Following the cancellation of next week’s Randox Health Grand, National due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ITV Racing has announced a virtual simulation of the event will be shown.
The race to be broadcast on April 4 at 17:00, will involve the 40 runners who would have been most likely participated, worked out by using CGI technology and special algorithms. At this point it’s unknown whether bookmakers will be allowed to position bets on the race.
Rob McLoughlin, Executive Producer stated: “It’s very sad not to have the real race, but Inspired’s virtual race is fascinating and fun and has proven since 2017 to be incredibly accurate.
“It is brave to preview the most unpredictable race of all, but also great fun. In these difficult times we want the public to simply enjoy the race that sadly never was and think about what might have been.”
For a few years, Virtual Racing has been used primarily as an optional bonus, providing punters with even more racing action either during dry periods or leading to some of the biggest sporting events. But the virtual reality rivalry will be taking centre stage this year.
Steve Rogers, chief commercial officer for Virtual Sports at Inspired added: “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 Tiger Roll, 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.”
Jockey Club Racecourses announced earlier this month that the three-day festival would not go ahead. The racecourse group owner of Aintree Racecourse, highlighted that the move was in line the with recent government travel and social gathering restrictions.