The Jockey Club has announced new safety measures ahead of the 2024 Randox Grand National at Aintree.

The move comes amid concerns for animal welfare after two horses died on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday (March 12).

The Aintree event will see a number of changes with five safety measures introduced to reduce the risk of incidents during the race.

The changes include a reduction in the number of runners from 40, which was introduced in 1984, to 34.

The first fence has been moved closer to the start line to reduce the speed of the horses at the start of the race.

The race time of the Grand National has been moved forward to ensure there are optimal ground conditions.

Infrastructure changes to the course have been made, which include a height reduction in some fences, rubber toe boards on every fence and widened walkways.

Nevin Truesdale, Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said the changes to the Grand National are part of the organisation’s “relentless focus on welfare”.

The changes were introduced after last year’s Grand National where an animal rights group held protests.

According to Animal Aid, 76 horses have died at Cheltenham Festival since 2000, with 59 horses dying at the three-day Grand National meeting.

This year’s Grand National takes place on Saturday April 13.