Friday, April 03, 2020

Virtual Grand National 2020

The nation loves a flutter on the Grand National and, in these extraordinary times, this year punters will be able to place a wager on the virtual Grand National which ITV1 will show at 5.00 on Saturday evening.

Bookmakers have pledged to donate all profits to NHS Charities Together; the maximum bet permitted is £10 win per horse per customer or £10 each-way per horse. The race has been pre-recorded by Carm Productions who have ensured the result will not be leaked to betting markets.

Oddschecker lists the latest prices; each-way terms are one fifth the odds five places.

Comparing the outcome of the three previous virtual renewals with the actual results...

2017: virtual winner Cause Of Causes was second behind One For Arthur;
2018: virtual winner Tiger Roll won;
2019: virtual winner Rathvinden third; virtual second Tiger Roll won.   

For those who like to make their own National selection, the Sporting Life's pinstickers' guide will be of some considerable assistance; for everyone else, there's this...

Below, a list of runners and riders showing the following information: race card number; last official chase handicap rating; age and weight of horse; horse name; jockey. 

1  171  10-11-10 Tiger Roll / Davy Russell
2  170   9-11-08 Bristol De Mai / Daryl Jacob
3  162  10-11-02 Aso / Charlie Deutsch
4  161   8-11-02 Elegant Escape / Jonjo O'Neill Jnr
5  142  10-11-02 Anibale Fly / Barry Geraghty
6  164   8-11-02 Top Ville Ben / Tom Dawson
7  155  10-11-00 Beware The Bear / Jerry McGrath
8  159  10-10-13 Peregrine Run / Kevin Sexton
9  155   9-10-13 Jett / Sam Waley-Cohen
10 158 10-10-13 Alpha Des Obeaux / Richard Johnson
11 149 11-10-13 Total Recall / Paul Townend
12 158  9-10-12 The Storyteller / Keith Donoghue
13 159  9-10-12 Magic Of Light / Robbie Power
14 157  8-10-11 Talkischeap / Tom Cannon
15 157 10-10-11 Yala Enki / Bryony Frost
16 157 10-10-11 Ballyoptic / Sam Twiston-Davies
17 156  7-10-10 Burrows Saint / Rachael Blackmore
18 156 11-10-10 Definitly Red / Brian Hughes
19 150 11-10-09 Sub Lieutenant / JJ Slevin
20 146 11-10-09 Ok Corral / Derek O'Connor
21 155  7-10-09 Tout Est Permis / Sean Flanagan
22 151 10-10-08 Vintage Clouds / Danny Cook
23 154  8-10-08 Crievehill / Tom Bellamy
24 155 11-10-08 Lake View Lad / Henry Brooke
25 154  9-10-08 Jury Duty / Mark Enright
26 148 12-10-07 Pleasant Company / David Mullins
27 152 10-10-06 Acapella Bourgeois / Danny Mullins
28 151  9-10-06 Shattered Love / Lisa O'Neill
29 150  8-10-06 Any Second Now / Mark Walsh
30 145 10-10-06 Potters Corner / Jack Tudor
31 149  9-10-05 Dounikos / Luke Dempsey
32 150  8-10-05 Kildisart / Nico De Boinville
33 150  8-10-05 Death Duty / Gavin Brouder
34 153  8-10-05 Ramses De Teillee / Tom Scudamore
35 150 11-10-04 Valtor / James Bowen
36 150  8-10-04 Saint Xavier / David Maxwell
37 150 11-10-04 Warriors Tale / Harry Cobden
38 150  9-10-04 Double Shuffle / Jonathon Burke
39 140  8-10-04 Kimberlite Candy / Richie McLernon
40 141 10-10-04 Walk In The Mill / James Best

Tiger Roll has won the past two renewals and is priced just 5/1 to come home in front.

Gordon Elliott's charge won off a mark of 159 last year but has been allocated 171 this time and hasn't been seen in such sparkling form this season. On revised terms the mare Magic Of Light, second last year, looks to have been given every chance of reversing that form. For those interested, the last mare to win the National was Nickel Coin in 1951.

Irish-trained runners filled four of the first five positions last time; according to my calculations they account for 19 of tomorrow's 40 declarations - Peregrine Run gets into the virtual race although he failed to meet the qualifying stipulations for the race itself.

Surprise has been expressed in certain quarters that Paul Townend has been jocked up on Total Recall when stablemate Burrows Saint would appear to have the more obvious chance... Burrows Saint is one of two seven-year-olds in the field (the other Tout Est Permis) - the last seven-year-old to come home in front was Bogskar in 1940.

I haven't seen an official going report (!) but I'm assuming they'll run on something approaching good to soft ground which wouldn't necessarily play to the strengths of confirmed mud-lovers like Yala Enki and two previous Welsh National winners, Potters Corner and Elegant Escape.

On official handicap ratings Top Ville Ben and Bristol De Mai catch the eye; the former likes to race from the front but I'm not convinced either will see out the trip.

Neither of the two greys, Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad. appeared to take to the fences last year and, as a general rule of thumb, I prefer a horse that has shown some form over the course.

Back in December Walk In The Mill won the Becher Chase over these fences (Kimberlite Candy second, Alpha Des Obeaux third, Definitly Red fourth, Ballyoptic eleventh, Vintage Clouds pulled up).

That form reads well, as does Kimberlite Candy's subsequent victory in Warwick's Classic Chase in January; Captain Chaos, second that day, went on to win the Eider Chase at Newcastle while fourth horse The Conditional pipped Kildisart in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival just three and a half weeks ago. On that run, perhaps Kildisart is overpriced at 50/1...

A mention too for Definitly Red on the back of that fourth in the Becher. After a facile win at Kelso the last day trainer Brian Ellison was particularly bullish about his charge's chance in receipt of a stone from Tiger Roll. 

Tiger Roll is a must on anyone's shortlist; the others on mine are Magic Of Light, Kimberlite Candy, Walk In The Mill and Definitly Red. Here's how I see them finishing...

1. Magic Of Light - second last year - forgiven below par effort last time out;
2. Tiger Roll - gallant attempt to record a third successive victory... ;
3. Walk In The Mill - Becher winner and fourth last year;
4. Definitly Red - could be quite well handicapped;
5. Kimberlite Candy - brings strong recent form to the table.

Good luck - and, more importantly, stay safe.


GeeDee said...

GIGO: a common enough concept in computer science and mathematics - Garbage In, Garbage Out. That is to say, the quality of the output is dependent on the quality of the input. Forgive me, but I'm struggling just a little to come to terms with what the staff at Carm Productions have been feeding into their computers of late - perhaps the computers have a virus as well.

Cornelius Lysaght, in typically understated fashion, described Potters Corner (18/1) as the 'surprise winner' of the 2020 Virtual Grand National, run on ground the Racing Post described as 'good'; winning jockey Jack Tudor was not qualified to ride in the Aintree spectacle when the coronavirus pandemic closed racing down.

Coming to the penultimate flight 66/1 shot Aso looked to have secured a decisive lead over his rivals but he came came to grief in spectacular fashion - that's Aso who has never won beyond two miles five and appeared to struggle to stay the three miles of the King George on Boxing Day...

Full result:
1. Potters Corner 18/1
2. Walk In The Mill 16/1
3. Any Second Now 10/1
4. Tiger Roll 5/1
5. Burrows Saint 12/1

I have to admit I'm also slightly disappointed the Racing Post hasn't provided the usual 'comments in running' as part of their results service:

Still, it was good to see lucky Nick Luck - looking pretty well, I thought- back on free-to-air TV. He told us all not to take it all too seriously and, of course, in these worrying times, he's absolutely right; a bit of fun with money donated to the most deserving of causes.

Let's hope we can enjoy virtual and real renewals next year.

GeeDee said...


Today the Racing Post reports that 4.8 million viewers tuned in to watch yesterday's Virtual Grand National raising more than £2.6 million for NHS charities: