Following the cancellation of next week’s Randox Health Grand National due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ITV Racing has confirmed that it will broadcast a virtual simulation of the race.
The race, which will be broadcast at 17:00 on 4 April, will include the 40 runners who would have been most likely to take part using CGI technology and special algorithms. It is yet to be confirmed whether bookmakers will be permitted to take bets on the race.
Executive producer Rob McLoughlin 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.”
“In 2017, Cause Of Causes won the Virtual Grand National and came a close second in the real race hours later,” added Steve Rogers, chief commercial officer for Virtual Sports at Inspired.
“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.”
Earlier this month, Jockey Club Racecourses confirmed that the three-day festival would not take place. The racecourse group, which owns Aintree Racecourse, emphasised that the decision was in-line with recent government restrictions on travel and social gatherings.