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Becher's Brook

Becher's Brook

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Becher's Brook is a fence jumped during the Grand National
Grand National
The Grand National is a world-famous National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of four miles and 856 yards , with horses jumping thirty fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course...

, a National Hunt horse race
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

 held annually at Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England.It was served by Aintree Racecourse railway station until the station closed in the 1960s....

 near Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England. It is jumped twice during the race, as the sixth and 22nd fence, as well as on four other occasions during the year. It has always been a notorious and controversial obstacle, because of the size and angle of the 6ft 9in drop on the landing side. Some jockeys have compared it to "jumping off the edge of the world."

Following the fall of six horses at the fence during the 1989 Grand National
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

—including the deaths of two, Brown Trix and Seeandem—the course executive bowed to pressure from animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 groups and modified the fence for 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

. Two horses, Ornais and Dooneys Gate, died during the 2011 National, the latter at Becher's Brook. Dooneys Gate's death resulted in the fence being jumped only once for the first time in the race's history; it was bypassed on the outside on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to him.

History


The fence took its name from Captain Martin Becher
Martin Becher
Martin William Becher was a former soldier and steeplechase jockey in whose memory the infamous Becher's Brook obstacle at Aintree Racecourse is named.-Military career:...

, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839
1839 Grand National
The 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase was the first official annual running of a steeplechase which later became known as the Grand National.It was held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 26 February 1839 and attracted a field of seventeen runners.Although recorded by the press at...

, and took shelter in the brook to avoid injury. The jump originally consisted of an 8ft-wide brook with a fence set back a yard in front of the water, the ground on the landing side 3ft lower than the take-off side.

Modifications


Slight amendments were made to the landing side of Becher's Brook in 1954 after recommendations were made to the National Hunt Committee, but the most significant modifications took place following the events of the 1989 Grand National.
  • The sharply sloped ground leading into the brook on the landing side was levelled off significantly;
  • Brook raised by 30in to include only 1in of water;
  • Fence angle altered to make it straighter so that horses on the inside and outside rise at a similar time;
  • Outside running rail splayed out to allow more room for horses landing wide


After a 8-horse pile up on the first circuit of the 2004 Grand National
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 where some horses rolled back towards the now mostly filled-in brook, for the 2005 Grand National
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 the brook itself was completely rebuilt. It was built deeper and included running water for the first time since 1989 and covered over with rubber matting in an effort to make the jump less hazardous for horses that had fallen.

In 2009 the Grand National course was widened so there was enough room for runners to bypass fences if required, including Becher's Brook. The new bypass lane at Becher's was utilised for the first time during the 2011 Grand National
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

 as marshals and safely personnel waved flags and diverted the remaining contenders around the fence on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to a fatally-injured horse.

On 15 August 2011, Aintree announced new modifications to Becher's Brook following a review of the course in the aftermath of the 2011 National. Amongst the changes to the course, the landing side of Becher's would be re-profiled to reduce the current drop by between 10 cm (4 inches) and 12.5 cm (5 inches) across the width of the fence. After the work is completed the drop will be approximately 25 cm (10 inches) on the inside of the course and 15 cm (6 inches) on the outside of the course. This difference in drop from the inside to the outside of the fence is being retained to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and also to retain the unique characteristics of the fence. The height of the fence will remain unaltered at 4 ft 10 inches (1.47 metres).

Number of fallers


The following table shows the number of fallers at Becher's Brook during Grand Nationals, including those who unseated their riders or were brought down, but not including those that pulled up, were carried out, or refused at the fence.
{| class="wikitable sortable"
|-
! Year!! Falls !! Equine fatalities
|-
| 1946 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1960 || 6 ||
|-
| 1961 || 3 ||
|-
| 1962 || 0 ||
|-
| 1963 || 1 ||
|-
| 1964 || 1 ||
|-
| 1965 || 6 ||
|-
| 1966 || 6 ||
|-
| 1967
1967 Grand National
Much of the early stages of the race were inconsequential, with 28 of the 44 competitors having safely cleared the 22nd fence, Becher's Brook on the second circuit....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1968 || 4 ||
|-
| 1969 || 3 ||
|-
| 1970 || 2 ||
|-
| 1971 || 5 ||
|-
| 1972 || 6 ||
|-
| 1973
1973 Grand National
The 1973 Grand National was the 127th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 31 March 1973....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1974 || 0 ||
|-
| 1975 || 4 || 1
|-
| 1976 || 7 ||
|-
| 1977
1977 Grand National
The 1977 Grand National was the 131st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 2 April 1977....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 1978 || 4 ||
|-
| 1979 || 5 || 1
|-
| 1980 || 5 ||
|-
| 1981
1981 Grand National
The 1981 Grand National was the 135th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1981....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1982
1982 Grand National
The 1982 Grand National was the 136th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1982....

 || 6 ||
|-
| 1983
1983 Grand National
The 1983 Grand National was the 137th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1983....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1984
1984 Grand National
The 1984 Grand National was the 138th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1984....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1985
1985 Grand National
The 1985 Grand National was the 139th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1985....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1986
1986 Grand National
The 1986 Grand National was the 140th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1986....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1987
1987 Grand National
The 1987 Grand National was the 141st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, in April 1987....

 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1988
1988 Grand National
The 1988 Grand National was the 142nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1988....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1989
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

 || 6 || 2
|-
| 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1991
1991 Grand National
The 1991 Grand National was the 145th renewal of the Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 6 April 1991....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1992
1992 Grand National
The 1992 Grand National was the 146th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1992....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1993
1993 Grand National
The 1993 Grand National was scheduled on 3 April 1993 to be the 147th official renewal of the Grand National horse race, held annually at Aintree near Liverpool, England....

 (void) || 0 ||
|-
| 1994
1994 Grand National
The 1994 Grand National was the 147th official renewal the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1994....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1995
1995 Grand National
The 1995 Grand National was the 148th official renewal of the famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1995....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1996
1996 Grand National
The 1996 Grand National was the 149th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 30 March 1996....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1997
1997 Grand National
The 1997 Grand National was the 150th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase held at Aintree near Liverpool, England...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1998
1998 Grand National
The 1998 Grand National was the 151st official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1998....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1999
1999 Grand National
The 1999 Grand National was the 152nd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 1999....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 2000
2000 Grand National
The 2000 Grand National was the 153rd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 8 April 2000....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2001
2001 Grand National
The 2001 Grand National was the 154th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 2001....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2002
2002 Grand National
The 2002 Grand National was the 155th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, at 3:45pm BST on 6 April 2002....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2003
2003 Grand National
The 2003 Grand National was the 156th renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree at 3:45pm BST, on 5 April 2003....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2004
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 || 9 ||
|-
| 2005
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2006
2006 Grand National
The 2006 Grand National was the 159th official annual running of the Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 2006 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £689,360 including £399,140 to the...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2007
2007 Grand National
The 2007 Grand National was the 160th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 14 April 2007 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for a total prize money of £700,000...

 || 5 ||
|-
| 2008
2008 Grand National
The 2008 Grand National was the 161st official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 5 April 2008 and attracted the maximum allowed field of 40 competitors, for total prize money of £450,640.Joint-favourite...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2009
2009 Grand National
The 2009 Grand National was the 162nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 2009...

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2010
2010 Grand National
The 2010 Grand National was the 163rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 2010....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2011
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

* || 4 || 1

Becher's Brook (icon ) is a fence jumped during the Grand National
Grand National
The Grand National is a world-famous National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of four miles and 856 yards , with horses jumping thirty fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course...

, a National Hunt horse race
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

 held annually at Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England.It was served by Aintree Racecourse railway station until the station closed in the 1960s....

 near Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England. It is jumped twice during the race, as the sixth and 22nd fence, as well as on four other occasions during the year. It has always been a notorious and controversial obstacle, because of the size and angle of the 6ft 9in drop on the landing side. Some jockeys have compared it to "jumping off the edge of the world."

Following the fall of six horses at the fence during the 1989 Grand National
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

—including the deaths of two, Brown Trix and Seeandem—the course executive bowed to pressure from animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 groups and modified the fence for 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

. Two horses, Ornais and Dooneys Gate, died during the 2011 National, the latter at Becher's Brook. Dooneys Gate's death resulted in the fence being jumped only once for the first time in the race's history; it was bypassed on the outside on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to him."Grand National 2011: emotions run high at Aintree, but thrilling race is marred by death of two horses", The Sunday Telegraph, April 10, 2011.

History


The fence took its name from Captain Martin Becher
Martin Becher
Martin William Becher was a former soldier and steeplechase jockey in whose memory the infamous Becher's Brook obstacle at Aintree Racecourse is named.-Military career:...

, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839
1839 Grand National
The 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase was the first official annual running of a steeplechase which later became known as the Grand National.It was held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 26 February 1839 and attracted a field of seventeen runners.Although recorded by the press at...

, and took shelter in the brook to avoid injury. The jump originally consisted of an 8ft-wide brook with a fence set back a yard in front of the water, the ground on the landing side 3ft lower than the take-off side.

Modifications


Slight amendments were made to the landing side of Becher's Brook in 1954 after recommendations were made to the National Hunt Committee, but the most significant modifications took place following the events of the 1989 Grand National.
  • The sharply sloped ground leading into the brook on the landing side was levelled off significantly;
  • Brook raised by 30in to include only 1in of water;
  • Fence angle altered to make it straighter so that horses on the inside and outside rise at a similar time;
  • Outside running rail splayed out to allow more room for horses landing wide


After a 8-horse pile up on the first circuit of the 2004 Grand National
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 where some horses rolled back towards the now mostly filled-in brook, for the 2005 Grand National
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 the brook itself was completely rebuilt. It was built deeper and included running water for the first time since 1989 and covered over with rubber matting in an effort to make the jump less hazardous for horses that had fallen.

In 2009 the Grand National course was widened so there was enough room for runners to bypass fences if required, including Becher's Brook. The new bypass lane at Becher's was utilised for the first time during the 2011 Grand National
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

 as marshals and safely personnel waved flags and diverted the remaining contenders around the fence on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to a fatally-injured horse.

On 15 August 2011, Aintree announced new modifications to Becher's Brook following a review of the course in the aftermath of the 2011 National. Amongst the changes to the course, the landing side of Becher's would be re-profiled to reduce the current drop by between 10 cm (4 inches) and 12.5 cm (5 inches) across the width of the fence. After the work is completed the drop will be approximately 25 cm (10 inches) on the inside of the course and 15 cm (6 inches) on the outside of the course. This difference in drop from the inside to the outside of the fence is being retained to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and also to retain the unique characteristics of the fence. The height of the fence will remain unaltered at 4 ft 10 inches (1.47 metres).

Number of fallers


The following table shows the number of fallers at Becher's Brook during Grand Nationals, including those who unseated their riders or were brought down, but not including those that pulled up, were carried out, or refused at the fence.
{| class="wikitable sortable"
|-
! Year!! Falls !! Equine fatalities
|-
| 1946 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1960 || 6 ||
|-
| 1961 || 3 ||
|-
| 1962 || 0 ||
|-
| 1963 || 1 ||
|-
| 1964 || 1 ||
|-
| 1965 || 6 ||
|-
| 1966 || 6 ||
|-
| 1967
1967 Grand National
Much of the early stages of the race were inconsequential, with 28 of the 44 competitors having safely cleared the 22nd fence, Becher's Brook on the second circuit....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1968 || 4 ||
|-
| 1969 || 3 ||
|-
| 1970 || 2 ||
|-
| 1971 || 5 ||
|-
| 1972 || 6 ||
|-
| 1973
1973 Grand National
The 1973 Grand National was the 127th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 31 March 1973....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1974 || 0 ||
|-
| 1975 || 4 || 1
|-
| 1976 || 7 ||
|-
| 1977
1977 Grand National
The 1977 Grand National was the 131st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 2 April 1977....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 1978 || 4 ||
|-
| 1979 || 5 || 1
|-
| 1980 || 5 ||
|-
| 1981
1981 Grand National
The 1981 Grand National was the 135th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1981....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1982
1982 Grand National
The 1982 Grand National was the 136th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1982....

 || 6 ||
|-
| 1983
1983 Grand National
The 1983 Grand National was the 137th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1983....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1984
1984 Grand National
The 1984 Grand National was the 138th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1984....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1985
1985 Grand National
The 1985 Grand National was the 139th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1985....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1986
1986 Grand National
The 1986 Grand National was the 140th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1986....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1987
1987 Grand National
The 1987 Grand National was the 141st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, in April 1987....

 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1988
1988 Grand National
The 1988 Grand National was the 142nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1988....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1989
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

 || 6 || 2
|-
| 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1991
1991 Grand National
The 1991 Grand National was the 145th renewal of the Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 6 April 1991....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1992
1992 Grand National
The 1992 Grand National was the 146th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1992....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1993
1993 Grand National
The 1993 Grand National was scheduled on 3 April 1993 to be the 147th official renewal of the Grand National horse race, held annually at Aintree near Liverpool, England....

 (void) || 0 ||
|-
| 1994
1994 Grand National
The 1994 Grand National was the 147th official renewal the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1994....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1995
1995 Grand National
The 1995 Grand National was the 148th official renewal of the famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1995....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1996
1996 Grand National
The 1996 Grand National was the 149th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 30 March 1996....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1997
1997 Grand National
The 1997 Grand National was the 150th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase held at Aintree near Liverpool, England...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1998
1998 Grand National
The 1998 Grand National was the 151st official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1998....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1999
1999 Grand National
The 1999 Grand National was the 152nd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 1999....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 2000
2000 Grand National
The 2000 Grand National was the 153rd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 8 April 2000....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2001
2001 Grand National
The 2001 Grand National was the 154th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 2001....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2002
2002 Grand National
The 2002 Grand National was the 155th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, at 3:45pm BST on 6 April 2002....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2003
2003 Grand National
The 2003 Grand National was the 156th renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree at 3:45pm BST, on 5 April 2003....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2004
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 || 9 ||
|-
| 2005
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2006
2006 Grand National
The 2006 Grand National was the 159th official annual running of the Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 2006 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £689,360 including £399,140 to the...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2007
2007 Grand National
The 2007 Grand National was the 160th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 14 April 2007 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for a total prize money of £700,000...

 || 5 ||
|-
| 2008
2008 Grand National
The 2008 Grand National was the 161st official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 5 April 2008 and attracted the maximum allowed field of 40 competitors, for total prize money of £450,640.Joint-favourite...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2009
2009 Grand National
The 2009 Grand National was the 162nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 2009...

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2010
2010 Grand National
The 2010 Grand National was the 163rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 2010....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2011
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

* || 4 || 1

Becher's Brook (icon ) is a fence jumped during the Grand National
Grand National
The Grand National is a world-famous National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of four miles and 856 yards , with horses jumping thirty fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course...

, a National Hunt horse race
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

 held annually at Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse is a racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England.It was served by Aintree Racecourse railway station until the station closed in the 1960s....

 near Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England. It is jumped twice during the race, as the sixth and 22nd fence, as well as on four other occasions during the year. It has always been a notorious and controversial obstacle, because of the size and angle of the 6ft 9in drop on the landing side. Some jockeys have compared it to "jumping off the edge of the world."

Following the fall of six horses at the fence during the 1989 Grand National
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

—including the deaths of two, Brown Trix and Seeandem—the course executive bowed to pressure from animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 groups and modified the fence for 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

. Two horses, Ornais and Dooneys Gate, died during the 2011 National, the latter at Becher's Brook. Dooneys Gate's death resulted in the fence being jumped only once for the first time in the race's history; it was bypassed on the outside on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to him."Grand National 2011: emotions run high at Aintree, but thrilling race is marred by death of two horses", The Sunday Telegraph, April 10, 2011.

History


The fence took its name from Captain Martin Becher
Martin Becher
Martin William Becher was a former soldier and steeplechase jockey in whose memory the infamous Becher's Brook obstacle at Aintree Racecourse is named.-Military career:...

, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839
1839 Grand National
The 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase was the first official annual running of a steeplechase which later became known as the Grand National.It was held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 26 February 1839 and attracted a field of seventeen runners.Although recorded by the press at...

, and took shelter in the brook to avoid injury. The jump originally consisted of an 8ft-wide brook with a fence set back a yard in front of the water, the ground on the landing side 3ft lower than the take-off side.

Modifications


Slight amendments were made to the landing side of Becher's Brook in 1954 after recommendations were made to the National Hunt Committee, but the most significant modifications took place following the events of the 1989 Grand National.
  • The sharply sloped ground leading into the brook on the landing side was levelled off significantly;
  • Brook raised by 30in to include only 1in of water;
  • Fence angle altered to make it straighter so that horses on the inside and outside rise at a similar time;
  • Outside running rail splayed out to allow more room for horses landing wide


After a 8-horse pile up on the first circuit of the 2004 Grand National
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 where some horses rolled back towards the now mostly filled-in brook, for the 2005 Grand National
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 the brook itself was completely rebuilt. It was built deeper and included running water for the first time since 1989 and covered over with rubber matting in an effort to make the jump less hazardous for horses that had fallen.

In 2009 the Grand National course was widened so there was enough room for runners to bypass fences if required, including Becher's Brook. The new bypass lane at Becher's was utilised for the first time during the 2011 Grand National
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

 as marshals and safely personnel waved flags and diverted the remaining contenders around the fence on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to a fatally-injured horse.

On 15 August 2011, Aintree announced new modifications to Becher's Brook following a review of the course in the aftermath of the 2011 National. Amongst the changes to the course, the landing side of Becher's would be re-profiled to reduce the current drop by between 10 cm (4 inches) and 12.5 cm (5 inches) across the width of the fence. After the work is completed the drop will be approximately 25 cm (10 inches) on the inside of the course and 15 cm (6 inches) on the outside of the course. This difference in drop from the inside to the outside of the fence is being retained to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and also to retain the unique characteristics of the fence. The height of the fence will remain unaltered at 4 ft 10 inches (1.47 metres).

Number of fallers


The following table shows the number of fallers at Becher's Brook during Grand Nationals, including those who unseated their riders or were brought down, but not including those that pulled up, were carried out, or refused at the fence.
{| class="wikitable sortable"
|-
! Year!! Falls !! Equine fatalities
|-
| 1946 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1960 || 6 ||
|-
| 1961 || 3 ||
|-
| 1962 || 0 ||
|-
| 1963 || 1 ||
|-
| 1964 || 1 ||
|-
| 1965 || 6 ||
|-
| 1966 || 6 ||
|-
| 1967
1967 Grand National
Much of the early stages of the race were inconsequential, with 28 of the 44 competitors having safely cleared the 22nd fence, Becher's Brook on the second circuit....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1968 || 4 ||
|-
| 1969 || 3 ||
|-
| 1970 || 2 ||
|-
| 1971 || 5 ||
|-
| 1972 || 6 ||
|-
| 1973
1973 Grand National
The 1973 Grand National was the 127th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 31 March 1973....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1974 || 0 ||
|-
| 1975 || 4 || 1
|-
| 1976 || 7 ||
|-
| 1977
1977 Grand National
The 1977 Grand National was the 131st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 2 April 1977....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 1978 || 4 ||
|-
| 1979 || 5 || 1
|-
| 1980 || 5 ||
|-
| 1981
1981 Grand National
The 1981 Grand National was the 135th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1981....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1982
1982 Grand National
The 1982 Grand National was the 136th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1982....

 || 6 ||
|-
| 1983
1983 Grand National
The 1983 Grand National was the 137th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1983....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1984
1984 Grand National
The 1984 Grand National was the 138th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1984....

 || 5 ||
|-
| 1985
1985 Grand National
The 1985 Grand National was the 139th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1985....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1986
1986 Grand National
The 1986 Grand National was the 140th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, in April 1986....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1987
1987 Grand National
The 1987 Grand National was the 141st renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, in April 1987....

 || 2 || 1
|-
| 1988
1988 Grand National
The 1988 Grand National was the 142nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1988....

 || 4 ||
|-
| 1989
1989 Grand National
The 1989 Grand National was the 143rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1989....

 || 6 || 2
|-
| 1990
1990 Grand National
The 1990 Grand National was the 144th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 1990....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1991
1991 Grand National
The 1991 Grand National was the 145th renewal of the Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 6 April 1991....

 || 1 ||
|-
| 1992
1992 Grand National
The 1992 Grand National was the 146th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1992....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1993
1993 Grand National
The 1993 Grand National was scheduled on 3 April 1993 to be the 147th official renewal of the Grand National horse race, held annually at Aintree near Liverpool, England....

 (void) || 0 ||
|-
| 1994
1994 Grand National
The 1994 Grand National was the 147th official renewal the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1994....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 1995
1995 Grand National
The 1995 Grand National was the 148th official renewal of the famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 1995....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1996
1996 Grand National
The 1996 Grand National was the 149th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 30 March 1996....

 || 0 ||
|-
| 1997
1997 Grand National
The 1997 Grand National was the 150th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase held at Aintree near Liverpool, England...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1998
1998 Grand National
The 1998 Grand National was the 151st official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 1998....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 1999
1999 Grand National
The 1999 Grand National was the 152nd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 1999....

 || 7 || 1
|-
| 2000
2000 Grand National
The 2000 Grand National was the 153rd official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree on 8 April 2000....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2001
2001 Grand National
The 2001 Grand National was the 154th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 7 April 2001....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2002
2002 Grand National
The 2002 Grand National was the 155th official renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, at 3:45pm BST on 6 April 2002....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2003
2003 Grand National
The 2003 Grand National was the 156th renewal of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase that took place at Aintree at 3:45pm BST, on 5 April 2003....

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2004
2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was the 157th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 3 April 2004 and attracted the maximum permitted field of 40 competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the...

 || 9 ||
|-
| 2005
2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was the 158th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 9 April 2005 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £700,000 including £406,000 to...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2006
2006 Grand National
The 2006 Grand National was the 159th official annual running of the Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 8 April 2006 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for total prize money of £689,360 including £399,140 to the...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2007
2007 Grand National
The 2007 Grand National was the 160th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 14 April 2007 and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for a total prize money of £700,000...

 || 5 ||
|-
| 2008
2008 Grand National
The 2008 Grand National was the 161st official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 5 April 2008 and attracted the maximum allowed field of 40 competitors, for total prize money of £450,640.Joint-favourite...

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2009
2009 Grand National
The 2009 Grand National was the 162nd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree near Liverpool, England, on 4 April 2009...

 || 3 ||
|-
| 2010
2010 Grand National
The 2010 Grand National was the 163rd renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 10 April 2010....

 || 2 ||
|-
| 2011
2011 Grand National
The 2011 Grand National was the 164th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England....

* || 4 || 1
|}
*Only jumped once.

See also

  • List of equine fatalities in the Grand National
  • Canal Turn
    Canal Turn
    The Canal Turn is a fence on Aintree Racecourse's National Course and thus is jumped during the Grand National steeplechase which is held annually at the racecourse near Liverpool, England....

  • Foinavon
    Foinavon
    Foinavon was a relatively undistinguished Irish racehorse, until he became famous for winning the Grand National in 1967 after the rest of the field fell, refused or were hampered or brought down in a mêlée at the 23rd fence. He was at one time owned by Anne, Duchess of Westminster, whose colours...

  • The Chair
  • National Velvet
    National Velvet (film)
    National Velvet is a 1944 drama film, in Technicolor, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor....