Key changes to National start

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed several changes to the start of this year’s John Smith’s Grand National.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed several changes to the start of this year’s John Smith’s Grand National.

A regulatory committee of the BHA met on Monday and approved key recommendations earmarked by a Grand National review group.

These included moving the marker-poles 20 yards behind the starting tape.

It was also concluded that a sand line will be laid on the ground between the marker-poles, giving the jockeys a definitive line that must not be crossed before the race has started.

There will also be increased penalties for disobeying the starter, who will rotate between the senior starter and his deputy on an annual basis.

Independently chaired by Robert Waley-Cohen, members of the Grand National review group included Aintree clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch, Jonjo O’Neill, Ferdy Murphy, Tony McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald and Tony Dobbin.

Waley-Cohen said: “The group found that the delay in last year’s Grand National was not the fault of the senior starter.

“The delay was due to a variety of other factors and the group has therefore recommended a number of changes to the procedures to ensure such delays do not happen again.

“Moving the marker-poles back a considerable distance, and marking a line on the ground – along with a number of other relatively minor changes – will hopefully allow the race to start with the minimum of fuss.”

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