To find the last horse to take back-to-back Nationals, you only have to go back four years. It was, of course, little Tiger Roll, and at 5:15pm tomorrow afternoon, Emmett Mullins' Noble Yeats will hope to follow in Tiger's footsteps. He has a new mount (Sam Waley-Cohen retiring in fairytale victory this time last year), but in a solid (for some, unexpected) Gold Cup fourth, we caught a glimpse of this horse's potential come back... a return to promise, marked down by a Trials Day flop at the start of the year.
Aintree Racecourse, needless to repeat, is a factory of fairytales. But, even by its standards, the course has been notably blessed of late. 2021's (still crowd-free) National heralded the first win by a female jockey, and while, no doubt, the recent loss of 2017 hero One For Arthur has cast a small shadow over tomorrow's programme (he died, aged 14, of colic, at the end of last month), Lucinda Russell could be leading a fellow Scottish winner through the stands tomorrow, returning triumphant with two-time Ultima winner Corach Rambler.
Naturally, though, it's the Irish - not Scottish - washout that has so dominated recent coverage. Gordon Elliott runs Cheltenham Wednesday star Delta Work for the O'Learys, while Wille Mullins' entries include National Hunt Cup-wining Gaillard Du Mesnil, and Mr Incredible, who took third in the Kim Muir a couple of days later. Then, returning for a third consecutive attempt (he was third in 2021, second in 2022), comes Ted Walsh's Any Second Now. JP McManus put an Irish National under his belt at the start of the week, and Any Second Now's Navan success last month suggests an Aintree follow-up for JP is far from insurmountable.
But then, in the world's most famous steeplechase, nothing is ever off the cards. For, as the cavalry charge approach the first, it could be Galvin who jumps to the front, stumping recent rival, star stablemate Delta Work. Or we could be in for a signature flying finish, with the Skelton's Hennessy-winning Le Milos, saved up for the big day, coming clear. UK or Ireland, Scotland or England, we await the heroics of another Aintree Grand National. It's just one sleep away...
If you're unable to join us in person this year, you can listen to the Grand National on BBC Radio 5 Live from 5:15pm, and watch all the day's action on ITV from 2pm.