Like sports fans across the world, horse racing enthusiasts haven’t had a lot to cheer about recently. With all race meetings called off for the foreseeable future, it was a breath of fresh air to be able to tune into ITV on Saturday April 4th and watch the running of the 2020 Virtual Grand National instead.
With world-class graphics and a line-up of 40 virtual runners and riders, it may have been computer-generated but we still loved it. In fact, more than 4.8 million of us tuned in to see if Tiger Roll could complete his hat trick. And better still, all betting profits were donated by the leading bookmakers to the NHS Charities Together appeal. That raised a staggering £2.6m, something we should all be very proud of.
So how did the race pan out? Here’s how it all happened…
2020 Virtual Grand National
Ginger McCain used to think nothing of taking Red Rum down to the golden strands of Southport beach before his Grand National wins. Now Christian Williams has realised the power of the sand and saltwater as Potters Corner gave the Glamorgan based trainer a historic first win in the 2020 Virtual Grand National.
In a race which was run at an honest gallop from the outset, the unforgiving green monsters that make up the fearsome fences from the Lake District spruce took no prisoners as ten horses fell during their 4m2f journey. A further seven refused and another four unseated their riders resulting in just nineteen completing the race. Thankfully all came home safe and sound.
Top weight Tiger Roll, bidding to join the greats in the annals of sporting history, found the 11-10 just that little bit too much. As a result, he weakened towards the end finishing a most honourable fourth. But expect him to be back to try and reclaim his Aintree crown next year, in the 2021 Grand National.
One jockey who will be most certainly kicking many things in his way will be Charlie Deutsch. Coming towards the second from home he was getting a dream ride on the Venetia Williams trained Aso who was in front before he knuckled down on landing. Unfortunately, gravity won in the end.
Potters Corner Wins The Race
As for Potters Corner, he went passed dual winner Tiger Roll coming to the last fence and breezed into the lead. He had picked his way through the field under his young jockey, Jack Tudor. He rallied hard to keep him going towards the end as Walk In The Mill, a dual Becher Chase winner, showed great tenacity. But the line came in time for the Welsh trained winner.
This was two big Nationals in a row as he came here fresh from his Welsh National win over the Christmas period. These two wins add to his National Bow as he also won the Midlands one last year over this marathon distance.
The win certainly gives a huge form boost to his Haydock run back in November. He was 11th in the big 3m handicap hurdle on Betfair Chase day. He was two places and 38 lengths behind Lisnagar Oscar who as we all know bolted up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival.
Punters who backed Walk In The Mill will certainly feel hard done by. He went down by a length but he also lost ground as the field made the turn after the water jump. Top Ville Ben took him out wide costing him quite a few lengths but Walk In The Mill will most certainly be back here in December to try and make it three Becher’s in a row, something which as yet to happen.
2021 Tickets For NHS Staff
So congratulations to all at Ogmore Farm. And more importantly to all our beloved NHS staff and all key workers during this testing time for the world. Next year, on opening day of the 2021 Grand National Festival, Aintree is giving away 10,000 tickets to all NHS workers and here’s wishing them well over the next few months.
Also, the NHS came out to the tune of £2.6m pounds from the race and that will be a welcome addition to the kitty in these troubled times for us all.
Till next year’s renewal, Please stay safe and stay indoors.
From Virtual Aintree, Goodbye.