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COMPUTER IS KING ON THE DAY THE NATIONAL COURSE FELL SILENT: Daqman paints this Grand National scene today: ‘It doesn’t seem real, sitting round the fire to watch the National on a sunshine weekend. It doesn’t seem real as your horse lines up with no crowd, no bookies.. and no false start! That’s because it’s all happening by computer. It isn’t real. It’s virtual. But it’s all we have for now. Take care.’

DAQMAN’S PLUGGED IN TO A VIRTUAL DOUBLE OF PAST AND PRESENT: On ITV1, former winners will come alive again in a Race Of Champions followed by the Virtual Grand National (5pm) of runners that would have been live at Liverpool today. Daqman bids for the double from a strong position ‘plugged into the wall.’ See stories below including his value bets at 18-1, 20-1 and 28-1.



The computer going is good. In three previous virtual races, staged to try to predict the Grand National result, the ‘winner’ has finished in the frame in the real race: 2017 Cause Of Causes was second, 2018 Tiger Roll won, 2019 Rathvinden was third.

Strangely – or is it? – those were my number-one selections for each year! It suggests that the computer brain and I are from the same family of anorak stats addicts, except that I don’t plug into the wall. It just feels that way sometimes when my algorithms are running through the night.

I also have form! I ran a computer race for a London newspaper on the Grand National winners of the 20th century, and here’s the result, which I reproduced in this column on Tuesday:

📊 20th-century Grand National Race Of Champions:
1 L’Escargot, 2 Red Rum, 3 Golden Miller, 4 Reynoldstown, 5 Party Politics, 6 Corbiere, 7 West Tip, 8 Royal Tan, 9 Sundew, 10 Mr Frisk.

But I have no information on how far back ITV are going in today’s race of Aintree champions, which is to be shown before the Grand National simulation.

I think they will include horses right up to Tiger Roll on their champions racecard, and be looking generally at more modern stars, so on Wednesday I gave you my ‘champions of the 21st century’ purely on ratings. I’ve plugged myself back into the wall and this is my final list.

Tiger Roll could land a virtual Grand Nationals double if he wins the race of champions and the simulation of the real National we would have been watching today.

But don’t forget he can still land the treble in reality when he comes back to Liverpool in 2021.

📊 21st-century Grand National Race Of Champions:
1 Tiger Roll, 2 Many Clouds, 3 Neptune Collonges, 4 Rule The World, 5 Hedgehunter, 6 Don’t Push it, 7 Monty’s Pass, 8 Mon Mome, 9 Numbersixvalverde, 10 One For Arthur.


5.00 ITV (Virtual Grand National): So no need to hack the ITV computer, then. The three previous virtual races which have done so well in forecasting the result of the real thing clearly focused on ability to win at the trip.

But they particularly favoured horses that have already won or run well in the major stamina tests of NH Chase and cross-country at Cheltenham: that covers all three of their number-ones, Tiger Roll, Cause Of Causes and Rathvinden.

This year those results gave us Ravenhill and Lord Du Mesnil (from the NH Chase), both non-runners today! Easysland (non-runner) and Tiger Roll from the cross-country. My computer blinks!

The ‘weight carried’ algorithm favours horses just below the 11st mark but Tiger Roll, the only Cheltenham-big-race qualifier, is now giving weight all round off 11st 10lb. Computer blinks again!

We need to look further afield. Ticking the box as stayers in the right slot in the handicap are Magic Of Light, Ballyoptic, Total Recall, Yala Enki and Burrows Saint.

But the Saint, who won the Irish National, is only seven, and other 4m winners like Potters Corner carry only 10st 6lb, so both may fall foul of a negative algorithm.

But yours truly, Daqman, insists on some input of his own. He thinks that the form is not about whether it ‘won last time out’ (cheap algorithm) but how each runner of class rates on past performance with the other.

Anibale Fly has been fourth and fifth (hampered four out) in previous Nationals and, in fact, he will be 13lb better with Tiger Roll, 8lb better with Walk In The Mill, 9lb with Magic Of Light.

I’ve added to the effect of the weights change on these four my idea of the capable new kids on the block, Potters Corner and Yala Enki.

I always claim to be about value, real racing or simulated, and 18-1 Potters Corner, 20-1 Anibale Fly and 28-1 Yala Enki look good for your household tenners, as you huddle round the fire from the sunshine outside!

📊 2020 Virtual Grand National Order In:
1 Anibale Fly, 2 Yala Enki, 3 Tiger Roll, 4 Potters Corner, 5 Magic Of Light, 6 Walk In the Mill, 7 Burrows Saint, 8 Elegant Escape, 9 Kimberlite Candy, 10 Definitly Red.

5.00 (ITV1) Virtual Grand National 40 ‘run’

⚠️ HEADS UP The computer race is for entertainment only but £10-per-customer stakes will be allowed by bookmakers to fixed odds (their betting guide is at right of horses names). This is to create an opportunity for fun betting and to provide funds for the NHS, to which all bookmaker profits will be donated

⚠️ HEADS UP FORM for the Top 14 was published in Friday’s Daqman

01 11102 Tiger Roll 10-11-10 (Gordon Elliott) Davy Russell 5-1
02 34220 Bristol De Mai 9-11-8 (Nigel Twiston-Davies) Daryl Jacob 20-1
03 23040 Aso 10-11-2 (Venetia Williams) Charlie Deutsch 66-1
04 230P0 Elegant Escape 8-11-2 (Colin Tizzard) Jonjo O’Neill jnr 20-1
05 00003 Anibale Fly 10-11-2 (Tony Martin) Barry Geraghty 20-1
06 30313 Top Ville Ben 8-11-2 (Philip Kirby) Tom Dowson 45-1
07 11P40 Beware The Bear 10-11-0 (Nicky Henderson) Jerry McGrath, 33-1
08 14210 Peregrine Run 10-10-13 (Peter Fahey) Kevin Sexton 66-1
09 01204 Jett 9-10-13 (Jessica Harrington) Sam Waley-Cohen 50-1
10 22333 Alpha Des Obeaux 10-10-13 (Gordon Elliott) Richard Johnson 25-1
11 P0031 Total Recall 11-10-13 (Willie Mullins) Paul Townend 40-1
12 0U102 The Storyteller 9-10-12 (Gordon Elliott) Keith Donoghue 40-1
13 23110 Magic Of Light 9-10-12 (Jessica Harrington) Robbie Power 18-1
14 2013P Talkischeap 8-10-11(Alan King) Tom Cannon 25-1
15 00313 Yala Enki 10-10-11 (Paul Nicholls) Bryony Frost, 28-1
16 11401 Ballyoptic 10-10-11 (Nigel Twiston-Davies) Sam Twiston-Davies 25-1
17 11031 Burrows Saint 7-10-10 (Willie Mullins) Rachael Blackmore, 12-1
18 04421 Definitly Red 11-10-10 (Brian Ellison) Brian Hughes, 14-1
19 2P204 Sub Lieutenant 11-10-9 (Henry De Bromhead) JJ Slevin 33-1
20 1P001 Ok Corral 10-10-9 (Nicky Henderson) Derek O’Connor, 25-1
21 24403 Tout Est Permis 7-10-9 (Noel Meade) Sean Flanagan 80-1
22 P3100 Vintage Clouds 10-10-8 (Sue Smith) Danny Cook 33-1
23 41100 Crievehill 8-10-8 (Nigel Twiston-Davies) Tom Bellamy 66-1
24 3P033 Lake View Lad 10-10-8 (Nick Alexander) Henry Brooke 50-1
25 04002 Jury Duty 9-10-8 (Gordon Elliott) Mark Enright 40-1
26 0U000 Pleasant Company 12-10-7 (Willie Mullins) David Mullins 28-1
27 00201 Acapella Bourgeois 10-10-6 (Willie Mullins) Danny Mullins 33-1
28 10320 Shattered Love 9-10-6 (Gordon Elliott) Lisa O’Neill 66-1
29 02U31 Any Second Now 8-10-6 (Ted Walsh) Mark Walsh 10-1
30 0P011 Potters Corner 10-10-6 (Christian Williams) Jack Tudor 18-1
31 1PP0P Dounikos 9-10-5 (Gordon Elliott) Luke Dempsey 50-1
32 30002 Kildisart 8-10-5 (Ben Pauling) Nico de Boinville 50-1
33 F4402 Death Duty 9-10-5 (Gordon Elliott) Gavin Brouder 50-1
34 14110 Ramses De Teillee 8-10-5 (David Pipe) Tom Scudamore 66-1
35 01032 Valtor 11-10-4 (Nicky Henderson) James Bowen 66-1
36 00123 Saint Xavier 8-10-4 (Paul Nicholls) David Maxwell 66-1
37 1P0P0 Warriors Tale 11-10-4 (Paul Nicholls) Harry Cobden 80-1
38 P0000 Double Shuffle 10-10-4 (Tom George) Jonathan Burke 100-1
39 30P21 Kimberlite Candy 8-10-4 (Tom Lacey) Richie McLernon 16-1
40 34P12 Walk In The Mill 10-10-4 (Robert Walford) James Best 16-1

* Peregrine Run would not have been qualified for the race itself.

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