(CNN)Potters Corner won Saturday’s Virtual Grand National, foiling pre-race favorite Tiger Roll in his bid for an unprecedented third straight victory, in a computer simulation of the famous steeplechase that had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ridden by 17-year-old Jack Tudor, the 18-1 shot held off a late challenge from Walk in the Mill, with a fading Tiger Roll having to settle for fourth place.
Potters Corner is the winner of the 2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ Virtual Grand National!
A Welsh winner of the Virtual National! 🏴 pic.twitter.com/OUwK8pBdjK
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) April 4, 2020 Using the latest CGI technology and special algorithms, the race was shown as live on UK terrestrial broadcaster ITV, with 40 runners bidding for virtual glory and nearly five million people watching.
Tiger Roll, with jockey Davy Russell, triumphed at Aintree in 2018 and 2019, and had been hoping to emulate the legendary Red Rum with a third victory in the grueling four-mile race (6.4km) with 30 challenging fences until the decision to cancel the race on March 16.In the CGI version, Tiger Roll looked to have every chance of victory after shock frontrunner Aso took a heavy fall with two fences remaining, but fell away under top weight in the long run in to the finishing post at Aintree.Read MoreTudor, who rode Potters Corner to victory in the Welsh Grand National last year, would have been the youngest winner of the Grand National since 1938 if a real race had matched the virtual one.READ: Hong Kong’s night races gallop on without fansPrevious computer simulations of the Grand National have proved surprisingly accurate given the unpredictability of the race, with the 2018 version won by subsequent winner Tiger Roll.Potters Corner trainer Christian Williams had been targeting Aintree success after the Welsh Grand National victory but must now wait a year to see if it can become a reality.
Potters Corner, ridden by Jack Tudor, powered to victory in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow last December and was looking to complete the double at Aintree. “I’m delighted, it’s great and great to cheer everyone up in tough times – – I think even people from outside of racing were tuned in,” Williams said. “It was something for people to cheer on, people are stuck in their houses and it probably got a good viewing. It was something to watch together and have a bit of banter leading up to it.”
Limited betting was allowed on the race, with a maximum stake of £10 (12 USD), with bookmakers announcing Sunday that £2.6 million ($3.12m) had been raised, the proceeds going to National Health Service charities.As a precursor to the big event, a Champion of Champions race was run, resulting in victory for Red Rum, a three-time winner in the 1970s, with 19th century hero Manifesto second and Tiger Roll in third.