Everything you need to know about this weekend's virtual Grand National

Tiger Roll will have his chance to make history and bid for a third consecutive win in the Grand National after all, well...sort of.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 12:01 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 12:02 pm
Tiger Roll. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Grand National was cancelled for the first time in peacetime in its 181-year history this year due to the Coronavirus, but racing fans can cheer on the 40-horse field in the virtual race.

The NHS will be the biggest winner of the race with all profits from bets expected to raise £1million to support NHS charities.

Each year a virtual Grand National is run, in 2018 the computer correctly predicted Tiger Roll to win and got three of the top five finishers correct.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This year ITV will be showing the virtual race where they would normally show the live coverage from Aintree. Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's contest from GrandNational.org.uk.

Red Rum vs Tiger Roll

There will also be a special race of champions taking place where the winners from history will meet.

Red Rum’s record three wins in the Grand National look to be safe given Tiger Roll has a tough ask to win it next year age 11.

However, the two Aintree legends will take each other on in a virtual race.

When is it?

The Grand National brings the curtain down on a three-day festival of racing at Aintree, but is not taking place this year.

A CGI version of the race will take place in its absence and the 40 virtual runners and riders will take to the course shortly after 5:00pm.

What channel?

ITV will be showing the virtual Grand National on ITV1 and the ITV hub for all to watch.

Can you bet?

Yes - the race will be simulated based on the form and other factors affecting a real race, so seasoned punters who have been studying up all season can still get involved.

Those looking to have their traditional once-a-year flutter will also be able to make their picks based on the usual criteria of names and colours, as they would in a normal race, with odds reflecting the real-life chances of the runners and riders.

A number of bookmakers will have odds on their websites ahead of the race and Tiger Roll is expected to lead the market.

£10 is the maximum state available and bookmakers are making profits available to the NHS Charities Group.

Familiar face to watch

The David Pipe-trained Ramses De Teillee was an emphatic 17-length winner of the Grade Two River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster in January, staying on strongly under Tom Scudamore. He was then successful again at Haydock before failing to get going when 13th in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old had been a popular ante-post choice for the Grand National despite pulling up after a mistake halfway through the race last year. He’s a proven stayer and if things go his way he can certainly finish well.

‘The great race will still be remembered’

A spokesperson for GrandNational.org.uk said: “The Virtual Grand National is set to be a great television event and huge credit must go to the organisers for putting on the nation's favourite race at a time when sports fans are starved of live action.

"The betting industry deserves even more praise for agreeing to pass on profits to the NHS Charites Group and it's a great sign of the country pulling together in a time of need.

"Tiger Roll, the most popular horse in training, looks sure to go off as favourite and whilst he won't go into the record books the same way as Red Rum with a third victory, an emphatic win would ensure that 2020's version of the great race lives long in the memory all the same."