Where to watch? How to bet? Find the answers below.
With the Grand National, one of the biggest events in the horse racing calendar, having been cancelled for this year, its virtual replacement has already received a great deal of attention. What is the virtual Grand National? Using CGI technology and special algorithms, some 40 runners and riders will battle it out virtually, with bookmakers offering punters the chance to bet on the race, which will be televised live on ITV.
The winners and losers will be determined by pre-race information including recent form and going preferences, with bookies expected to donate all profits to the NHS, while a maximum bet of £10 is likely to be available to punters looking to get involved.
With this year’s Grand National having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, broadcaster ITV are set to take the unprecedented step of putting on a virtual replacement. Taking place on Saturday 4th April at 17:00 BST, the Virtual Grand National 2020 is expected to attract millions of viewers, who are all looking to get their fix of live sport.
Despite the ITV virtual Grand National not having the hundreds of thousands of fans in attendance, the excitement could well be bigger than ever given the circumstances, with some of the biggest names in horse racing set to be involved, albeit it in a simulated manner. Virtual Grand National 2020 betting odds are expected to be added in the coming days, with Inspired Entertainment operated race set to the be third of its kind, following simulated events in 2018 and 2019.
The Virtual Grand National 2020 is being operated by Inspired Entertainment, who will be using state of the art computer generated imagery (CGI) in order to deliver action from Aintree, including everything from its famous stands and jumps, including the dreaded Becher’s Brook. The 40 runners and riders who were expected to line up should the real-life race at Aintree have gone ahead will feature virtually, made into algorithms in the process, which will help to determine the eventual results.
While Tiger Roll was denied the chance to make history by becoming the first horse to win the Grand National three years in a row, the Gordon Elliott-trained horse is expected to be among the frontrunners in the virtual world this weekend. While virtual Grand National 2020 tips are difficult to make, especially until the final list of Virtual Grand National runners is made available, punters are likely to have half a thought on their favourites.
Major horse racing meetings are normally accompanied by a large number of bookmaker promotions, perfect for punters hoping to maximise their chances of winning big. While virtual Grand National offers will not be as easy to find, bettors will still be able to take advantage of ongoing promotions, whether it be faller insurance, extra places or enhanced odds. Virtual Grand National free bets are likely to be hard to come across, however a number of bookies are catering for punters looking to bet on the unique event this weekend, with Paddy Power’s reward club being just one example.
Virtual Grand National’s have taken place in both 2018 and 2019, with the event having been a good indicator as to who will be successful in the actual race. In 2018, the race successfully predicted six of only 12 finishers, along with the winner. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at how the two events played out, answering the question “who won the virtual Grand National 2019?” in the process:
Ahead of the 2020 Virtual Grand National on Saturday, we will take a look at some of the best bookies when it comes to virtual horse racing, including some promotions that may be available to punters.
Paddy Power have long been one of the leading bookies when it comes to horse racing, with virtual markets being available on a daily basis, perfect for those looking to accommodate for the lack of professional action taking place at present. Those signing up at Paddy Power are able to claim a £10 risk free bet, while a variety of ongoing promotions are also found, including extra places, money back specials and best odds guaranteed.
Virtual horse racing markets are also found on a daily basis at Betway, with their graphics, odds and promotions helping to attract new customers. Punters can generally place winner and each-way bets, as well as predicting whether their preferred runners and riders will finish in the top 2 or 4 positions. Those in the UK can claim free bets worth up to £30 upon signing up at Betway.
The dedicated virtual betting page at Ladbrokes is jam-packed with options, including a huge number of horse races. Odds of 1/5 are generally paid out on those finishing in the top three positions, while a £20 free bet is available to new customers, with just a £5 qualifying bet being required. Ladbrokes already have odds available for the 2021 Grand National, while they are expected to be one of the major players for the Virtual Grand National 2020.
Virtual customers at Betfred will receive an instant £5 free bet upon staking £10 or more, with horse races being found every 10 minutes on their site. The bookmaker also provides a detailed virtual sports guide, offering important information surrounding race cards, results and how you can bet on virtual sports.
Flat racing and National Hunt races are found at BoyleSports on a daily basis, with the bookmaker having covered the virtual Grand National in great detail over recent years. Those placing an opening bet of at least £10 will receive £30 worth free sportsbook bets, along with a £10 casino bonus. The bookmaker also regularly pays out extra places on virtual horse races, while also offering best odds guaranteed.
Virtual betting markets are likely to be familiar to many, however the virtual Grand National may be a new concept. Enhancements in technology over recent times means that the world leading steeplechase is now available in the virtual world, with algorithms and CGI technology making it an increasingly popular event. The virtual Grand National has taken place since back in 2017, however the 2020 virtual Grand National is undoubtedly the most anticipated to date, largely as a result of the major sporting cancellations and postponements which have taken place over recent months.
The global Covid-19 pandemic saw the Grand National become one of many casualties recently, with the event which usually attracts the attention of millions of fans and punters around the world having been cancelled. As a result, ITV announced that they would be broadcasting the 2020 virtual Grand National at the same time as the real race would have been staged, news that was welcomed by racing fans and bookmakers alike.
Whilst the simulated format of the race will not effect the Grand National record books, including any potentially history making win for Tiger Roll, the event will undoubtedly attract great interest, with Inspired Entertainment having worked hard in order to make it as realistic as possible. The event this weekend will feature the Race of Champions, with form and going having been taken into account.