The Race of Champions – Watch on ITVHub this Saturday!
Whether you are a die-hard fan of sport or just flick a well-publicised game on the TV screen to keep up to date with England’s national football team, the general public just can’t help but deliberate how one generation compares to another.
Are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal better than Pete Sampras and Rod Laver in their prime? Would Lewis Hamilton beat Michael Schumacher in a race around Silverstone? Is Lionel Messi more skillful than Pele? Man City and Liverpool are good, but are they better teams than Arsenal’s invincibles? And the list of questions goes on.
There is no sporting group as intent on persuading others that their view of who is best is correct than horse racing fans, who often discuss pressing topics like whether Frankel was truly the number one Flat horse ever seen in Britain, or if the likes of Dancing Brave, Nijinsky or Brigadier Gerard had equal or more talent, rather than embrace and savour each individual horse.
Unfortunately, the answer to all of the aforementioned queries is that we just don’t know. But ITV are set to provide some relief for debating racing fans as they get the chance to witness their favourite Grand National winners over the last 100 years go head-to-head in the Race of Champions virtual race on Saturday. Buckle up because we won’t be short on opinions of who will prove victorious!
Set to be shown alongside the 2020 Virtual Grand National, which is attempting to fill the void caused by the loss of the actual event due to 2020 public safety restrictions, the Race of Champions horse race will feature 40 of the best Aintree showpiece winners over the years, from Troytown in 1920 to the infamous Tiger Roll, who has come in front in the last two editions.
Race of Champions runners also include 1990 Grand National winner and course record holder Mr Frisk and the Trevor Hemmings-owned Many Clouds, who notoriously carried 11st 9lb to victory in the race in 2015.
Which other horses are running in the Race of Champions race, I hear you say? Three-time winner Red Rum, 1981 scorer Aldaniti, fan favourite Hedgehunter and Tony McCoy’s only winner Don’t Push It are all in the line-up, as well as 100-1 shocker Mon Mome, who stunned the crowd in 2009, and dual winner Reynoldstown.
Not only do onlookers get to witness their favourite horses, but the jockeys who partnered them to success are listed to ride their National heroes, which adds that extra touch of realism in the virtual world.
A virtual Grand National has been showcased on ITV since 2017, drawing a multitude of people during the build-up to the big race, and has sometimes provided clues to the actual event in its own right, most notably when Cause Of Causes won the first virtual contest before finishing second just hours later.
You are probably wondering how to watch the Race of Champions race. Well, it is part of a 30-minute programme on the main ITV channel on Saturday, April 4, which runs between 5pm and 5.30pm. A Race of Champions live stream can be found by going onto the ITV hub.
To make both virtual races more realistic and entertaining, several bookmakers are offering markets on the contests, including Race of Champions odds and Grand National betting, for which Tiger Roll heads the market at 5-1.
Race of Champions betting is yet another thing that will draw opposing opinions, with Tiger Roll and Red Rum set to go head-to-head for favouritism. Bets of up to £10 are being accepted by multiple bookmaking firms, with all profits going towards NHS Charities Together as we continue to lift public health and safety protocol.
So, is your luck in? Plenty of Race of Champions favourites are set to go to post and we might finally find out an answer to the question: who is the best Grand National winner of all time?
Of course, it is a computer-generated contest and therefore the end result will effectively be redundant. But if Tiger Roll wins, you definitely won’t hear the last of Tiger’s fanbase roar that he is the best to have ever lived.