Racing enthusiasts are able to enjoy all the excitement and drama of watching “virtual” racing on a new satellite TV channel, with horses, jockeys, racecourses and crowds that have all been created by a computer.

The virtual horseracing phenomenon is already a proven success in betting shops around the country and is now being offered on new sports channel iSportsTV, on Sky Digital channel 431.

Damien Cope, managing director of The Gaming Channel, which owns iSportsTV, describes virtual racing as “a successful betting product, which is cheaper to produce than real horse racing” and believes it will be popular sports fans and punters alike.

Entertainment content producer VIS iTV has developed the technology that creates the racing simulation, called “I-Race”. It has been designed so that it can be adapted to a number of different platforms including SMS (text) messaging and the internet for online gaming.

VIS iTV spokesperson Rebecca Mottershead explains: “I-Race was primarily developed as a horseracing ‘management’ game, similar to the popular football manager games currently available, which could be used on a variety of platforms.

“However, the content is flexible and the public will initially be able to experience I-Race through iSportsTV.”

Industry commentators believe that interactive TV will bring betting to new audience of individuals, particularly those who would not be inclined to walk into a betting shop.