Bookmakers are to donate over €200,000 to Irish charities from the profits on Saturday's Virtual Grand National, with the Irish Red Cross the primary beneficiary and the Mater Foundation also named as a recipient.

Profits from all bets placed in Ireland will be channelled to Irish charities, while NHS charities will receive over £2.6m (€2.95m) from wagers struck in Britain.  

With the real thing cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and racing on hold until at least the end of April, the computer simulation captured the imagination, with the race run at 5.15pm to replicate what would have been the actual start time.

It proved to be a virtual epic, with the Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner (18-1) clinging on under teenage rider Jack Tudor to hold off the challenge of Walk In The Mill on the run from the Elbow.

ITV said almost a third of all British viewers at the time watched the race, with the show peaking at 4.8m - 30% of the overall television audience. Across the programme, an average of 4.3m - a 28% audience share - were watching.

Last year's virtual race, run as a precursor to the main event, was watched by 737,000 people and the actual Grand National by nearly 10m.

Bookmakers had helped boost interest by announcing all profits would be donated to charity.

The Betting and Gaming Council hopes further money may be raised from successful backers donating some of their winnings.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: "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.

"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 a 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.

"It's also fantastic that the Jockey Club will be 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 at Aintree."