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The Lucinda Russell-trained Corach Rambler wins the 2023 Grand National under Derek Fox (Picture: Daily Express)

Significant changes have been made to the Grand National for 2024. The alterations have been made after animal rights protesters ambushed the 2023 event, causing a delay of 15 minutes. However, the Jockey Club insists that the changes did not come as a direct response to those protests.

The most significant changes are as follows:

  • The field has been reduced from 40 horses to a maximum of 34. Evidence shows a correlation between the size of a field and the risk of horses falling.
  • The first fence has been brought forward, towards the start line, by 60 yards in order to reduce the speed at which the horses reach it.
  • The start will now be a standing start at the tape, rather than the traditional rolling start. This change is also designed to reduce the speed that horses arrive at the first obstacle.
  • Each horse must have an official rating of at least 130 (rather than 125) and will be scrutinised for jumping errors before being permitted to enter.
  • Fence 11 has been reduced in height by two inches and will be have the drop on the landing side reduced.
  • Horses will no longer be led onto the course by a handler before the race, instead being released to canter in front of the grandstands.
  • The start time has been moved from 5.15pm to 4pm.