PEMBROKESHIRE jockey Sean Bowen has a chance to write his name into the history books on Saturday when he rides last year's winner in the 2023 Randox Grand National at Aintree.

The 25 year-old from Little Newcastle - son of horse racing trainer Peter Bowen - will be hoping to steer Irish-bred Noble Yeats to back-to-back victories after the then seven year-old achieved a thrilling victory in the 2022 Aintree spectacular.

Noble Yeats was still a novice when he lined up for the Grand National last year as a 50-1 shot, but the ranked outsider saw off 15-2 favourite Any Second Now by just over two lengths to take the win.

The 2022 Grand National triumph, which gave amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, the son of owner Robert, a fairytale farewell in his final ride, also brought Irish trainer Emmet Mullins new-found fame.

And the now eight-year-old racehorse is tipped to be a major contender in the 2023 showpiece at Aintree, having finished fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month under new rider Bowen.

At 8-1, his odds are much shorter than the 50-1 winning punt in 2022, with Noble Yeats having won well with Bowen in the saddle in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree last December - but there is always the 19lb extra weight to consider.

The history books show that just five racehorses have won back-to-back Grand Nationals - most recently Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019 - although of those to have achieved the feat, pre-war winners Abd-El-Kader and Reynoldstown each had a change of jockey in the follow-up wins.

In fact, Reynoldstown's second Grand National win in 1936 had Welsh-born jockey Fulke Walwyn in the saddle - a positive omen perhaps for Welsh Horse Racing's 2022 Jockey of the Year Bowen.

The Pembrokeshire star has already competed in seven Grand Nationals and has completed four. He has also had the experience of fifteen rides over the national fences, in which he has picked up three wins.

"It's massively exciting, if that sort of ride doesn't get you excited, nothing will," said Bowen, who currently sits second in the 2023 Jump Jockey Championship.

"I know he's a lot higher in the handicap than last year, but he has shown massive improvement in his form this season, and raced in the Gold Cup, which he wouldn't have done last year, so there's no reason why he can't go (to the Grand National) with a very good chance.

"Obviously he will need every yard of the four miles-plus course, but there are two things which he will do, which is stay and jump, and hopefully he will still be there at the finish."

Western Telegraph: Noble Yeats ridden by jockey Sean Bowen (right) on their way to winning the Boylesports Many Clouds Chase during Boylesports Becher Chase Day at Aintree last December.Noble Yeats ridden by jockey Sean Bowen (right) on their way to winning the Boylesports Many Clouds Chase during Boylesports Becher Chase Day at Aintree last December. (Image: PA Wire)

After the 2022 Grand National win, Noble Yeats enjoyed a homecoming parade in trainer Emmet Mullins’ local village of Leighlinbridge over in Ireland, but there was certainly no basking in the glory.

“He seems to have come out of the Gold Cup well. He’s getting a bit wiser every time and seems to look after himself a bit," said Mullins, who says he is not resting on his laurels or approaching the race any differently this time around.

"He needs a bit more coaxing and Sean was under pressure and hard at it in the Gold Cup. When he got a bit of daylight, he flew home.

“He was last jumping the first fence in the Grand National last year and wasn’t in contention for the first two miles, which all worked out in his favour. There is no rule of thumb – it’s about getting the horse happy and confident with some space and getting the gaps.

“It will probably have to be taking the brave man’s route again to get that space, but he negotiated it last year and fingers crossed can do it again. I will tell Sean to keep going back and look at Sam’s ride last year!”.

A maximum field of 40 runners are declared for the Grand National, with last year's winner Noble Yeats, runner-up Any Second Now and third-placed Delta Workall all set to line up. Corach Rambler is currently the favourite for this year's big race.

Approximate odds: 6-1 Corach Rambler, 8-1 Delta Work, Noble Yeats, 12-1 Gaillard Du Mesnil, 14-1 Mr Incredible, Any Second Now, Le Milos, Longhouse Poet, 16-1 Capodanno, 20-1 Ain't That A Shame, Galvin, Our Power, Vanillier 25-1 Bar.

Meanwhile there will be further Pembrokeshire interest in the Grand National as last year's Summer Plate victor Francky Du Berlais will be sent out from Peter Bowen's Little Newcastle stables.

The last time a Welsh-trained horse returned victorious from the big Aintree race was in 1905 when Kirkland triumphed, but 10 year-old Francky Du Berlais has completed on all three attempts over the Grand National fences.

He has won 9 of his 44 career starts under Rules, and will be one of the most experienced runners, but has never run in the Grand National. He will be ridden by Ben Jones at odds of 66-1.