This time last year, the coronavirus pandemic had just gripped the United Kingdom and before we knew it, we were thrown into a national lockdown. As a result, sporting events up and down the country were ground to a halt. The Grand National was one of the prestigious events to feel the wrath of the virus, as it was cancelled for the first time since World War II.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, as we were still treated to a virtual edition of the race, and whilst millions of punters will be relieved that the actual race is back this year with many eager to check the Grand National betting in 2021, the digitalised version certainly provided us with a much needed break from reality last April.
With the help of CGI and special technology, 40 of the most likely entries lined up for starter’s orders at the virtual Aintree Racecourse and bookmakers offered odds with proceeds going to the NHS Charities Together. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at how the simulated race panned out.
The horses set off with two-time National winner Tiger Roll, who was denied the chance of an historic third victory in a row when the race was cancelled, as the unsurprising favourite at 5/1.
There was early drama from the start with Tout Est Permisfalling at the first hurdle before Shattered Love followed suit at the third. Warriors Tale refused to take the third, whilst Valtorunseated his rider at the same fence.
The remaining horses stayed on well until the J. P. McManus-owned Ok Corral and Jessica Harrington-trained Jett both refused the 10th. Lake View Lad’s and Crievehill’sraces were then ended with falls at the 11th. The likes of Talkischeap, Ballyoptic, Burrows Saint and Tiger Roll were all prominent at the front of the fieldat this stage of the race.
From around the halfway point, horses started dropping like flies. At fence 14, Double Shuffle’s (unseated rider), Elegant Escape’s (refused) and Total Recall’s (fell) races were over, whilst Saint Xavier unseated his rider at The Chair (fence 15).
Definitly Red pulled up at fence 17,before Acapella Bourgeois fell at the 19th. Ramses De Teille’srace was ended with a fall at the 20th. Burrows Saint and Asobegan to open up a lead as the field headed over Beecher’s Brook for the second time. However, it was Tiger Roll a couple of lengths in front as they took the fifth-last fence (26), which claimed Bristol De Mai (fell) and Sub Lieutenant (refused).
Four out, the challenges from Magic OfLight(fell), Yala Enki (UR) and Jury Duty (refused) were ended, whilst Aso, who had stormed into a massive five or six length lead, fell at the second-last fence.
Potters Corner took the lead at the last as Davy Russell and Tiger Roll started to run out of steam. Any Second Now, who is second favourite to win the race this year behind Cloth Cap, andWalk In The Mill were back in third and fourth respectively, as they raced towards the elbow and up the home straight.
Tiger Roll dropped to fourth as the leaders romped towards the finish, and despite a late charge from Walk In The Mill (16/1), there was no stopping former Welsh Grand National winner Potters Corner (18/1) from storming over the line to win by a length.
1stPotters Corner – 18/1
2ndWalk In The Mill – 16/1
3rdAny Second Now – 10/1
4thTiger Roll – 5/1
5thBurrows Saint – 12/1