The biggest weekend of the horse racing calendar has arrived with the showpiece event on the British calendar, The Grand National, thudding onto our screens this Saturday.
But before the main race kicks off, a growing phenomenon will take centre-stage. The Virtual Grand National has made for popular viewing ahead of the last few races.
The virtual equivalent has proven itself with remarkably accurate and close results giving an indicator for the result of the real-world race to come.
In 2020, it was the closest we got to a Grand National race due to the COVID-19 pandemic taking a grip on the UK, but this year, it’s back and ready to thrill once more.
Using a variety of algorithms and stats, the computer system has been used to predict the winner of previous races, and now all eyes will be on it ahead of the main event.
RadioTimes.com brings you all the details ahead of The Virtual Grand National 2021.
When is The Virtual Grand National 2021?
The Virtual Grand National takes place on Saturday 10th April 2021.
Last year it was the only version of The Grand National that actually ran due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year it will serve as a prelude to the main, real-world event.
What time is The Virtual Grand National 2021?
The show begins at 12:55pm and runs until 2pm with the race slotted in the middle of it all.
Stay tuned in to witness the race as well as other features and explanations of how the race works in the virtual world.
How to watch The Virtual Grand National 2021
Fans can tune in to watch The Virtual Grand National for free on ITV from 12:55pm.
You can also live stream the race via ITV Hub on a range of devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Who has won The Virtual Grand National before?
The Virtual Grand National has proven itself to be a great indicator of how the real-world race will actually pan out, though not always completely accurate.
The Virtual Grand National successfully picked the winner of the real race in 2018. Tiger Roll triumphed in the VGN before seizing the first of two victories at Aintree.
In 2019, Rathvinden won the VGN with Tiger Roll in second, but the latter stole the show in the real world.
And before all of that, in 2017, Cause Of Causes won the VGN and finished second in the real-life race.
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.