By Andrew Atkinson
Despite the £1m Randox Health Aintree Grand National postponed, due to the coronavirus lockdown, the race will get under starters orders on April 4 – by Virtual runners.
A 40 runners field over the four miles two and a half furlongs go to post using CGI technology and special algorithms.
Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott, seeking a third consecutive win, will be amongst the Virtual runners.
The special Virtual Grand National broadcast will also see late Ginger McCain trained Aintree legend Red Rum go head-to-head in a ‘Race of Champions’.
Top Ville Ben, trained by Philip Kirby at Green Oaks Farm stables in Richmond, North Yorkshire, was set to run – priced at 33-1.
“Top Ville Ben is a National-type horse,” said Philip, who will be watching the race – along with the eight year old on Saturday!
Trainer Philip Kirby told me: “Team PKR and owners will be watching the Virtual Grand National.
“Although it’s only a Virtual race there will be a massive TV audience. Betting is available, with profits going to NHS Charities, battling Covid-19.”
Top Ville Ben jockey Tommy Dowson will be eagerly watching the Virtual Grand National unfold: “Tommy will have to ride a finish – on the settee – rather than up on ‘Ben’,” said Philip.
“Let’s just hope he is there at the business end. Tommy says he had better not be unseated – as he has only had one UR in 170 rides!,” quipped Philip.
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