Four obstacles were remodelled with a softer core to be “more forgiving” following the deaths of two horses, including Gold Cup winner Synchronised, in April’s Grand National.
The fences were tested at the meeting on Saturday (8 December) in the Becher Chase and Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.
Although there were fallers — three out of 16 in the Becher and two from nine in the Grand Sefton — none were over the remodelled fences and all horses were unhurt.
“Outwardly, the fences are no different from the existing ones,” said clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch.
“It was a good day’s racing and feedback from jockeys has all been positive.
“And the mounted support [former jockeys Lee Enstone and Steve Wynne acted as outriders], which was tried for the first time, certainly helped, though it’s difficult to catch loose horses.
“We’ll review it now before April’s race.”
H&H columnist and jockey Choc Thornton was in support, saying that the fences “rode great and are well presented”.
Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare was also positive.
“The initial indications of how the trial fences jumped, and how they stood up to being jumped, seem encouraging,” he said.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 December 2012)