Will There be a Virtual Grand National Run in 2020?

Horse Logo with BorderThe Grand National may not be running this year at Aintree, but you will still be able to see how your favourite horses would fare thanks to the 2020 Virtual Grand National on Saturday April 4th.

The Virtual Grand National is a computer simulated running of the big race, which provides a winner, finishers, fallers and unseated riders.

The race is produced by Inspired, a computer technology developer who specialise in games and content for the betting industry. These include a range of virtual sports, slot games and casino table games.

Computer animators worked for months to produce realistic representations of the horses, the course and the crowd at Aintree with input from The Champ, AP McCoy, no less to make the race as realistic as possible.

Simulating how such a complex race is run is no easy feat, with hundreds of variables added into the mix, just like the real thing. How horses have run in previous races, the weather, going, records of the riders and trainers have all be used to make the algorithm that is used.

The Virtual Grand National was first run in 2017 and has been produced every year since. The race has been televised on ITV as part of their Aintree coverage, and they even have commentary from Stewart Machin. We will still get to see the virtual race in 2020 with the real version cancelled due to COVID-19.

Virtual Grand National 2020 Screenshot

A teaser trailer was added to YouTube just a few days ago but was taken down and put back up again. This has added some intrigue to whether we will see the Virtual Grand National this time around but there is now official confirmation that the computer generated race will run on Saturday April 4th at 5pm, shown on ITV.

Virtual Grand National 2020 Runners and Betting Odds

With the race and runners confirmed, a full A-Z of horses and their prices are shown in the table below.

Horse Odds Horse Odds
Acapella Bourgeois 33/1 Alpha Des Obeaux 25/1
Anibale Fly 20/1 Any Second Now 10/1
Aso 66/1 Ballyoptic 25/1
Beware The Bear 33/1 Bristol De Mai 20/1
Burrows Saint 12/1 Crievehill 66/1
Death Duty 50/1 Definitly Red 14/1
Double Shuffle 100/1 Dounikos 50/1
Elegant Escape 20/1 Jett 50/1
Jury Duty 40/1 Kidisart 50/1
Kimberlite Candy 16/1 Lake View Lad 50/1
Magic Of Light 18/1 Ok Corral 25/1
Peregrine Run 66/1 Pleasant Company 28/1
Potters Corner 18/1 Ramses De Teillee 66/1
Saint Xavier 66/1 Shattered Love 66/1
Sub Lieutenant 33/1 Talkischeap 25/1
The Storyteller 40/1 Tiger Roll 5/1
Top Ville Ben 45/1 Total Recall 40/1
Tout Est Permis 80/1 Valtor 66/1
Vintage Clouds 33/1 Walk In The Mill 16/1
Warriors Tale 80/1 Yala Enki 28/1

How Do the Virtual and Real Grand Nationals Compare?

We all know that predicting any Grand National can be extremely difficult. You can spend hours studying form only for your horse to be brought down at the first fence.

As a result, you would think that a computer simulation of the race would simply throw up a random result. But, that is far from true, with the Inspired Virtual Grand National picking out the winner in one out of three races so far, giving them a 33% strike rate. Not only that, they have picked up numerous placings between 2017 and 2019 giving some crucial insight for each way punters.

Year Virtual Grand National Winner Position in Real Grand National
2019 Rathvinden Third
2018 Tiger Roll First
2017 Cause Of Causes Second

As we mentioned above, the first race took place in 2017, with the Virtual race picking out Cause Of Causes to be the winner, and they weren’t far off the mark with Gordon Elliot and Jamie Codd’s charge second in the real race to One For Arthur.

In the placings they also had Vieux Lion Rouge in third, sixth in the real race. Similarly, Blacklion was fifth in the Virtual Grand National and one better in fourth in the real thing. All in all the simulation predicted six of the first ten in the National.

In 2018, the Virtual Grand National went one better by picking out Tiger Roll as their winner, who also edged the real race for trainer Gordon Elliot and jockey Davy Russell.

The simulation also had Anibale Fly in seventh, fourth in the real race and Vieux Lion Rouge in fifth, tenth in the Grand National itself.

The Virtual Grand National didn’t have Tiger Roll picking up a historic second successive win in 2019, but they did have him just a length back in second place. Their winner was Rathvinden who was third in the real National. They also had Anibale Fly in contention again, finishing fourth in the Virtual Grand National, one back in fifth in the real Grand National.

We will all miss the Grand National along with many other sporting events in 2020, but it will be interesting to see how the race might have panned out when we see the Virtual Grand National running in its absence.