So it is nearly upon us, the world’s greatest steeplechase and the race that has more members of the public in Britain and indeed round the world involved.
This will be my 20th National as correspondent- it could hardly started more dramatically with the Void Race in 1993 and so much has happened since- the evacuation in 1997- I was one of the first allowed back in on the Monday and the sight then of all that food left half eaten on plates in the marquees as everyone left on the Saturday still haunts me- through to last years tightest ever win- a Nose.
There is always a great buzz as the Feast of St Aintree approaches. I am humbled to have the role of Presenter which means, for instance I MC the induction of the latest Grand National Legends(including Richard Pitman and Ruby Walsh) on the Saturday and the presentation of the National Trophy itself but there is no feeling to compare with the build up- everyone wants to be part of it.
Ireland, I have been left in absolutely no doubt whatsoever wants to win it again- the team looks so strong. Everyone would just love it if Katie Walsh, riding Seabass trained by her father, could be the one(even Ruby would raise a smile me thinks).
But let us remember this race was first run in in 1839 and won, amazingly, by Lottery- that’s the magic of it, everyone wants to be part of it, everyone wants to be in the office sweep, everyone dreams of backing the National winner.
For those 12 minutes or so, time will stand still in front of a monster crowd in this quarter of Merseyside. Every National is one of those ‘I was there’ occasions.
Let us hope for one thing more than anything else in 2013- a safe passage for all, human and equine.
Everyone in this great sport will say a loud and long Amen to that.
Mike ‘Keep your halo straight’ Vince