The Virtual Grand National (VGN) brings the excitement of the real-life Grand National to the virtual world. This year there will be 40 horses and riders taking part, courtesy of Inspired Entertainment’s team. The virtual race will attempt to predict the outcome of the physical meet.

  • Tends to offer outright odds for VGN early
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  • Competitive odds on offer, as well as active markets
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  • Usually offers outright odds for VGN early on
  • Bet on several outright markets
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  • Huge ante-post market
  • Good Virtual Grand National odds
  • Popular Grand National bookmaker
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  • Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker
  • Virtual Grand National betting offered
  • Great odds for the Grand National
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The VGN uses the latest computer-generated imagery for a computer simulation of the real-life race at Aintree, replicating it with winners, collapsing fences, and unseated riders.

All elements of the physical meet are captured perfectly, offering almost the complete package of the real-world race in a virtual environment.

The team behind all this are Inspired Entertainment, who are game and content developers for the betting industry, covering virtual sports and casino-related games. They take into consideration many factors in order to make the experience and end result as realistic as possible: weather conditions, previous races, riders' and trainers’ records, and much more.

Their impressive accuracy so far when compared to previous results of real-life race is testament to the amount of work and effort that the developers have put in.

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    The results have also been confirmed by Steve Rogers, CCO for Virtual Sports at Inspired. In 2017, Cause Of Causes won the VGN and came a close second in the real race hours later.

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    The 2018 result was especially breathtaking, as Tiger Roll won both the virtual and physical race in almost identical circumstances.

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    There were some good predictions in the 2022 results too, with the 2nd and 3rd place having been perfectly predicted. Even though the first place was off by a lot, who would have thought Noble Yeats would win with odds of 50/1?

Can You Bet on the Virtual Grand National?

Yes, a plethora of bookmakers usually offer odds on the race closer to the date of the event. But why should you bet on the Virtual Grand National at all, you might ask?

Well, there are two main advantages that the VGN offers punters. Firstly, there are no non-runners due to unforeseen circumstances, and there are no unexpected weather or track changes. Secondly, the VGN can give additional insights into the real race, thanks to their many accurate forecasts.

If you like our options here, check out the top betting sites for Non Runner No Bet for the 2023 Grand National, offering compelling wagering odds and promotions for the event.

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    The Virtual Grand National began in 2017 with its inaugural race, and has been held every year since, going on to earn a regular spot for broadcasters the day before the event. Punters can even use the VGN as a predictor for their betting options for the real-life race itself, with the software designed to replicate all of the rigours of the physical racecourse.

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    In 2020, the VGN took on greater prominence after the actual Grand National was cancelled for the first time since World War Two due to the ongoing pandemic. The virtual race was broadcast by ITV during the allotted slot for the real-life race as a replacement for the latter, meeting an audience of 4.8 million viewers in the United Kingdom on ITV at the peak time of 17:15 BST.

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    In light of the pandemic, bookmakers altered the style of their wagers for the contest, offering bets only up to £10 each-way. However, the top betting sites in the industry teamed up with NHS Charities Together, raising £2.6m as part of the profits from the event. Although the Grand National returned in 2021, the Virtual Grand National remained prevalent both on television and as a betting event as a whole, as Potters Corner won the virtual race. The horse was not as successful in the real thing, but the record of the VGN has proven to be a solid indicator of how the real-life charges will fare over the four miles and 40 fences of the prestigious race.

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    The 2022 event retained the event's popularity and was broadcast live the day before, after which it was replayed on ITV before the actual race began. Snow Leopardess won the race ahead of Any Second Now and Delta Work.

The primary difference between the Virtual Grand National and the Grand National is fairly obvious: one is a computer simulation and the other is a real-life event.

When it comes to the actual Grand National, anything can happen, from incredible feats of speed and athleticism from horses to dramatic falls that can end the fortunes of even the most talented of competitors. The roar of the crowd can also not be accounted for during a simulation, with up to 75,000 spectators cheering on their respective horses to get over the line in first place.

Even with the latest CGI technology and mathematical algorithms, the electrifying atmosphere and sense that anything could happen is unmatched. In 2022, Noble Yeats won the race at odds of 50/1 and his jockey Sam Waley-Cohen became the first amateur champion since 1990. Truly an incredible event.

There are also differences between the betting options for the Virtual Grand National and the Grand National, with Virtual options more basic compared to Grand National odds. That said, the markets that will be available include outright and each-way options, which both offer great value.

However, the odds for the main meet are a lot more diverse. Apart from each-way Grand National betting and outright wagers, you will also be able to place forecasts, tricasts, and many other types of exciting alternatives.

We will publish the latest odds for the 2024 VGN once they are available.

YearWinner
2022Snow Leopardess
2021Cloth Cap
2020Potters Corner
2019Rathvinden
2018Tiger Roll
2017Cause of Causes

The VGN usually takes place one day before the actual event, so with the 2024 Grand National set to be held on 13th April, we're looking at a tentative date of the 12th of the same month.

However, with the 2023 Virtual Grand National not having taken place at all, we can't confirm anything at the time of writing. We do remain hopeful that it will return in 2024, though, judging by the Tweet below from William Hill ambassador Nick Luck:

Following the success of the Virtual Grand National, the The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown was created in 2020 as a virtual horse racing event. This again was due to the ongoing pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the real-life Kentucky Derby.

Computer simulations were used to determine the winner of a virtual race that featured 13 past Triple Crown champions, including Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. It was then broadcast on NBC, and even managed to raised funds for charity as well as the Racehorse Retirement Foundation.

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    The Virtual Grand National Race of Champions, which coincides with the VGN, pits a number of legends of the national hunt against each other, including some notable fan favourites in Red Rum, Anibale Fly and many other previous winners.

Other than that, many bookmakers offer a variety of different virtual options to bet on, with a new race taking place every few minutes. If you'd like to learn more, we recommend guide to virtual horse racing before getting started.

It is a simulation of the highly anticipated, real-life Grand National, created using CGI technology to emulate the look and feel of the prestigious race at Aintree Racecourse.

The first Virtual Grand National was staged in 2017 and was won by Cause of Causes.

The date for the 2024 VGN has not yet been officially confirmed. We will include any updates on this page once more information is available.

So far, no bookies have announced or released any markets. In 2022, though, it was mainly the above listed bookmakers who offered the event, and so we expect them to do the same for 2024.

You will be able to bet on the outright winner and place each-way bets on the event.

The Virtual Grand National might not be the ‘real’ thing, but thanks to the technology behind it, it's as close as it gets. The algorithms used in the simulation are highly accurate, with previous results and outcomes to prove it as quoted further above in this article.

Moreover, the VGN eliminates factors such as injury or other unforeseen circumstances, making it a lower-risk way to bet.

This makes for an increased amount of fun when betting on the Grand National, as punters can try their luck twice in two days: once on the virtual race, and a second time on the real thing!

WRITTEN BY Jeremy Sant Fournier View all posts by Jeremy Sant Fournier

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s sports. A football fanatic at heart, Jeremy can always been found watching, playing or talking about sports. It’s in his blood, and with a keen interest in sports betting, sports writing is a match made in heaven.

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