ITV, 5pm, Saturday 4th April 2020

The Virtual Grand National which features the Grand National Race of Champions is to go ahead despite the decision to cancel this year’s Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.

The TV special will feature the 40 horses and riders who were most likely to run in the Aintree spectacular. It will answer the key question in racing could Tiger Roll have won the 2020 race and entered the history books as a three times back-to-back winner?

“We use the latest CGI technology and algorithms and we’re ready for Tiger Roll to be a forerunner but now we want to cheer the nation up and we’ll ask the computer if history could have been made” said Rob McLoughlin, the Executive Producer; “Its 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”.

The special will also pit Red Rum and Tiger Roll against each other in the Race of Champions alongside 38 other champions who will race over the real Aintree jumps and famous course.

“It is the dream race, the one everyone will want to see, the legend and the competitor head-to-head and it can only happen as part of this ITV special” said Champion jockey and Aintree legend Richard Pitman, who rode 427 winners in his career and almost won the National on Crisp.“Both were trained for the flat, both are small and both have found a natural home over the Aintree jumps, so to see them compete with 38 other famous legends over the real course and famous fences will be magnificent,” concluded Pitman.

Richard joins Nick Luck and guests for The Virtual Grand National TV special.

The animation is created by Inspired Entertainment – Inspired has been recreating the action and settings of some of the world’s most famous sporting events for over 15 years.  The Company’s award-winning virtual sports are popular worldwide, appealing to a wide variety of players through more than 40,000 retail channels and 100+ websites in 35 countries.


“In 2017, Cause of Causes won the Virtual Grand National and came a close second in the real race hours later,” said 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.”

The TV concept was created by Broadcaster Rob McLoughlin of Carm Productions, a former Director of Granada Television who grew up in Maghull (the town alongside Aintree) where the first National was run in the 19th century. Rob describes the programme as “almost every punter’s dream come true.”

“It is brave to preview the most unpredictable race of all, but also great fun. In 2018 it was astonishing to be able to tell the country who would win—and to do it in almost identical circumstances!”

“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 2019 Tiger Roll was placed second and the winner Rathvinden came third so the computer has been remarkably accurate  I think the use of virtual technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence) ahead of great sporting events will become the ‘norm’ in the future,” he concluded.

Chris Cowey returns as Director along with Producer Mark Alderton and Peter Eaton as Advisor, (his family won the race with Amberleigh House).


The full list of runners:
Runner Number Name Jockey Price Wgt
1 Tiger Roll Davy Russell 5/1 11-10
2 Bristol De Mai Daryl Jacob 20/1 11-8
3 Aso Charlie Deutsch 66/1 11-2
4 Elegant Escape Jonjo O’Neill Jr. 20/1 11-2
5 Anibale Fly Barry Geraghty 20/1 11-2
6 Top Ville Ben Tom Dowson 45/1 11-2
7 Beware The Bear Jerry McGrath 33/1 11-0
8 Peregrine Run Kevin Sexton 66/1 10-13
9 Jett Sam Waley-Cohen 50/1 10-13
10 Alpha Des Obeaux Richard Johnson 25/1 10-13
11 Total Recall Paul Townend 40/1 10-13
12 The Storyteller Keith Donoghue 40/1 10-12
13 Magic Of Light Robbie Power 18/1 10-12
14 Talkischeap Tom Cannon 25/1 10-11
15 Yala Enki Bryony Frost 28/1 10-11
16 Ballyoptic Sam Twiston-Davies 25/1 10-11
17 Burrows Saint Rachael Blackmore 12/1 10-10
18 Definitly Red Brian Hughes 14/1 10-10
19 Sub Lieutenant JJ Slevin 33/1 10-9
20 Ok Corral Derek O’Connor 25/1 10-9
21 Tout Est Permis Sean Flanagan 80/1 10-9
22 Vintage Clouds Danny Cook 33/1 10-8
23 Crievehill Tom Bellamy 66/1 10-8
24 Lake View Lad Henry Brooke 50/1 10-8
25 Jury Duty Mark Enright 40/1 10-8
26 Pleasant Company David Mullins 28/1 10-7
27 Acapella Bourgeois Danny Mullins 33/1 10-6
28 Shattered Love Lisa O’Neill 66/1 10-6
29 Any Second Now Mark Walsh 10/1 10-6
30 Potters Corner Jack Tudor 18/1 10-6
31 Dounikos Luke Dempsey 50/1 10-5
32 Kildisart Nico de Boinville 50/1 10-5
33 Death Duty Gavin Brouder 50/1 10-5
34 Ramses De Teillee Tom Scudamore 66/1 10-5
35 Valtor James Bowen 66/1 10-4
36 Saint Xavier David Maxwell 66/1 10-4
37 Warriors Tale Harry Cobden 80/1 10-4
38 Double Shuffle Jonathan Burke 100/1 10-4
39 Kimberlite Candy Richie McLernon 16/1 10-4
40 Walk In The Mill James Best 16/1 10-4