Plain Fence, Height: 5ft, Width: 7ft
The lengthy canal that links Liverpool to Leeds runs right through the heart of Aintree Racecourse.
And circumnavigating that body of water is the foundation of the eighth (and 24th) fence of the Grand National track.
The left-hand bend that prevents the horses from tumbling into the canal is just part of the puzzle at this fence – that 90-degree turn comes at an obstacle that stands 5ft high in its own right, followed by that tight switch to the left.
Coming straight after Becher’s Brook and Foinavon, the Canal Turn is the third of the quartet of named fences around the first corner, and it’s one of the most prolific as far as causing fallers, refusers and horses to unseat their rider at the Grand National is concerned.
History of Canal Turn
The make-up of Canal Turn has largely been unchanged for more than a century, although now precautions have been taken to prevent loose horses from charging straight into the water, as was common in the early days of the race.
Once upon a time there was a ditch before the fence as well, but that was changed after the infamous 1928 Grand National – only Tipperary Tim finished the race without falling, and Canal Turn accounted for a staggering 27 horses on the first lap after Easter Hero fell and caused an almighty pile-up.
Famous Fallers at Canal Turn
Just making it over Canal Turn in one piece is the idea, but some jockeys will try and cut off some of the corner and get a good run into the turn – that can prove to be their downfall.
Many betting market favourites have come unstuck at the Canal Turn. The 11/1 shot Run Wild Fred fell here on the first lap in 2022, as did De Rasher Counter and Death Duty.
Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Lord Windermere unseated Andrew Lynch here in 2018, while Balthazar King – the second favourite – fell under the guidance of former champion jockey Richard Johnson in 2015.
Carnage unfolded in the first lap of the 2012 National, with five horses exiting the race – Black Apalachi fell, while Tatenen, Organisedconfusion, Killyglen and Becauseicouldntsee all unseated their riders.
But the 2001 renewal was where Canal Turn has the biggest impact in recent times. As many as ten horses exited the race here on the first lap, with a pile-up causing a number of fallers, unseats and refusals. Moral Support, the 10/1 favourite, was just one of the horses that came a-cropper.