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Virtual Grand National 2020: Start time, runners and riders and where to watch

mat-marshall
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Last updated: 03 Apr 2020
Mat Marshall 03 Apr 2020
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  • ITV Racing will broadcast the Virtual Grand National live this weekend
  • Virtual race takes place on Saturday, April 4th at 17:15 GMT
grand national tiger roll

With British horse racing suspended until the end of April due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Grand National was one of the high profile races to bite the dust. 

Back-to-back winner Tiger Roll was an 8-1 favourite for the race with the leading challengers including Burrows Saint (12-1), Any Second Now (12-1), Definitly Red (12-1) and Magic Of Light (16-1).

Thankfully the Grand National will still take place virtually, with a computer-simulated running of the race.

The simulation uses algorithms and CGI animation to run the race, designed to accurately recreate the world's most famous steeplechase. The Aintree racecourse and National fences have been graphically designed to make the viewing experience more realistic. 

The Grand National field will be made up of the 40 most likely runners scheduled for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National.

ITV Racing are set to broadcast the Virtual Grand National live on ITV1 on April 4 at 5pm GMT. The network will also be showing 'ITV Racing's Classic Races' on their YouTube channel with races selected by social media users.

The programme will be hosted by Nick Luck alongside Richard Pitman and Alice Plunkett. Other races on the program include a Race of Champions including former greats Red Rum and Tiger Roll.

Executive producer Rob McLoughlin said: "We use the latest CGI technology and algorithms and were ready to go ahead as a forerunner to the big race, but now we want to cheer the nation up and ask the computer if history could have been made.

"It's very sad not to have the real race but this is fascinating and fun and, as proven since 2017, incredibly accurate."

The horse racing simulation is produced by Inspired Entertainment. Chief commercial officer for virtual sports, Steve Rogers, said: "In 2017, Cause Of Causes won the Virtual Grand National and came a close second in the real race hours later.

"The 2018 result was breathtaking as Tiger Roll won both in almost identical circumstances and the computer chose three of the top five finishers, including the Tiger, in 2019.”

"My team have been working round the clock to make this year even more realistic than ever, and we can't wait to screen the Red Rum versus Tiger Roll match. It's terrific TV." 

A virtual horse race has been held since 2017 and has shown an ability to get close to forecasting the actual outcome.

"In 2017, Cause of Causes won the Virtual Grand National and came a close second in the real race hours later," explained Rogers.

"The 2018 result was breathtaking as Tiger Roll won both in almost identical circumstances and the computer chose three of the top five finishers, including the Tiger, in 2019."

2020 Virtual Grand National runners and riders


1 TIGER ROLL 11-10 Davy Russell

2 BRISTOL DE MAI 11-8 Daryl Jacob

3 ASO 11-2 Charlie Deutsch

4 ELEGANT ESCAPE 11-2 Jonjo O’Neill Jnr

5 ANIBALE FLY 11-2 Barry Geraghty

6 TOP VILLE BEN 11-2 Tom Dowson

7 BEWARE THE BEAR 11-0 Jerry McGrath

8 PEREGRINE RUN 10-13 Kevin Sexton

9 JETT 10-13 Sam Waley-Cohen

10 ALPHA DES OBEAUX 10-13 Richard Johnson

11 TOTAL RECALL 10-13 Paul Townend

12 THE STORYTELLER 10-12 Keith Donoghue

13 MAGIC OF LIGHT 10-12 Robbie Power

14 TALKISCHEAP 10-11 Tommy Cannon

15 YALA ENKI 10-11 Bryony Frost

16 BALLYOPTIC 10-11 Sam Twiston-Davies

17 BURROWS SAINT 10-10 Rachael Blackmore

18 DEFINITELY RED 10-10 Brian Hughes

19 SUB LIEUTENANT 10-9 JJ Slevin

20 OK CORRAL 10-9 Derek O’Connor

21 TOUT EST PERMIS 10-9 Shaun Flanagan

22 VINTAGE CLOUDS 10-8 Danny Cook

23 CRIEVEHILL 10-8 Tom Bellamy

24 LAKE VIEW LAD 10-8 Henry Brooke

25 JURY DUTY 10-8 Mark Enright

26 PLEASANT COMPANY 10-7 David Mullins

27 ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS 10-6 Danny Mullins

28 SHATTERED LOVE 10-6 Lisa O’Neill

29 ANY SECOND NOW 10-6 Mark Walsh

30 POTTERS CORNER 10-6 Jack Tudor

31 DOUNIKOS 10-5 Luke Dempsey

32 KILDISART 10-5 Nico De Boinville

33 DEATH DUTY 10-5 Gavin Brouder

34 RAMSES DE TEILLE 10-5 Tom Scudamore

35 VALTOR 10-4 James Bowen

36 SAINT XAVIER 10-4 David Maxwell

37 WARRIORS TALE 10-4 Harry Cobden

38 DOUBLE SHUFFLE 10-4 Jonathan Burke

39 KIMBERLITE CANDY 10-4 Richie McLernon

40 WALK IN THE MILL 10-4 James Best

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