Virtual Grand National live stream: watching online, betting and how it's all going to work

Virtual Grand National 2020
(Image credit: Grand National)

This year's regular Grand National may have been cancelled - along with a slew of other events - due to coronavirus, but that's not going to stop the Virtual Grand National from going ahead. And what's even better is that all of the profits will be donated to the NHS. We'll tell you all about how to watch the Virtual Grand National live stream online today.

This is the fourth annual Virtual Grand National, and it usually takes place a few hours before its real-life counterpart. This year, with the current pandemic, it's sure to attract more viewers than ever. 

What makes it so appealing to those that indulge in a flutter is that it will very likely feature the virtual versions of the runners that would have participated in the Grand National 2020. Virtual horses will run the same Aintree course as the real thing, with 30 fences to clear. Factors like weather conditions, past form, weight, age, form on the track, and more are fed into the algorithm, with the favourite getting a better chance of success than the outsider, and the winner is then selected by a random number generator that takes that chance into account.

Past virtual races have seen the winners place in the top three in the real Grand National, with 2017 virtual champion Cause Of Causes winning the Grand National the same year. Reflecting on the result, Steve Rogers of Inspired Entertainment - which animates the event - said:

"We were in disbelief for days afterwards. The races stand out on their own as sport and entertainment even without the extra ingredient of attempting to tell the nation where their favourite may finish."

The simulation has already been run, but "only [a] small number of operational people" are aware of the results and are "are subject to strict confidentiality obligations." 

Because this is a charitable event, there's a betting limit of £10 per horse per customer, or £10 each way per horse. Now that you know a little bit about the event, here's what you need to know to watch and place a bet.

Where to watch the Virtual Grand National 2020 online

The Virtual Grand National 2020 is kicking off this Saturday, April 4, at 5PM BST on ITV. You can watch on the telly, ITV's website, or ITV Hub. If you want even more horse racing to scratch the itch left by the absence of real thing, you can tune into  The Race of Champions on the ITV channel and ITV Hub; 40 virtual runners made up of past Aintree champions will take compete as part of a half-hour program between 5PM and 5.30pm. 

If you want to tune in and you're outside of the UK, you can still watch the stream - all you need is a VPN (virtual private network). There are a number of services out there that allow your laptop or smart device to essentially bypass region-locked content on websites, like watching hulu  from outside of the US, or BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK. You can check out our best VPNs of 2020  and right now you can pick up one of our top recommendations for almost 50% off with this exclusive offer:  


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How to bet on the Virtual Grand National 2020

Don't forget, there's a betting limit of £10 per horse per customer, or £10 each way per horse for this years event. You can take a peek at Grand National Favourites before heading over to participating betting sites to see their odds.

You can visit Betway, Paddy Power, and Betfair to place your bet. Note that it's illegal to gamble under the age of 18 in the UK. 

Odds and line-up of the Virtual Grand National 2020

The favourite, Tiger roll, has won the Grand Natinoal for the past two years, but missed out on last year's virtual event. Oddschecker spokesperson Callum Wilson said:

"We'll never know if Tiger Roll would've won a third straight Grand National at Aintree this year, but Gordon Elliott's 10-year-old may still find success in the virtual sphere. With such an accurate algorithm, the Virtual Grand National may still see Tiger Roll net punters a nifty profit."

You can check the odds for all 40 runners below.

1 Tiger Roll, 5-1

2 Bristol De Mai, 20-1

3 Aso, 66-1

4 Elegant Escape, 20-1

5 Anibale Fly, 20-1

6 Top Ville Ben, 45-1

7 Beware The Bear, 33-1

8 Peregrine Run, 66-1

9 Jett, 50-1

10 Alpha Des Obeaux, 25-1

11 Total Recall, 40-1

12 The Storyteller, 40-1

13 Magic Of Light, 18-1

14 Talkischeap, 25-1

15 Yala Enki, 28-1

16 Ballyoptic, 25-1

17 Burrows Saint, 12-1

18 Definitly Red, 14-1

19 Sub Lieutenant, 33-1

20 Ok Corral, 25-1

21 Tout Est Permis, 80-1

22 Vintage Clouds, 33/1

23 Crievehill, 66-1

24 Lake View Lad, 50-1

25 Jury Duty, 40-1

26 Pleasant Company, 28-1

27 Acapella Bourgeois, 33-1

28 Shattered Love, 66-1

29 Any Second Now, 10-1

30 Potters Corner, 18-1

31 Dounikos, 50-1

32 Kildisart, 50-1

33 Death Duty, 50-1

34 Ramses De Teillee, 66-1

35 Valtor, 66-1

36 Saint Xavier, 66-1

37 Warriors Tale, 80-1

38 Double Shuffle, 100-1

39 Kimberlite Candy, 16-1

40 Walk In The Mill, 16-1

Please be sure to gamble responsibly; if you're not sure if you can afford to partake, don't. If you're struggling with gambling or know someone who is, you should contact the National Gambling Treatment Service. You can call from within the UK for free on 0808 8020 133 or reach out online via live chat. The line is open 24/7. US readers with concerns can contact the National Problem Gambling Hotline on 1-800-522-4700. 

Shabana Arif
Shabana was born looking like a girl wearing a Pikachu hoodie, so when such things became popular, she fitted right in. She writes guides, reviews and features for GR+ when she isn't screaming at Dark Souls 2 on YouTube.