Q&A: Fencing rules

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The Independent Online
Q. I have noticed while watching jump racing that there are more obstacles in steeplechases than in hurdle races. What are the rules that govern this?

A. Steeplechase fences must not be less than 4ft 6in in height, the only exception to this is the water jump. Fences fall into two types, plain and open ditch. An open ditch is a plain fence with a ditch on the take-off side, thus forcing the horse to make a longer jump than at a plain fence. There are at least six fences to each mile of a steeplechase, one of which must be an open ditch.

Hurdles are constructed in sections and are 3ft 6in in height. There must be eight hurdles in the first two miles of a race and one additional flight for every completed quarter-mile after that. - Peter Radcliffe, Tyldesley, Manchester

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If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894

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