Punters can bet with "total confidence" on Virtual Grand National

Punters worried the Virtual Grand National result will be leaked can bet “with total confidence” on tomorrow’s race.

The computer-generated Aintree spectacular, which takes centre stage after the real version fell to the coronavirus pandemic, will be shown ‘as live’ on ITV at 5.15pm on Saturday – but has already been recorded.

The 2020 running, made for ITV by Inspired Entertainment, is the first Virtual Grand National with a betting market – the odds on the 40 runners were published on Wednesday and will not change until the ‘off’ time.

But both those placing bets – stakes are limited to £10 and £10 each-way, with all profits going to NHS Charities Together – and bookmakers taking them can do so in the knowledge the outcome has been kept a closely guarded secret.

“We have been given cast iron assurances by both Inspired and ITV that the result of this race will be kept completely secret until the race starts at 5.15pm on Saturday,” said Ladbrokes’ Simon Clare yesterday.

“Punters can place their bets, and us bookmakers can accept bets, on this race with total confidence in its integrity.”

The creators of the Virtual Grand National have used computer-generated imagery (CGI) to recreate the runners, jockey, course layout and jumps.

Mathematical algorithms made up of data from the horses' previous performances, as well as their age, weight, form and the weather, help frame the race.

An element of artificial intelligence is involved in how the horses move around the course, jump fences and interact with each other.

Some punters have opted to run a sweepstake for the race, just like they would for the real Aintree Grand National.

Steve Rogers, Inspired’s Chief Commercial Officer for Virtual Sports, added: “We’ve taken serious steps to protect the outcome of the Virtual Grand National.

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