In any other year, thousands of punters across the country would have been tipping their runners and riders to succeed in the Grand National in the build-up to the big race.
However, this is not a normal year. The Grand National has been cancelled following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but the show will go on in virtual form.
In past years, the Virtual Grand National has been a strong indicator of how the main event will run, with some real success in predicting the eventual winner.
Algorithms containing detailed statistics and information about each horse come together to generate a CGI race, and this year’s VGN will be aired on ITV in the absence of the real-world showdown.
Who won the Virtual Grand National in 2018?
In 2018, it correctly predicted that 10/1 shot Tiger Roll would waltz home to victory, delighting fans throughout the nation.
A year before Tiger Roll was correctly predicted to be crowned at Aintree, the inaugural Virtual Grand National tipped Cause Of Causes to win in 2017.
He finished second in the real race, narrowly behind One For Arthur.
Steve Rogers of Inspired Entertainment said: “The 2018 result was breathtaking. We were in disbelief for days afterwards.
“The races stand out on their own as sport and entertainment even without the extra ingredient of attempting to tell the nation where their favourite may finish.
“In 2017 the algorithm came up with six of the top ten finishers and the runner-up in the real race won the Virtual Grand National.
“In 2018 it selected six of only 12 finishers and the winner,” he added.
Who won the Virtual Grand National in 2019?
Rathvinden came out top in this year’s CGI race, followed by 2018 Grand National winner Tiger Roll. In third place was Jury Duty followed by Anibale Fly in fourth.
We’ll never know whether Tiger Roll would have made history in 2020 as only the second horse ever to win the Grand National three times, and the first to win it three times in a row, but we can still soak up the drama from the comfort of our homes.
Watch the Virtual Grand National
Check out our full guide to watch the Virtual Grand National from 5:00pm on Saturday 4th April.