The NHS have been warned they face disappointment this evening if Tiger Roll wins the Virtual Grand National. The virtual race is being run in the absence of the Grand National – cancelled due to the coronavirus – with profits from bookmakers being donated to the NHS as they battle the pandemic.
Bookmakers have come together to offer their profits to help the health service continue the fight against the illness.
But a word of warning has been cast this morning with big favourite Tiger Roll the most-backed horse in the field.
Alexander Kostin of AmericanGambler.com said: “The decision to run a virtual Grand National as a substitute for the ‘real deal’ is a great initiative and especially as bookies have agreed that all profits from punting on the race will be donated to the NHS.
“However, with Tiger Roll being such a strong favourite, one can only hope that the people behind the algorithm have decided on an outsider to win, like Double Shuffle at 100/1, as otherwise, NHS Charities Together are likely to receive next to nothing, which would be a heart breaking outcome for such a great initiative and cause.”
The race gets underway today at 5pm and is live on ITV.
The race will be created using CGI technology and algorithms.
Steve Rogers, Chief Commercial Officer for Virtual Sports at Inspired, said: “Information about the horses is fed into the software, which helps to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions.
“This probability is based on their past form and performance in other races.
“Layered on top of this, an element of AI is involved in how the horses move around the course, how they jump fences and how they interact with each other.
“Then, as always with the Grand National, there is an element of unpredictability, which makes it so fascinating.”
The virtual race was started in 2017 as a prelude to the main event, but takes centre stage this year.
Ladbrokes have confirmed Tiger Roll is the most popular race on their platforms ahead of the race and is the 5/1 favourite.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “There is a real buzz in the atmosphere as our customers look forward to this afternoon’s Virtual Grand National.
“With all profits going to the NHS, we are thrilled with how popular the race is proving to be.
“As expected, many fans will be cheering Tiger Roll to go all the way.”