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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Aintree diary: Day one
By Frank Keogh
BBC Sport, Aintree

Red Rum must be turning in his grave - a virtual Grand National is being run to find out Aintree's champion of champions, and record-breaking Rummy is NOT the favourite.

The race, a broadcast-quality simulated version of the National, will be screened by BBC TV on Saturday during the build-up to the 2004 running.

Some of the best National horses from the last 30 years were picked by Racing Post expert Gerard Delamere for the race, which was created by digital firm Iknowledge.

Red Rum wins the 1977 Grand National
Three wins, but Red Rum is not the favourite

But according to bookmakers Ladbrokes, Red Rum would only be 5-1 third favourite behind Rough Quest and L'Escargot despite winning the Aintree marathon three times in the 1970s.

Red Rum's startled trainer Ginger McCain said: "I think the idea is a great one, but I can't accept Rummy isn't favourite."

Bets from the public will not be taken, but racing pundits will place wagers in aid of the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

Television viewers have been told about a new device at Aintree called the Gallopometer.

It is designed to prevent too many horses falling at the first fence in the National, the BBC reported.

The Gallopometer measures how fast the horses are travelling - any going above 25mph will be disqualified.

Meanwhile, even the Queen has been spotted having a bet on the National.

Her Majesty, and one of her beloved Corgi dogs, was pictured in the Daily Mail entering a William Hill betting shop.

Anyone would think it was April Fool's Day.

Champion jockey Tony McCoy has one race missing from his list of big wins - his best placing in the National is two thirds on Blowing Wind.

So which rider would he like to triumph, if he is unsuccessful in 2004?

"Mick Fitzgerald or Carl Llewellyn. Mick because he's just got divorced and could do with the money, and Carl because he's the tightest jockey out there - so a little more money would make him happy," he joked.

Ladies' Day at Aintree on Friday promises to be another sight to behold as racegoers dress up for the occasion.

The course is staging a 'Looking Good' style contest, with a 23,000 Jaguar as the prize for the winner.

Not surprisingly, the fashion parade has attracted plenty of interest with more than 200 people - both male and female - registered to take part.

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