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Sunday 5 April 2020

An Honest Verdict on The Virtual Grand National 2020

Horse racing has all but disappeared. 

What do we have left? Perhaps a remote corner of Alaska... (I have no idea!)

For example today, racing is taking place at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, Wellington, Australia. Two beautiful destinations and I'm sure excellent racecourses. By contrast, Plumpton and Ffos Las have been abandoned. 

I could have told you that just after the Cheltenham Festival, which concluded on March 13th. 

Anyway, the Grand National 2020 was scuppered, abandoned, and thrown to one side as the Coronavirus proved the biggest obstacle, even harsher than The Chair, Becher's Brook and The Canal Turn stuck on top of each other. 

So what were we left with?

The Virtual Grand National. 


Looking forward to that! 

It's like watching the real thing except it's a computer-coded horse and jockey. The winner is chosen by an algorithm. 

Once upon a time, it was mother nature, bloodstock agent, owner, trainer and a myriad of talented staff who made a talented horse. 

How times change. 

Most punters have known about Virtual horse Racing for years. For those of you who want to get your teeth into the subject, take a look at Virtual racing on this Wikipedia page. I'm pretty sure the first Virtual racing reared its horse-shaped head back in 2006. 

For those who really know their stuff, Virtual dog racing exists. 

Virtual racecourses include Sprintvalley, Lucksin' Downs (exclusive to Ladbrokes), Hope Park and more. From what I can see, there are eight tracks in total.

In fact, online websites such as Newturf.com and Horseracingpark.com make for interesting multiplayer strategy games where you can breed, train, sell, and race virtual horses with real money involved. 

So what did you all think of the Virtual Grand National 2020?

I've always considered Virtual racing as a very poor relation to real horses, riders and racing. I've never seen a Virtual horse and jockey at Great Yarmouth and I hope that day doesn't come anytime soon. I'm pretty sure in a hundred years or so the world will be a very different place and robots and a virtual life may well supersede the ''bog-standard human existence'' which I'm sure some would swap in a jiffy. 

Don't knock it until you try it (I guess). 

I have never, ever, liked Virtual horse racing. I've joked with Eric about it in the past. It's the equivalent to swearing at a nun. If there is real horse racing taking place at the same time as Virtual racing, you would be spitting venom at the punter who could choose the dread code and algorithm result. 

How could they? 

It's like pissing on the grave on Red Rum, who would turn in his grave, at the finishing line at Aintree racecourse. 

Times must...(I hear you say!).

So, with a heavy heart, I took a look at the Virtual Racing. By that I mean I gave it the time of day rather than across the road to give it a bit of distance. 

Perhaps, it would be like watching the real Grand National? Tiger Roll was still the favourite. The jockey was the same. Funny, but I didn't see any trainer get excited.

I think my mum got confused and asked if a real jockey was riding a computer-generated horse! I think she imagined the horses were robots. I'm not totally sure what she was thinking. However, she asked about betting on the race.

I said: ''It's too complicated!''

We had Stewart (The Machine) Machin saying the commentary. No mum, he isn't a robot!

Also, Nick Luck and Alice Plunkett presenting the action from home, self-isolation. I couldn't help wonder if Mr. Nick Luck had ever paid a visit to Lucksin' Downs. 

Anyway, the horses were at the start of the Grand National. 

I was half excited. 

I thought it was brilliant that any profits from the race would be given to the National Health Service (NHS) charities. The first generous act seen by a bookmaker since one at Great Yarmouth shouted: ''Money without work'' to tempt innocent holidaymakers to place a bet which led to many becoming homeless and living on the street! 

The race started. 

All 40 horses and jockeys doing there damnedest to win. In a kind of algorithmic fashion that resembled a galloping thoroughbred horse.

Tiger Roll was leading about three out. 

Then, with a turn of foot that made Dayjur look slow, Potter's Corner shot to the lead. I'm not sure of the sex of an algorithm but he or she had a lead of some five lengths. 

A late rally from Walk In The Mill gave punters hope... 

Potter's Corner won by a length as a robotic crowd cheered with delight.

I really need to finish the last chapter of George Orwell's 1984. 

Verdict: I hate to say it - because something is better than nothing - but it was the most lifeless ''sporting'' event I have ever seen. It was the equivalent to watching nothing (if that is possible). It lacked heart, spirit, soul and was a complete letdown. 

I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Give me a day's racing at Great Yarmouth and a visit to a brick-and-mortar casino any night of the week. 

Author: Jason Coote

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i didnt see the race had no intention of watching the race (i dont even like it when its a real race) i picked one by name only on bloodygoodwinner webpage, finished 3rd, have never backed on a virtual race and never will do...how can you bet on a race unless it is just by name or some coincidence that is decided by a computer, which is strange because if you feed all the relevant data into a computer it should automatically come up with the favourite as thats the horse with the best form...NO virtual bets from mt