It's a race for heroes.
Brave horses like Red Rum, Aldaniti and Tiger Roll, and courageous jockeys like Bob Champion, Brian Fletcher and Ruby Walsh.
But in 2020 those incredible heroes from our NHS will be the winners of the Virtual Grand National.
Because all profits from bets placed with bookies on the big race, screened 'live' by ITV at 5pm on Saturday, will go to our nurses and medical staff in the front line of the fight against Coronavirus.
All bookies will offer the same prices on the Virtual Race, with a maximum bet level of £10.
Bet £20 get free £20 bet for new customers on all sports or virtual sports
Online bookies thepools.com is offering new customers a chance to have a go on all sports and virtual sports.
Place a minimum £20 in total cash bets on any sports or virtual sports market and they will give you a further £20 in free bets.
Have the choice of placing bets in four of the bookies' virtual markets: football, horse racing, motor racing and greyhounds.
While look out for sports markets in horse racing, greyhounds and worldwide football.
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The Virtual Grand National has been run since 2017, with remarkably similar results to the real thing.
In 2017 the Virtual Race winner Cause of Causes came second in the real thing, in 2018 the Virtual Race called the real winner, Tiger Roll, correctly, while last year the computer simulator predicted that Rathvinden would win, ahead of Tiger Roll – in the real thing Tiger Roll came first with Rathvinden third.
Tiger Roll has been denied the chance to make history and match Red Rum's achievement of three Grand National victories, but the plucky horse will be favourite to land the Virtual race which is due to go under starter's orders at 5.15pm on Saturday.
The TV special will feature the 40 horses and riders who were most likely to run in the Aintree spectacular.
It will answer the key question in racing could the Tiger have won the 2020 race and entered the history books as a three times back-to-back winner?
"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," said Rob McLoughlin, the Executive Producer.
"Its very sad not to have the real race but this is fascinating and fun and as proven since 2017 incredibly accurate."
"It is the dream race, the one everyone will want to see, the legend and the competitor head-to-head and it can only happen as part of this ITV special," said Champion jockey and Aintree legend Richard Pitman, who rode 427 winners in his career and almost won the National on Crisp.
The animation is incredibly realistic and created by Inspired Entertainment.
"In 2017, Cause of Causes won the Virtual Grand National and came a close second in the real race hours later," said Steve Rogers, Chief Commercial Officer for Virtual Sports at Inspired.
"The 2018 result was breathtaking as Tiger Roll won both in almost identical circumstances and the computer chose three of the top five finishers, including the Tiger, in 2019.
"My team have been working round the clock to make this year even more realistic than ever, and we can’t wait to screen the Red Rum versus Tiger Roll match. It’s terrific TV."
The TV concept was created by Broadcaster Rob McLoughlin of Carm Productions, a former Director of Granada Television who grew up in Maghull (the town alongside Aintree) where the first National was run in the 19th Century. Rob describes the programme as "almost every punter’s dream come true."
"It is brave to preview the most unpredictable race of all, but also great fun. In 2018 it was astonishing to be able to tell the country who would win – and to do it in almost identical circumstances!
"In these difficult times we want the public to simply enjoy the race that sadly never was and think about what might have been."
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