ITV4’s Virtual Grand National, screened on the eve of the famous race at Aintree, correctly predicted that Tiger Roll would win.
The latest 3D CGI technology and sophisticated software were used to create a virtual race using the same 40 runners and riders. It was broadcast at 8pm on Friday on ITV4. Tiger Roll won, with Chase The Spud second and Total Recall third. One rider was unseated, with three refusals and six fallers.
A day later, in the race itself, Tiger Roll, ridden by Davy Russell, won in a photo finish with Pleasant Company. The horse was a 10-1 shot.
Earlier on in Friday’s VR special, Red Rum was beaten into second place by L’Escargot in the first ever Grand National Race of Champions, which pitched 40 runners and riders from the past against modern-day contemporaries. Hedgehunter was third, with Crisp in fourth.
The VR concept was created by Carm Productions in Manchester in association with Inspired Entertainment, one of the world leaders in virtual sports. The post production was completed at Timeline North at MediaCityUK.
In 2017, the first ever Virtual Grand National was won by Cause of Causes, which placed second in the race itself. The computer predicted three of the top six finishers.
“The animators have excelled this year and the production is tremendous,” said Rob McLoughlin of Carm Productions. “It’s fun and informative as you have to be brave to try and predict the most unpredictable of races.”