Becher's Brook is a fence jumped during the Grand National, a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, 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 6 ft 9in drop on the landing side. Some jockeys have compared it to "jumping off the edge of the world."After the deaths of Dark Ivy in the 1987 Grand National and Seeandem and Brown Trix in the 1989 Grand National, all at Becher's Brook, Aintree bowed to pressure from animal rights groups and undertook extensive modifications to the fence. Further changes were made after two horses and Dooneys Gate, died during the 2011 Grand National, the latter at Becher's; the incident involving Dooneys Gate resulted in the fence being jumped only once for the first time in the race's history. The fence took its name from Captain Martin Becher, who fell there from his mount, Conrad, in the first official Grand National in 1839, took shelter in the brook to avoid injury.
The jump consisted of an 8 ft-wide brook with a fence set back a yard in front of the water, the ground on the landing side 3 ft lower than the take-off side. 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 1987 and 1989 Grand Nationals. In 1987, Dark Ivy, a grey horse, fell at the fence and landed perpendicular, incurring a cervical fracture which killed him instantly. In 1989, six horses fell at Becher's on the first circuit. Seeandem, ridden by Liam Cusack, broke his back and had to be euthanised, while Brown Trix, ridden by amateur jockey David Pitcher, fractured a shoulder and rolled down into the water-filled brook where he drowned, he was euthanised. By the time the remaining runners reached Becher's Brook on the second circuit, course officials had been unable to remove the bodies in time. Audiences were given a clear view of Brown Trix's body at one end of the fence and a green tarpaulin covering Seeandem's body at the other end of the fence.
Following an outcry, Aintree made several changes to the fence: The sloped ground leading into the brook on the landing side was levelled off significantly. The brook itself was raised by 30 inches to include only 1 inch of water. Outside running rails were splayed out to allow more room for horses landing wide. After an eight-horse pile up on the first circuit of the 2004 Grand National where some horses rolled back towards the filled-in brook, the brook was rebuilt in 2005, it was built deeper and included running water for the first time since 1989 but was 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 is enough room for runners to bypass fences if required, including Becher's Brook; the new bypass lane at Becher's was used for the first time during the 2011 Grand National as marshals waved flags and diverted the remaining contenders around the fence on the second circuit while veterinary staff attended to a fatally injured horse, Dooneys Gate, who had broken his back.
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 was re-profiled to reduce the current drop by between 4 and 5 inches across the width of the fence; the drop is now 10 inches on the inside of the course and 6 inches on the outside of the course. This difference in drop from the inside to the outside of the fence has been retained to encourage riders to spread out across the width of the fence and to retain the unique characteristics of the fence; the height of the fence remains unaltered at 4 ft 10 inches. The following table shows the number of fallers at Becher's Brook during the main Grand National race, 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. *Jumped only on first circuit. List of equine fatalities in the Grand National Canal Turn Foinavon The Chair National Velvet
1839 Grand National
The 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase was the first official annual running of a steeplechase which became known as the Grand National. It was held at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on Tuesday 26 February 1839 and attracted a field of 17 runners. Although recorded by the press at the time as the fourth running of the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, renamed the Grand National in 1847, the first three runnings were poorly organised affairs; this year the race came under new management and the arrival of the railway in Liverpool made travel to the course easier. The race was not run as a handicap chase and therefore all the runners carried twelve stone. Eighteen runners were declared to run in the race but shortly before the start Jerry was withdrawn; this left the field as follows: The start was situated near to where the modern day Melling Road is and took the runners out into open countryside, jumping a line of natural banks, no more than 2 feet high before reaching a post and rails over a brook.
They took the runners left towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, turning to run along the canalside back towards the racecourse, negotiating the Second Brook. The runners would enter the'racecourse proper' at the far end of the circuit to run back towards the stands, jumping a plain fence (the modern day Chair before jumping a wall topped with gorse; the field took another circuit of the course, this time bypassing the final two obstacles towards the finishing post. Paulina continued after being put at the fence a second time; the most famous incident of the race occurred at the fence known as the First Brook. Captain Becher had taken Conrad into second place at this stage but his mount failed to clear the rails and fell. Becher was forced to dive for cover into the brook itself as the other horses cleared the obstacle and legend has it that he was heard to tell the spectators that he did not realise how filthy water tasted without the benefit of whisky. Seconds William McDonough joined Becher in the brook after falling from Rust but it was the Captain's name attributed to the fence, now known as Becher's Brook.
Both riders remounted but Becher's race ended when his mount fell again at the Second Brook where both Barkston and Cannon Ball had fallen. It was one of these horses, while running loose, who ended the hopes of the favourite when The Nun was brought down shortly before rejoining the racecourse. Charity fell at the wall in front of the stands but was remounted. Railroad led at this stage with Lottery in second place but so slow was the pace of the race and so wide the distances between competitors that the favourite The Nun had managed to make up ground to move into third. Seventy-Four was fourth. On the second circuit, Charity fell before reaching the First Brook for the second time while Dictator fell at the fence situated at the turn by the canal but was remounted by Robert Carlin. Daxon and The Nun both fell for a second time at the next fence, the Second Brook, while Dictator fell there again, this time fatally, becoming the first equine fatality of the Grand National Jem Mason took Lottery into the lead at the First Brook and maintained it to the finish, winning more than the three-length margin suggested in a time of 14 minutes 53 seconds, 53 seconds outside the course record.
Lottery was prepared for the race at the stables of George Dockeray in Epsom, loosely regarded as the trainer but most of the preparation was more conducted by the owner, Piccadilly horse dealer John Elmore in whose colours of blue jacket and black cap the jockey rode. Seventy-Four was second, Paulina third and True Blue fourth. Pioneer was on course to finish third. Walker remounted but could only manage fifth place. Although regarded at the time as the fourth running of the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, this running went on to be regarded as the first official running of the Grand National; the finishing order was only loosely recorded in the press as Jack in sixth, The Nun seventh, Railroad eighth, Rambler ninth and Cramp the last of ten to pass the post. Record books show seven finishers though this is not supported by any press reports from the time. There was much criticism in the press over the severity of the event the conduct of Robert Carlin in remounting Dictator when witnesses described the horse as distressed.
His cause of death was recorded as a burst blood vessel. *NQ = not quoted *NQ = not quoted Irish Newsletter 1839 Liverpool Mercury 1839 The Times 1839
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. Horse races vary in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles, running over different distances, running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon and Egypt.
It plays an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek and Byzantine sports. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games, it continued although chariot racing was dangerous to both driver and horse, which suffered serious injury and death. In the Roman Empire and mounted horse racing were major industries. From the mid-fifteenth century until 1882, spring carnival in Rome closed with a horse race. Fifteen to 20 riderless horses imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, were set loose to run the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street. In times, Thoroughbred racing became, remains, popular with aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings". Equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and displayed the excellent horsemanship needed in battle.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between drivers. The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport; the popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. There are many different types of horse racing, including: Flat racing, where horses gallop directly between two points around a straight or oval track. Jump racing, or Jumps racing known as Steeplechasing or, in the UK and Ireland, National Hunt racing, where horses race over obstacles. Harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky. Saddle Trotting, where horses must trot from a starting point to a finishing point under saddle Endurance racing, where horses travel across country over extreme distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
Different breeds of horses have developed. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian and Appaloosa. Jump racing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. In harness racing, Standardbreds are used in Australia, New Zealand and North America, when in Europe and French Trotter are used with Standardbred. Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas. There are races for ponies: both flat and jump and harness racing. Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are oval in shape and are level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
Individual flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards up to two and a half miles, with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common. Short races are referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe. Although fast acceleration is required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina; the most prestigious flat races in the world, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby, Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, are run over distances in the middle of this range and are seen as tests of both speed and stamina to some extent. In the most prestigious races, horses are allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males; these races offer the biggest purses. There is another category of races called handicap races where each horse is assigned a different weight to carry based on its ability.
Beside the weight they carry, horses' performance can be influenced by position relative to the inside barrier, gender and training. Jump racing in Gr
William Craven, 2nd Earl of Craven
William Craven, 2nd Earl of Craven DL, styled Viscount Uffington until 1825, was a British peer. Craven was the son of William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, succeeded in the earldom in 1825, he was educated at Oxford. Craven was commissioned a captain in the Berkshire Regiment of Militia on 14 February 1829, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire on 11 January 1831 and of Berkshire on 20 October 1831. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire in 1853, held the office until 1856, when he resigned due to ill-health, he gave the architect W. Eden Nesfield his first important commission, to build a new wing to Combe Abbey. Lord Craven married Lady Emily Mary Grimston, daughter of James Grimston, 1st Earl of Verulam, on 5 September 1835, they had nine children: Lady Elizabeth Charlotte Louisa Craven, married first, on 11 August 1858, Arthur Egerton, 3rd Earl of Wilton and second, on 14 September 1886, Arthur Vickris Pryor, without issue from either marriage Capt. William Augustus Frederick Craven, Viscount Uffington Lady Evelyn Mary Craven, married first, on 7 August 1862, George John Brudenell-Bruce, second, on 4 December 1869, Henry Amelius Beauclerk Coventry, third, on 30 August 1877, Capt. George William Hutton Riddell, with issue from the first and second marriages, including George Brudenell-Bruce, 4th Marquess of Ailesbury George Grimston Craven, 3rd Earl of Craven and had issue Lady Blanche Craven, married, on 25 January 1865, George Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry and had issue Lady Beatrix Jane Craven, married, on 16 May 1865, George Cadogan, 5th Earl Cadogan and had issue Lady Emily Georgiana Craven, married, on 6 August 1868, Lt.-Col.
Victor William Bates Van de Weyer, son of Sylvain Van de Weyer, had issue Lieutenant-Colonel Hon. Osbert William Craven Hon. Robert Walter Craven. Naval Officer, was buried in The British Cemetery, Montevideo. Emily Mary, Countess of Craven, survived her husband by more than 30 years, died in London 21 May 1901. Lord Craven was the owner of the racehorse Charity. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Craven