CHEERING HOME A VIRTUAL WINNER

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Saturday’s 2020 Virtual Grand National was watched by nearly five million people, raised £2.6 million for the NHS – and gave a loyal sponsor reason to celebrate.

Put on to replace the cancelled Randox Health Grand National, the virtual version gave the equestrian world something to smile about last weekend (4 April).

And a NAF sponsored trainer, horse and jockey took the title when the Christian Williams trained Potters Corner was first past the post under conditional jockey Jack Tudor.

It was the latest chapter in a real-life fairy tale for the Welsh trainer whom NAF has supported since Christian took out a licence in 2017. Earlier this season, the team won the Midlands National and Welsh Grand National.

“It was brilliant fun, I loved it,” said Christian after the virtual race. “Here’s hoping we’ll all be at Aintree next year to win the real thing.”

The technology project behind Saturday’s race used animations and the Aintree course combined with algorithms accounting for each horse’s age, weight, form and ground conditions to create a virtual race.

NAF’s RaceOn range was created for the racing industry more than 30 years ago.