Following the changes to the Grand National, William Hill ambassador Lucinda Russell, a two-time winning trainer of the world’s most famous steeplechase, has given her thoughts on the announcement.
Grand National changes
I think the changes to the race are brilliant. I think they once again show that Aintree is doing all it can to make the Grand National an enduring race while still maintaining the fantastic spectacle that it is.
I get cross when people change things for the sake of it, but I don’t think they are doing that here.
Reducing the field to 34 seems a very fair reduction to me and I don’t see why it will affect the quality of the race. If anything, it should improve it as it will compress the handicap and make things a touch easier for those higher up in the weights like our very own Corach Rambler. With a field of 40, his job would have been very tough off a much higher mark than this year, but the reduced field means horses like him won’t have to give as much weight away.
I’m not sure why we haven’t moved the first fence closer to the start already. It’s a great idea as the further the horses have to run before the first fence the faster they go, so it seems very logical to me. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell the jockeys to go slower before the first fence, they are riding in a £1million race and they want to be in the best position they can be.
The timing of the race is somewhat dictated by global media, but again they are making changes to that with the horse’s welfare in mind which is obviously great.
I’m very much behind the changes, but I don’t think they were absolutely essential. I don’t think the Grand National is a dangerous race and I thought the one Corach won was a very fair contest. It’s more just tweaking things five or 10 percent to make it better and I believe the new changes are doing that.
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