Plain Fence, Height: 4ft 10in, Width: 3ft
Once upon a time, the fourth fence of the Grand National course – and 20th in total during the second circuit – was considered one of the toughest to navigate.
Prior to 2012, it stood some 5ft tall and, as it still does, came quickly after the Open Ditch – a particularly difficult stretch of the Aintree layout.
However, two inches was shaved off the top of the fourth/twentieth ahead of the 2013 renewal and the landing side flattened out, and so one of the stiffest tests on the Grand National course became a fraction more straightforward.
The Tough Old Days
Despite the relative ease of this fence these days compared to what is to follow at Aintree, some well-fancied horses have come a-cropper here in Grand Nationals past when the obstacle was taller, stiffer and featured a more challenging landing area.
In 2021, Robbie Power – no stranger to the race having won the National in 2007 aboard Silver Birch – took a tumble on 14/1 shot Magic of Light on the first circuit, while Bryony Frost (the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival) was unseated by Yala Enki here on the second circuit.
The 16/1 interest, Shakalakaboomboom, was pulled up at the fence in 2014, while in 2010 the obstacle caused havoc on both laps. Nick Scholfield – who would also fall at the fourth a year later aboard Ornais – hit the deck after his mount, the 20/1 shot My Will, fell, and on the second circuit there was mayhem as Vic Venturi fell and brought down two well-backed horses in Nozic and Backstage into the bargain!
In 2008, two of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horses fell at the fourth simultaneously, while in 2006 the 16/1 and 25/1 fancies Ross Comm and Haute De Gamme also found this fence too much of a challenge and both fell.