What is the virtual Grand National?

In the absence of the real Grand National, which has been cancelled amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, ITV will be broadcasting a virtual equivalent.

The race will feature 40 horses, including Tiger Roll, who would have been aiming for a historic third consecutive victory in this race.

This is the fourth time there has been a virtual Grand National, but the first time that it has taken place instead of the real thing.

The outcome of the race is decided by a series of algorithms that predict how the race would play out.

Inspired Entertainment, the makers of the race, use CGI to recreate the make-up and look of the Aintree course, and feed information, form and all possible scenarios into the computer, which then simulates the outcome that we will all watch.

It is not just a random guess. In 2018, Tiger Roll won the simulated version before going on to win the real thing. The simulation matched three of the top five from the real race that year.

What time is it?

The virtual Grand National will take place at the same time as the real race would have done – 17:15 on Saturday April 4.

How can I watch it?

The race will be broadcast live on ITV1 and streamed live on ITV Hub.

ITV1 will also broadcast a simulated ‘Race of Champions’, which will feature legendary previous winners. The race will go some way to answering one of the great horse racing debates – who would have won between Tiger Roll and Red Rum in a Grand National?

Who is running?

Tiger Roll would have been aiming to win the Grand National for a historic third consecutive year, and will be the main point of focus for Saturday’s virtual race.

He will likely face competition from Definitly Red, Burrows Saint and Kimberlite Candy, although the field of 40 is not yet confirmed.

Can I bet on the virtual Grand National?

Yes, you will be able to back the horse that you fancy, with all profits from the 2020 races going to NHS Charities Together.

All markets will be available ahead of the race here:


Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.