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Grand National confirms new major safety changes making 2024 race radically different

Grand National confirms new major safety changes making 2024 race radically different

There's been some big changes for 2024

A major change has been announced for this year's Grand National.

The Randox Grand National is due to take place at Aintree Racecourse on 13 April, but this year's event will see a huge change to the usual format.

There's some big changes coming to this year's Grand National.
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Following a review of the race last year, a number of changes were announced for the 2024 event, including a reduced field of 34 horses, the introduction of a standing start and a change in position of the first fence, which will be moved closer to the start line.

There's also an additional change that has been introduced to help ensure the safest conditions for competitors.

From this year, the race will run at an earlier time of 4pm, instead of the usual time of 5.15pm.

The later start time has been in place since 2016, but an earlier time was suggested after concerns over the long build-up to the race throughout the day. Starting later will also help organisers maintain optimal jumping ground.

Following a review, a number of changes have been made.
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Sulekha Varma, clerk of the course at Aintree, said: "We leave no stone unturned in providing world-class standards of welfare for our participants and undertake a review after every Randox Grand National.

"These reviews look at a wide range of factors and the learnings from the process drives a number of changes, large and small, annually.

"In October we announced that one of the changes being made from 2024 would involve bringing forward the start time of the race, which has been 5.15pm since 2016.

"This was a decision we took after a number of participants and other racing stakeholders raised concerns about the long build-up to the race throughout the day and heightened tension as a result.

"These were not issues which had been identified as a problem when the race was previously staged at 3.45pm and 4.15pm."

Last year's race saw protestors run onto the field.
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Varma continued: "Bringing forward the start time of the Randox Grand National by 75 minutes to 4pm will also help us to maintain optimal jumping ground, as warm or breezy conditions can dry out the racing surface.

"We would like to thank both our broadcast partner ITV and the British Horseracing Authority for their assistance in helping to bring about this change to a race which remains a British institution, loved and watched by millions of people all over the world every year."

Last year's Grand National was full of drama after protestors stormed onto the race track just moments before it was due to take place.

Police, as well as locals, had to work together to stop the intruders from halting the event altogether.

Hopefully the new changes will allow the race to go ahead a little more smoothly.

Featured Image Credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images/Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Topics: Sport, UK News