How many times has there been a Virtual Grand National?
The Virtual Grand National is, as the name suggests, a computer simulation of the world famous steeplechase. The outcome is determined by a series of step-by-step computational procedures, or algorithms, which employ a random number generator ‘weighted’ with a guide price for each horse based on its previous achievements. Nonetheless, the Virtual Grand National features all the declared runners and employs high-definition, computer-generated imagery to create a faithful reproduction of the real race.
The Virtual Grand National was first broadcast on Friday, April 7, 2017, the eve of the real-life Grand National that year, and has subsequently been broadcast in 2018, 2019 and 2020, making four times in all. In 2020, the Virtual Grand National was broadcast at 17:00 on Saturday, April 4 – the same time at which the actual race was originally scheduled – and several bookmakers offered fixed-odds prices on the outcome.
Under normal circumstances, the Virtual Grand National is intended to provide some ‘light relief’ for horse racing fans but, nevertheless, the results so far have proved remarkably accurate.The first virtual winner, Cause Of Cause, finished second in the real-life event in 2017, Tiger Roll won both races in 2018 and Tiger Roll, Rathvinden and Anibale Fly finished in the first five, albeit in a different order, in both races in 2019.