Cheltenham's troublesome fence is on the move again in a bid to reduce fallers
The once notorious penultimate fence on Cheltenham's Old course is being moved for the third time in just nine years.
The repositioning of the jump follows talks between Cheltenham, jockeys and BHA senior inspector of courses Richard Linley. It will be negotiated for the first time in its new location in the Racing Post Arkle.
In 2010 the fence was switched from its old home towards the bottom of the hill after a number of horses were deemed to have fallen without having made a mistake, causing clerk of the course Simon Claisse to describe it as "an unreasonable challenge".
From that point it became one of two fences in the home straight but in 2016 Cheltenham moved the jump eight yards further away from the turn after its faller rate again began to rise.
The fence, at which Al Boum Photo fell in last season's RSA Chase leaving Ruby Walsh with a fractured leg, is now being placed another ten yards past the bend. That leaves a gap of 110 yards between the final two fences according to Linley.
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."
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