Bookies are set to donate more than £2.6m from bets placed on the virtual Grand National to NHS Charities Together.
The 18/1 shot Potters Corner, whose real counterpart is trained by Christian Williams, stormed to victory under Jack Tudor.
The real Potters Corner, who was enjoying time in the field nannying youngsters at the time, can now add the virtual victory to his very real Midlands and Welsh National titles.
Second and third went to Walk In The Mill (James Best) and Any Second Now (Mark Walsh) respectively, with 5/1-favourite and real 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll in fourth. However, the race going off less than five minutes after his run in the virtual race of champions, won by Red Rum, could perhaps have left him a little tired.
There was virtual heartbreak for Charlie Deutsch, who looked to have the race in the bag when Aso stumbled and fell at the penultimate. Charlie made up for the blow by “winning” Twitter with his reactions.
Christian’s two daughters, Betsy and Tilly, did a stellar job in standing in for ITV Racing’s presenters to interview their dad in the post-race debrief.
Almost a third of all television viewers tuned in on Saturday were watching the show, which was hosted by Nick Luck from home and peaked at 4.8 million viewers.
Many major bookmakers pledged to donate all profits to NHS Charities Together, which represents more than 140 NHS charities. Profits from bets placed in Ireland will also be donated to Irish charities, including the Irish Red Cross.
“We are overwhelmed with the public support for the virtual Grand National and the support shown for NHS Charities Together,” said Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) chief executive, Michael Dugher.
“When the nation was in much need of some light relief, millions joined in the fun in honour of one of Britain’s greatest sporting events and helped raise a fantastic amount for our brave heroes in the NHS.
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“The country is going through what is little short of a nightmare at the moment, so it was heartwarming to see pictures on social media of so many people enjoying themselves watching the excellent ITV Racing and Carm Productions programme which had such impressive viewing figures.
“I am proud that so many BGC members, up and down the country, are supporting in so many different ways the national effort to combat Covid-19, including here by contributing all of their race profits to NHS Charities Together. NHS Charities Together thanked the BGC yesterday but I’d like to thank them for the amazing work that they do in support of the NHS all year round.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t have the real Grand National to find out if Potters Corner would have won or whether it would have been an historic three in a row for Tiger Roll, but at this time of need the nation used the day to come together and back our NHS.”
He added it is also “fantastic” that the Jockey Club is donating 10,000 tickets to the NHS and social care sector in Merseyside for the first day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival.
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