a false impression of the others. The whole course still has more fallers and unseats than any other racecourse in Britain or Ireland and jumping ability is still a great advantage. Just that (thankfully imo) it is not the dangerous course it used to be. :rose:

    Value Is Everything
    #1689926
    Helcatmudwrestler
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    If you can stomach it watch the 1989 race , Bechers first and 2nd time , poor old Brown Trix crashing into the brook and almost drowning before being put down .I always saw it as a very unfair test with that massive unseen drop . Race has changed for the better imho .

    #1689980
    LD73
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    • Total Posts 2948

    Horses now don’t seem to treat them with the same respect and added to the fact that they are arriving at the fences quicker because jockey’s know they are softer (so they don’t need to back off them as much) and that increased speed at takeoff invariably is the reason for fallers as horse can’t get their legs out underneath them quick enough for the speed they are travelling at.

    While I think the fences needed some alterations to the core’s density, I do think they have gone too far the other way with it and making some fences smaller encourages a faster approach as well. Yes it is a jumping test but then so are all jumps course to one degree or another – but to call it the ultimate jumping test/race is now no longer the case.

    It was interesting that the ITV team were standing in front of Beechers today and Ed is 6ft 2″ and the top of his head was level with the top of the fence – they were actually standing on pads that were covering the Brook part so it does look much smaller than before.

    To me it is now just another long distance staying chase albeit run on a unique looking course with unique looking fences. Its is a spectacle simply for those reasons but you could argue the point that there are some more demanding staying races in the calendar like the Eider, Midlands National & Welsh National.

    #1689985
    Avatar photoQuelle Farce
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    Why do you believe that the Welsh, the Eider or the Midlands are more demanding? If the races were all run on soft ground, why isn’t the Grand National more demanding than an Eider? Or does it just look more demanding as the horses in such a race are generally slower than the better-class GN horses?

    #1690007
    LD73
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    • Total Posts 2948

    Didn’t say they were just that there was a case for the argument to be made – if they are all run on soft ground then the Welsh National tends to be more attritional based on how many actually finish.

    You don’t see a lot of the Aintree horses treading water at the finish like you do see quite often in the other races – granted that could be because as you said they might be slower horses but it also might be that they go a more sustained end to end gallop whereas at Aintree they tend to go off fast to get a position and then slow it down.

    Up until they changed the weights to try and attract the more classier type horse to Aintree many of the usual suspects in those other 4m+ races would have been aimed at the National but now can’t get in and with the reduced number of runners that will further hinder their chances.

    Kitty’s Light is an interesting one as he has won an Eider, Scottish National & Bet 365 Gold Cup on the bounce (the last two being just 7 days apart) but is contesting the National for the first time although he only would have qualified last year on the age requirement.

    #1690088
    Helcatmudwrestler
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    I have quite enjoyed watching the two races over the national fences this week . I started to go off the national but feel its getting closer to sustainable in short term, i think they have done a good job , Although I still firmly believe jumps racing in Uk will be gone in lifetime .

    #1690308
    Avatar photopeter .h
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    If bad jumpers are able to win the Grand National; are the fences truly a factor?

    I appreciate I Am Maximus didn’t put in a bad round of jumping today, but were the fences in a position to truly test a horses ability to jump well to begin with?

    #1690342
    Avatar photoGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 31975

    Jumping well is still an advantage Peter, it is just not as big an advantage as it used to be… And nowadays there will be an occasional poor jumper that wins if the horse has a lot of other attributes.
    I A M was suited by the distance and open to more improvement. Therefore could get away with it.

    Value Is Everything
    #1690344
    Avatar photoTonge
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    • Total Posts 2778

    He’s not THAT bad at jumping. Before the race, Ruby Walsh said he wouldn’t fall but tended to lose a length or so in the air and questioned whether that was sustainable over 30 fences. Obviously it’s more sustainable than jumping well but belting one and unseating/falling or just ruining whatever chance you had.

    #1690346
    Avatar photoEx RubyLight
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    I think you have to be a good jumper more than ever. Look at the placed horses from 2nd to 5th:

    Galvin – 29 starts – 1 F and 1 UR
    Minella Indo – 24 starts – 1 F and 3 PU
    Delta Work – 34 starts – 2 UR
    Kitty’s Light – 36 starts – 1 PU

    That’s a total of 123 starts with only two falls and two unseats. Plus the winner never fell during his career, but is not a fluent jumper rather than a poor one.

    #1690357
    Avatar photoTonge
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    Exactly. I Am Maximus isn’t a “poor jumper”. He isn’t a “fluent jumper” but that can still win a Grand National!

    #1690358
    Avatar photoGingertipster
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    • Total Posts 31975

    “He’s not THAT bad at jumping. Before the race, Ruby Walsh said he wouldn’t fall but tended to lose a length or so in the air and questioned whether that was sustainable over 30 fences”.
    ——————————————————————–

    THAT is exactly what a poor jumper is the way I look at racing, Tonge.

    This thing about not falling or unseating is less important when judged on racing / betting as a whole.

    I can put up with a horse occasionally falling if its jumping is overwhelmingly an asset. If a horse makes ground at most of his fences he will have a better chance than one who makes mistakes or jumps slowly. You just occasionally get the odd one that jumps slower than most of his rivals but has much more ability and / or is so well handicapped can get away with it.

    Poor jumpers lose ground at most of their obstacles – even if they don’t fall.
    The vast majority of poor jumpers lose enough ground not to win… And many lose enough ground not to place either.

    Value Is Everything
    #1690364
    Avatar photoTonge
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    • Total Posts 2778

    But, if they are good enough, they can still win! Unlike a good jumper that falls/unseats once.

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