This time last year...
Who would have believed that the Grand National - the most famous National Hunt race in the world would be virtual?
I think I could have got odds of 1000/1.
The National was postponed on Saturday 5th April 1997 after the IRA bomb threat forced the course to be evacuated. However, it took part on Monday (7th April) giving the winner, Lord Gyllene, a nice weekend break. Jockey Tobby Dobin and trainer Steve Brookshaw must have wondered what all the fuss was about when the 14/1 won by 25 lengths.
This year, Coronavirus has reared its ugly head as the invisible enemy to humanity and in the process knocked sport for six with the outfielder some 200 miles north of South Africa (but he's getting in position for the best catch of his life).
So this Saturday 4th April the Grand National takes place with 40 runners. A host of familiar names including Tiger Roll, ridden by Davy Russell. Please remember, these are computer-generated horses and jockeys.
The ''race'' will be televised on ITV 4th April from 5pm. The coverage will be led by Nick Luck and Alice Plunkett (yes, they are their real names, and real people). The commentary will be undertaken by Stewart (The Machine) Machin. He is a real person, too, and not as some had considered for years to be an android beamed down from one of Neptune's moons (Triton).
The race won't be live as it has been pre-recorded. Hardly surprising, hey.
So what are the advantages of the virtual Grand National? I can see most horse racing fans reading those words in horror.
- Unaffected by Coronavirus
- Still betting taking place
- All profits from bookmakers DONATED to NHS Charities
- No injuries to horse or rider
- It boosts morale in these difficult times
Form: Unknown to me, the virtual Grand National has taken place before. Last year, it was won by Rathvinden, with Tiger Roll finishing second place.
Analysis: Will Tiger Roll win the Virtual Grand National? I can see him going very well. And I think he will be the selection and winner! Although, there is some reason to question whether he will win. Shock horror. Because, if he does prevail, it is very unlikely the bookies will show a profit that will be donated to the NHS. So, could we be in for a shock result? Perhaps a rank outsider so all the dosh goes to the noblest of causes? It wouldn't be a bad result in the fight against Coronavirus. So that's the dilemma. Will he (Tiger Roll) win or not? The choice, if you decide to bet, is yours! Good luck.
Here is a list of runners and riders and betting odds:
1. Tiger Roll, Davy Russell (5/1f)(Gazmachine)4th
2. Bristol De Mai, Daryl Jacob (20/1)(Mickishi)
3. Aso, Charlie Deutsch 66/1)
4. Elegant Escape, Jonjo O'Neill jnr (20/1)
5. Anibale Fly, Barry Geraghty (20/1)(Me Old Mum)
6. Top Ville Ben, Tom Dowson (45/1)
7. Beware The Bear, Jerry McGrath (33/1)
8. Peregrine Run, Kevin Sexton (66/1)
9. Jett, Sam Waley-Cohen (50/1) (Bobby Talk)
10. Alpha Des Obeaux, Richard Johnson (25/1)
11. Total Recall, Paul Townend (25/1)(Longbow)
12. The Storyteller, Keith Donoghue (40/1)
13. Magic Of Light, Robbie Power (18/1) (Damian Kay)
14. Talkischeap, Tom Cannon (25/1)
15. Yala Enki, Bryony Frost (28/1) (Mark J)
16. Ballyoptic, Sam Twiston-Davies (25/1)(Winter, Bird, Yvonnew, Jodonovan)
17. Burrows Saint, Rachael Blackmore (12/1)(Lindybops, Afistfullofdollars)5th
18. Definitly Red, Brian Hughes (14/1)(Tom Corderoy, Jerry Banks, Mickwalkersnr, Baby Jane)
19. Sub Lieutenant, JJ Slevin (33/1)
20. Ok Corral, Derek O’Connor (25/1)
21. Tout Est Permis, Sean Flanagan (80/1)
22. Vintage Clouds, Danny Cook (33/1)
23. Crievehill, Tom Bellamy (66/1)
24. Lake View Lad, Henry Brooke (50/1)
25. Jury Duty, Mark Enright (40/1)
26. Pleasant Company, David Mullins (28/1)(Glueythepig)
27. Acapella Bourgeois, Danny Mullins (33/1)(OneEyeEnos)
28. Shattered Love, Lisa O'Neill (66/1)
29. Any Second Now, Mark Walsh (10/1)(Eric Winner, Dan The Man)3rd
30. Potters Corner, Jack Tudor (18/1)(Mixerman, Hoofhearted)1st
31. Dounikos, Luke Dempsey (50/1)
32. Kildisart, Nico de Boinville (50/1)
33. Death Duty, Gavin Brouder (50/1)
34. Ramses De Teillee, Tom Scudamore (66/1)
35. Valtor, James Bowen (66/1)(Shukman)
36. Saint Xavier, David Maxwell (66/1)
37. Warriors Tale, Harry Cobden 80/1)
38. Double Shuffle, Jonathan Burke (100/1)
39. Kimberlite Candy, Richie McLernon (16/1)(HCE, Norfolkenchants)
40. Walk In The Mill, James Best (16/1) (Derek T, Betmanmike)2nd
Well done Mixerman & Hoofhearted for winning the Virtual Grand National and £25 each.