Virtual Grand National aired on ITV this weekend with bookies donating profits to NHS | Racing | Sport

The Virtual Grand National, taking place at 5pm on Saturday in the absence of the real Aintree race due to the coronavirus, will help deliver a financial boost to the NHS with all profits being donated to help the fight against the worldwide pandemic.

Bookmakers have come together to donate their profits to help fight the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday morning the virus has claimed 1,808 lives in the UK after a 24-hour spike of 393.

The NHS are working round the clock to treat patients in hospitals up and down the country, and the hope is that the virtual race will provide some much needed finance to help them keep fighting.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: “It’s fantastic that ITV have switched the race to the main channel and have scheduled it for regular Grand National race time.

“It will help cheer the nation up and as most Grand National punters bet on colours and nice names then for them it will be just like the big race.

“All profits are going to the NHS Charities Together, probably the most worthwhile cause in the UK at present.

When is the Virtual Grand National? What time does it start?

“And it will be great for many punters to get their chance to have a bet on Tiger Roll doing it for the third time, but though the dual winner is bound to go off favourite there are plenty in with chances.”

Sir AP McCoy said: “It’s a great shame that the Grand National is unable to be staged this year, but I think the virtual version is a great initiative and clearly for a good cause.

“I fancied Burrows Saint, who won the Irish Grand National last year and I can’t see any reason to change my mind on this, and will be cheering him on come Saturday.

“With Any Second Now following him home in second, then Tiger Roll in third, Kimberlite Candy 4th and Traffic Fluide in 5th.”

Tiger Roll is heavy favourite for the race but will face competition from three-time winner Red Rum in the 40-strong field.

Nick Luck will present the coverage on ITV alongside Richard Pitman and Alice Plunkett.

Rob McLoughlin, executive producer of the Virtual Grand National, said: “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.

“It’s very sad not to have the real race but this is fascinating and fun and, as proven since 2017, incredibly accurate.”

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