The first ever Grand National Race of Champions will take place in April 2017 to coincide with next year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival and the 170th running of the great race.
Aldaniti, Amberleigh House, Crisp, Nicolaus Silver and Red Rum will once again race on the famous and iconic Aintree Racecourse.
These legendary names will compete in a series of virtual races which will pit the greatest horses in the history of the sport against their 21st Century counterparts.
The Grand National Race of Champions, run over iconic fences such as Becher’s Brook, The Chair and The Canal Turn, will be created using the very latest 3D animation technologies to produce the most compelling, convincing and exciting virtual racing ever seen.
Specially commissioned footage of the famous course will guarantee unparalleled authenticity, with all the sights and sounds of a ‘real’ Grand National.
The Grand National Race of Champions will feature a full field of 40 ‘virtual’ runners – with the outcome unknown.
Sophisticated software will factor in the form, stamina, and skills of both horse and jockey to predict the results. The weather, the weights and the Going will all play a part. And – just like the real thing – there’ll be that all-important element of luck.
The Grand National Race of Champions will be available for broadcast and streaming live across the globe.
Richard Pitman, who rode 470 winners in his amazing career and came second in the Grand National twice, “As a Jockey I was twice runner up in The Grand National and covered this incredible race for the BBC team for a total of 36 years. I am hoping that ‘The Grand National Race of Champions’ will finally lay the ghost and my famous mount, Crisp, will beat Red Rum at last!.”
Today we can also confirm that Aintree will become the first racecourse in the UK to be featured in daily Virtual Horse Races which are streamed to online and mobile players and broadcast to bookmaker shops worldwide.
Additionally, the creators of the Virtual Races plan to run a second Aintree event – The Virtual Grand National – with the declared runners and riders in any given year competing in 3D animations – just hours ahead of the real Grand National race each year.
“The Race of Champions will capture the imagination of the millions of people who love Aintree’s Grand National and it will allow them to pour over the form, the odds and the achievements of these exceptional horses of yesteryear at their peak, and let them compete against the finest horses of today” said John Baker, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse.
“It’s great to be able to bring these greats ‘back to life’ and I hope The Race of Champions and The Virtual Grand National will become a big feature in the build up to the ‘real’ Randox Health Grand National every year from 2017 onwards.”
He continued; “I am also delighted that Aintree will break new ground by becoming the first racecourse to join the world of virtual racing bringing new audiences and attention to the most famous Steeplechase in the world.”
The Race of Champions and Virtual Grand National are the creation of broadcasting executive Rob McLoughlin of Carm Productions who has teamed up with Inspired Gaming, the world’s leading provider of Virtual Races.
Rob brought the concept to Peter Eaton, Deputy Chairman of Halewood International (owners of Crabbie’s, the Grand National sponsor from 2014-2016) who immediately championed the project with The Jockey Club.
“The reaction to the concept races have been fabulous,” said Peter Eaton.
“Inspired Gaming have pulled out all the stops and produced a sensational delivery mechanism which uses the most sophisticated algorithms and 3D technology alongside high definition pictures of the actual Aintree Racecourse.
“I think broadcasters, bookmakers, punters and the millions who have a flutter every year will find this fascinating as it brings those wonderful names of the past back to life and will it resonate globally.
“It’s also a tremendous opportunity for Aintree and the Jockey Club to now focus and dominate the expanding world of virtual racing.”
Steve Rogers, Chief Commercial Officer – Digital Games at Inspired Gaming added:
“Inspired’s Virtual Races are seen in more than 50,000 outlets worldwide and have become a key part of sports betting globally.
The introduction of the world’s most famous course Aintree into this world is big news for the virtual sports sector and confirms that it will become an even more powerful part of the betting industry in the future.
We are thrilled to be working with Rob, Carm Productions and The Jockey Club on this very exciting project.”
Rob McLoughlin concluded; “I’m proud to have grown up in Maghull the town next to Aintree, where the first Grand Nationals were raced.
“It has always resonated with me, and it will be so exciting to grab the form books of the past, select a field and watch the experts, punters and race-goers argue the merits of Bob Champion, Sir Anthony McCoy and Richard Pitman.
“It will make exceptional viewing for audiences on TV, Online, Mobiles and the technologies of the future.
“I can’t wait for the off of the first Race of Champions and Virtual Grand National in 2017 and thank The Jockey Club for the trust they’ve placed in us.”
For More information please contact:
Kate Byford at Bird Consultancy
T: 0161 839 4846
EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW VIDEO:
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‘The Grand National Race of Champions’ Details and partners:
The first field will be announced in early 2017.
As the National course and jumps have been modified over the years, a particular course from a specific year will be chosen and announced.
A Panel of Experts will also be announced to deliberate on the potential and probability of each horse and jockey of the past to complete the course and to win the race.
The outcome of their deliberations will be entered into the software produced by Inspired (part of INGG) and will also help to determine the odds. Their views will be available to the public and comments screened.
Weather conditions and the going will be the final elements added to the Inspired Software programme and they will be unveiled ahead of the race.
The race will be run live at a stated time (to be announced later) with the outcome completely unknown. The Race of Champions will be produced by Carm Productions and available to broadcasters worldwide and bookmakers.
Rob McLoughlin OBE (www.robmcloughlin.com) is a multi award winning broadcaster and producer and is a former Board Director of Granada Television and a former Advisor to Granada Media and ITV. He has just executive produced ‘The Hacienda House Orchestra’ a music documentary for Channel Four TV and created a DVD version for Sony Masterworks screened in cinemas in November 2016.
He co-hosted the first Weekend Breakfast programme on BBC Radio Five Live with Jane Garvey and in 2014 became ITV’s longest ever serving presenter of political programmes on ITV (Granada from 1994). He has made programmes for channels across the UK and globe and first reported on the Grand National for Radio City in Liverpool in 1981 and later for Granada Reports. He was appointed an OBE for Services to Broadcasting in the North West of England in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List.
Production will be supervised for Carm by the producer John Moulson.
Demonstration video produced in association with Stephen Chapman.
Aintree is home to The Randox Health Grand National, the most famous horse race in the world which is the climax to a three-day Festival meeting in April every year.
The racecourse hosts five other fixtures and is a leading conference centre in the north west of England. More information is available at aintree.thejockeyclub.co.uk.
2017 will be the 170th running of The Grand National race and the first with Randox Health as sponsor.
Aintree Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club which has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years.
Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the biggest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2014: £162.9m), courses (15) including those at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket, attendances (2015: 1.95m), total prize money (2015: £43.9m), contribution to prize money (2015: £19.9m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing’s people in need, Racing Welfare.
Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing. More information is available at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk.
Inspired is a global technology company, based in London, creating the future of gaming and lottery entertainment. It offers unique Virtuals, Casino, Slots and Video Lottery games and technology in 35 countries around the world.
Its Virtual Sports are the most original and trusted Virtuals in the world. Created by a BAFTA award-winning team of graphic designers and sports betting experts, Inspired is always pushing the boundaries to create ever more compelling virtual entertainment experiences.
Inspired’s customer base includes regulated operators of lotteries, casinos, licensed betting offices, gaming halls, bingo halls and regulated online sports books and casinos. Key customers include major regulated gaming companies such as Snai, Sisal, Lottomatica, William Hill, Gala Coral Group, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, SkyBet, and bet365.