Talking Horses: millions will tune in for ITV’s Virtual Grand National

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The strict UK lockdown means that this virtual race could pull in more viewers than the actual Aintree spectacular could

Around lunchtime on Saturday, somebody somewhere will hit “enter” on their keyboard and, a fraction of a second and many millions of calculations later, it will generate the result of the 2020 Virtual Grand National. A few hours after, many millions of viewers – more, perhaps, than might have watched the real thing – will tune in to ITV to watch as the computer’s thought processes get the full CGI treatment and its calculation becomes (virtual) reality.

If algorithms are not your thing, think of it as the rolling of a 100-sided dice, with Tiger Roll’s name on about 16 of the faces and the other 39 virtual horses distributed around the remaining 84 faces in proportion to the computer’s idea of their chance. Poor old Double Shuffle, at 100-1, is only there once, but in the unlikely event that his name does come up, it should guarantee a healthy return for NHS Charities Together, which will receive all bookmakers’ profits on the virtual race.

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Written by Greg Wood
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2020/apr/04/talking-horses-millions-will-tune-in-for-itv-virtual-grand-national-horse-racing under the title “

Talking Horses: millions will tune in for ITV’s Virtual Grand National

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