Tiger Roll's historic National bid back on... virtually

London (AFP) –


Tiger Roll will have his chance to become the first horse to win three successive Grand Nationals -- in a computer-simulated version of the race next week.

The world's most famous steeplechase at Aintree has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tiger Roll, winner in 2018 and 2019, had been due to seek an unprecedented third consecutive success.

But ITV are to show a Virtual Grand National at the time the race was supposed to have taken place -- 5:00 pm (1600 GMT).

A field of 40 runners who would have been most likely to line up in the real race will take part.

There will also be a race of champions pitting the late Red Rum, who won the National three times in the 1970s, against Tiger Roll.

"We use the latest CGI technology and algorithms and were ready to go ahead as a forerunner to the big race," said executive producer Rob McLoughlin.

"But now we want to cheer the nation up and ask the computer if history could have been made."

Virtual contests have been held since 2017, with a good record of forecasting the outcome of the real race.