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Virtual Grand National on ITV - race time, how it works and everything you need to know

Virtual Grand National
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Can Tiger Roll win the virtual National?

The Virtual Grand National is coming to ITV this Saturday to replace the real Grand National, which has sadly been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Just like the real thing, 40 horses and riders will line up to run the famous Aintree race, with Stewart Machin commentating.

What time is the Virtual Grand National on ITV on Saturday 4th April?

Coverage starts on ITV at 5pm. The race itself will start at 5.15pm and with virtual horses at least there can’t be a false start!

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Who will the runners be?

Virtual Grand National

Davy Russell celebrates as he rides Tiger Roll to win last year's Grand National (credit: Getty Images) (Image credit: Getty Images)

The same horses that were due to take part in the real thing, including the legendary Tiger Roll. Tiger Roll last year became the first back-to-back winner since Red Rum in the 1970s.

Everyone was hoping to see if Tiger Roll could win the race for an historic third time in a row. While we can’t see the real horse, we will find out if the virtual Tiger can win.

How do they work out how the horses run and who wins?

“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” says Rob McLoughlin, the Executive Producer.

Can I bet on the Virtual Grand National?

Yes. And the bookmakers will donate profits to NHS charities. Stakes are limited.

Can my horse fall in the Virtual Grand National?

Yep, sadly they can fall. But on the plus side neither the jockey or the horse will be hurt.

Who will win?

Who knows! Your guess is as good as ours. We do know that Tiger Roll is the 5-1 favourite for victory.

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!