The Virtual Grand National is a growing tradition for race weekend ahead of the real-world main event.
Many punters use The Virtual Grand National as a chance to assess runners and riders ahead of the real race at Aintree, and will place their bets in accordance with the VGN results.
And history would suggest this isn’t always the worst idea. In three Virtual Grand Nationals that have been run before real-world races, the three virtual winners all finished in the top three during their real-world race.
The Virtual Grand National was a particularly strong indicator of how the main event will run in 2018 when it accurately predicted that Tiger Roll would storm to victory.
Even if you have little interest in horse racing, The Grand National transcends the sport and its virtual cousin appears to be here to stay with a primetime spot on ITV this Saturday.
RadioTimes.com brings you the lowdown on what to expect from The Virtual Grand National, how it works and who has won in the past.
What is The Virtual Grand National?
The Virtual Grand National is, well, a virtual version of the real thing.
A field of 40 runners and riders, matching that of the real-world field, is unleashed on the Aintree course in computer game form.
Algorithms containing detailed statistics and information about each horse and jockey are used to generate a CGI race with largely accurate results based on the history of the virtual race.
Who won The Virtual Grand National in 2020?
With the real-world race cancelled completely, The Virtual Grand National became the real deal.
The 2020 race was won by Potters Corner with Walk In The Mill second, Any Second Now third and superstar double-winner Tiger Roll coming in fourth.
We’ll never know how accurate this virtual race was given that it didn’t go ahead, but it was still enjoyable to soak up the virtual drama.
Who won The Virtual Grand National in 2019?
Rathvinden came out top in the 2019 CGI race, followed by 2018 Grand National winner Tiger Roll. In third place was Jury Duty followed by Anibale Fly in fourth.
Tiger Roll won the actual Grand National, with Rathvinden coming in a respectable third place, separated by Magic Of Light.
Who won The Virtual Grand National in 2018?
In 2018, the VGN correctly predicted that 10/1 shot Tiger Roll would waltz home to victory, delighting fans throughout the nation.
Steve Rogers of Inspired Entertainment said: “The 2018 result was breathtaking. We were in disbelief for days afterwards.
“In 2018 it selected six of only 12 finishers and the winner.
“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.”
Who won The Virtual Grand National in 2017?
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.
Rogers said: “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.”
How to watch The Virtual Grand National
You can soak up The Virtual Grand National for free live on ITV this weekend.
Check out our guide on how to watch The Virtual Grand National this Saturday.