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The Chair

For the method of execution nicknamed "the Chair", see electric chair.
For the game show, see The Chair (game show).
For the Country and Western song by George Strait, see The Chair (song).

The Chair is a fence jumped during the Grand National horse race at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England.

It is one of only two fences (the other being the Water Jump) in the race to be negotiated only once, and is the fifteenth fence in the race that the runners and riders tackle.

Positioned in front of the grandstand, it is the tallest fence in the race, at about 5 feet 2 inches, with a 6 foot open ditch positioned on the take off side of the fence. The Chair is also comfortably the narrowest fence on the Grand National course bar the water jump. The landing side of the Chair fence is actually raised (the reverse of Becher's Brook, where the landing side is lower). The ground effectively comes up to meet horse and rider quicker than anticipated.

Generally it is jumped fairly safely by most horses in the Grand National field, most probably due to the fairly lengthy run they have to the fence, and because, by the time the fence is approached, most of the runners have settled into a smooth running rhythm. However, it regularly claims victims including in the other races run over the National fences.

The Chair's most notorious pile up occurred during the 1979 Grand National, won by Rubstic. Two riderless horses veered across the main body of the runners and contributed to the falls or refusals of nine horses. For the following year's race, in which Ben Nevis returned and won after becoming one of the victims in the pile-up mentioned above, channels were installed around the fence so that loose horses reluctant to negotiate the obstacle were able to run around it rather than jump over it.

The current name (named after the chair sited alongside the fence, at which a judge used to sit) came into vogue at the turn of the last century, prior that it was known as the Monument fence or Made fence.


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