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Aintree Virtual Grand National Race

The Virtual Grand National

The TV concept was created by broadcaster and producer Rob McLoughlin who grew up in Maghull where the Grand National was first to run in the 19th Century and by Carm Productions.


Rob devised the programme in association with Peter Eaton (once a sponsor of the Grand National with Crabbies) and partners Inspired Entertainment (animators and world leaders in virtual sports) led by Steve Rogers’ team in Manchester.  It has been hugely supported by The Jockey Club and Aintree as part of the build-up to the big race and to be part of The Aintree Festival.


Now you can also play along with VGN races online as well with other spin-off products which should be enjoyed responsibly.    

It happened in 2018 with Tiger Roll and the Tiger went on to win in almost identical circumstances as forecast by the superb CGI animation, Artificial Intelligence, and Algorithms which make up the brilliant experience that is the VGN.


In 2020 the VGN replaced the real race on ITV and was watched by nearly 5 million people, almost 30% of the available TV audience, and millions more through extended news coverage and globally on CNN and other channels.


More than £3m was raised for NHS Charities Together as bookmakers took bets for the first-ever time on the VGN and donated their profits.


£300k  was also raised in Ireland for health charities as Potters Corner, the 18-1 shot, passed the finishing line in a thrilling race which saw viewers dress-up in lockdown to overcome the troubles of the times and to capture the spirit of the real race of the world’s most famous steeplechase.


Red Rum also beat off Tiger Roll in the Grand National Race of Champions which brings the legends back to life to run over the Aintree fences.


Sophisticated software, hand-crafted Ultra HD animations, and the real course are combined as the computer considers the track record of these giants of Aintree along with weather conditions, the going and their individual chances against the recent and historic names who have graced this race.   


22 hours ahead of the 2018 Health Grand National 40 horses lined up in this ITV Sports Special to see if a mix of brilliant CGI animations and sophisticated software could beat the experts and determine the outcome of the most unpredictable race in the world.


In 2017, Cause of Causes won the first ever Virtual Grand National and went on to finish second in the 2017 Randox Grand National – the computer predicted six of the top 10 finishers.


The Virtual Grand National uses sophisticated software and hand-crafted Ultra High Definition CGI technology to run the most unpredictable race in the world hours ahead of the ‘off’.


Broadcaster Rob McLoughlin (Creator of The Grand National Race of Champions and co-creator of The Virtual Grand National with Steve Rogers) goes behind the scenes of Inspired Entertainment in Manchester, England as they create the famous Aintree excitement and legendary jumps for the first-ever runnings of this unique race.


The first-ever Virtual Grand National was run as an ITV Special on the eve of the 2017 Randox Grand National and then in 2018, along with The Grand National Race of Champions, the programme returned to pit the most likely 40 runners and riders of the big race against each other 22 hours ahead of transmission.


The results were exciting, dramatic and watched by 1.6 million viewers in the UK.

Stewart Machin is the commentator and the full programmes are produced by Carm Productions in association with Inspired Entertainment and Aintree. 

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