Cheltenham Move Nightmare Fence For Third Time in Nine Years

Cheltenham racecourse is now working harder than ever to get the course and surrounding areas in top condition ready for the thousands of racegoers that will be stampeding into the track for the greatest four days of racing during the jumps season.

Another area that the staff will be sorting and getting to the highest possible standard is the track on both the new and the cold course with last minute changes and little tweaks being done with now just five weeks until we here the famous Cheltenham Roar at the start of the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

One of the biggest changes this season on the old course will be based around the penultimate and notoriously troublesome fence that is again being moved in position for the third time in nine years.

The movement and repositioning of the fence has come about after there was talks held between jockeys who have raced on the course, BHA senior inspector Richard Linney and the tracks itself.

The new placing of the fence will now be jumped over for the first time at the festival in the second race on the Tuesday and first Grade1 chase contest of the four days with the Racing Post Arkle.

Back in 2010 the fence was moved from the bottom of the hill on the straight after a handful of horses were suspected of falling after not making a mistake.This caused clerk of the course Simon Claisse to call it an "unreasonable challenge".

in 2016 the fence was moved again for the second time in six years after the rate of horses falling at that specific fence began to rise again and it was then moved eight yards further away from the turn for home.


In the third and hopefully final change up in position for the second to last fence, it is now being situated a further 10 yards past the turn and now leaves a total of 110 yards between the penultimate and last fence before the line.

One of the worst falls at that fence last season was in the RSA Chase where the Willie Mullins trainer Al Boum Photo crashed out of the race and leaving jockey Ruby Walsh with a fractured leg and saw him miss the rest of the festival.

(Credit Racing Post) Claisse said: "We felt if we moved that first fence in the home straight jockeys would have a better chance to get their horses balanced. We therefore decided we should give it a go, so that fence will now be another ten yards beyond the bend, equivalent to two strides.

"We have listened to the advice of the riders, including Richard Johnson, who told us this should help. That opinion is backed up by the senior inspector of courses, who says we should give it a try.

"Claisse added: "I don't think anyone would take the view that by giving the horses a little bit further off the turn before they jump the fence it could make things worse. It can only make things better. There are also racecourses where the final two fences are closer together than ours are now."