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Virtual Grand National to aid NHS charities

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Jockey Davy Russell with Tiger Roll. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jockey Davy Russell with Tiger Roll. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jockey Davy Russell with Tiger Roll. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The Grand National will take place on Saturday after all, albeit in virtual form, with all bookmaker profits going to the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) charities.

Virtual horse racing has been a staple of betting shops for some years but, in what will be the most-watched race of its kind, the 40 most likely runners and riders for this year's Randox Health Grand National, headed by the hat-trick-seeking Tiger Roll, have been assembled from the original entries.

The NHS agreed to be the beneficiaries after bookmakers accepted a £10 bet limit per person per horse. The odds on all 40 runners will be set and will be the same regardless of bookmaker. The Tote will also run a pool on the race.

Moments

Betting and gaming commission chief executive Michael Dugher said: "The virtual Grand National will be the closest we can get to creating one of those moments when we can all come together in celebration, not just for the world's greatest sporting event, but for the NHS heroes working on the front line to keep us all safe."

The race will be shown on ITV at 5pm, when the Aintree spectacular had been due to run. In the show there will also be a race of champions, in which Red Rum and Tiger Roll will take on 38 other National winners including Lottery, the very first in 1839.

Explaining how the virtual racing works, Steve Rogers, head of virtual sports at Inspired, said: "Information about the horses is fed into the software, which helps determine the probability of their potential finishing positions based on form and past performance."

The technology has a pretty good record; last year it predicted Rathvinden (third) would beat Tiger Roll (winner). (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk