Virtual Grand National 2020: Potters Corner wins televised race

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Potters Corner wins the Virtual Grand National from Walk In The Mill
Potters Corner wins the Virtual Grand National from Walk In The Mill

Potters Corner has won the televised Virtual Grand National after the big race was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 18-1 shot beat runner-up Walk In The Mill (16-1) in the computer-simulated race, with Any Second Now (10-1) third.

Tiger Roll, the 5-1 favourite, was fourth and 12-1 chance Burrows Saint finished fifth.

Bookmakers offered odds, with profits going to NHS Charities Together.

Potters Corner, trained in Wales by Christian Williams, won the real-life Welsh Grand National in December under teenage jockey Jack Tudor.

All horse racing in Great Britain has been suspended until at least the end of April.

Forty runners who would have been most likely to line up at Aintree took part, using CGI technology and special algorithms.

Tiger Roll had been due to seek an unprecedented third consecutive win in Saturday's big race before it was called off on 16 March.

The animated version had much of the drama associated with the actual race, with long-time leader Aso falling in the closing stages.external-link

A virtual race of champions preceded the main event, televised on ITV, in which triple National victor Red Rum ran out the winner.

The animations included virtual ambulances following the runners and riders around the course, and shots of excited spectators.

Jockeys watched from home and entered into the spirit of the event with posts on social media.

"Well I got around, I'll take that," said champion jockey Richard Johnson.

A spokesperson for Carm Productions, which was behind the idea, said: "Let's hope it has entertained racegoers and the wider public. We also hope it has been able to help raise funds to support the NHS at this important time."

Trainer Christian Williams
Christian Williams, trainer of Potters Corner, with his children

'What a story it might have been' - analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

As previous virtual Grand Nationals have proved fairly accurate in terms of the actual result - and there's no reason to believe that wouldn't have been repeated - what a story Potters Corner might have been in the real thing.

In 2019 the first Welsh-trained winner of Wales' Grand National in over half a century might have turned into the first Aintree success for Wales in over 100 years.

How ironic though, that Jack Tudor wouldn't necessarily have qualified to ride because of inexperience. Tiger Roll was anchored by the weight. An 18-1 winner means a decent amount for the NHS.

Where they finished

1 Potters Corner 18-1

2 Walk In The Mill 16-1

3 Any Second Now 10-1

4 Tiger Roll 5-1

5 Burrows Saint 12-1

6 Pleasant Company 7 Ballyoptic 8 Kimberlite Candy 9 Top Ville Ben 10 Vintage Clouds

11 Peregrine Run 12 The Storyteller 13 Talkischeap 14 Dounikos 15 Kildisart 16 Alpha Des Obeaux 17 Beware The Bear 18 Anibale Fly 19 Death Duty

Aso - fell, fence 29; Magic Of Light - fell, fence 27, Yala Enki - unseated rider, fence 27; Jury Duty - refused, fence 27

Bristol De Mai- fell, fence 26; Sub Lieutenant- refused, fence 26; Ramses de Teillee - fell, fence 20

Acapella Bourgeois - fell, fence 19; Definitly Red - refused, fence 17; Saint Xavier - unseated rider, fence 15; Double Shuffle - unseated rider, fence 14; Elegant Escape - refused, fence 14; Total Recall - fell, fence 14

Crievehill - fell, fence 11; Lake View Lad - fell, fence 11; Ok Corral - refused, fence 10; Jett - refused, fence 10

Warriors Tale - refused, fence 3; Shattered Love - fell, fence 3; Valtor - unseated rider, fence 3; Tout Est Permis - fell, fence 1

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