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Virtual Grand National to replace original race and broadcast on ITV

By Iqbal Johal

The Grand National will go ahead this weekend in virtual form, to be broadcast instead of the actual race, which was cancelled earlier this month.

ITV will show the virtual Grand National at 5pm on 4 April, which will feature the 40 runners most likely to take part in the original, using CGI technology and special algorithms.

A virtual Grand National has taken place every year since 2017, as a precursor to the main event, correctly predicting Tiger Roll to win the 2018 race and, last year, the virtual winner ended up third in the real race.

It was announced two weeks ago the original Randox Health Grand National was cancelled to limit the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

Executive Producer, who is of Carm Productions, Rob McLouglin said: “We use the latest CGI technology and algorithms and were ready to go ahead as a forerunner to the big race, but now we want to cheer the nation up and ask the computer if history could have been made.

“It’s very sad not to have the real race but this is fascinating and fun and, as proven since 2017, incredibly accurate.”

Bookmakers are expected to be taking bets on the race once the market opens up this week.

The broadcast will also feature a virtual Race of Champions, featuring iconic names such as 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll, and three-time winner Red Rum.

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