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'That's the day job' - calling the Virtual Grand National down the phone

Stewart Machin: "Never for a fleeting moment does it go through your mind that it isn't real"
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Stewart Machin's commentary on the Virtual Grand National may have been the most listened to phone message in racing history.

The coronavirus restrictions meant that he had to call the race remotely, rather than in a TV studio.

He said: "We tried various different methods and the difficulty was getting the quality of sound that would last ten minutes and we ended up what you would regard nowadays as fairly basic technology – me doing it into the voice recorder on my phone and sending that off as a file. That achieved the best quality of sound."


2020 Virtual Grand National: 4.8 million tune in to watch on ITV


Presenter Nick Luck again praised the way Machin's commentary brought an animated race to life but the caller himself said: "Mine is the easy bit in many ways because I have a defined role, it lasts for a set period and all I have to do is say what I see. That's the day job, it's what I do.

"It's so realistic that, once you start commentating, never for a fleeting moment does it go through your mind that it isn't real – they use the Aintree camera angles and the backgrounds are so realistic.

"The real hard work was done by everybody behind the scenes putting it all together and if people enjoyed it and it raised money for the NHS it was a success."

Machin's colour charts for the race were auctioned to raise funds for the NHS and went for £2,000. 

The winning bid was made by Conservative MP Philip Davies, who said: "I thought it was a brilliant initiative for a fantastic cause so I wanted to support it. The whole thing, including the auction, shows to the world what a force for good the racing and betting industries can be.

Philip Davies: "I thought it was a brilliant initiative"

"The viewing figures were brilliant, I know everyone was stuck at home but they could have been watching something else, and it was a light relief for a lot of people who're having a tough time at the moment.

"It's the kind of brilliant initiative that racing and betting need to do more of."


More 2020 Virtual Grand National news:

2020 Virtual Grand National full result: where your horse finished and who won

'Nooooooooo!' – the best of Twitter after a dramatic Virtual Grand National

Bookmakers pledge profits from virtual Grand National will go to NHS charities


Bookmakers have pledged to donate any profits from betting on the Virtual Grand National to the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. You can donate to this important cause here


 

 

It is so realistic that, once you start commentating, never for a fleeting moment does it go through your mind that it isn't real
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