Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench has landed an important new role – as principal Patron of the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.
Dame Judi, who co-owned the 2008 Lincoln Handicap winner Smokey Oakey, takes over as principal Patron from long-time supporter Sir Peter O’Sullevan, who died last year. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be asked to become principal Patron of the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre in succession to Sir Peter. He will be a very hard act to follow.”
“The Centre does very important work finding homes and futures for retired racehorses and while my work takes me to many different places and countries, so that I can never be sure where I will be at any given time, I hope there will be opportunities for me to attend some of the events as the Centre celebrates its Silver Jubilee”.
John Sexton, the Chairman of the TRC, commented: “It is fantastic to have Dame Judi supporting our work. She is a much-loved and well respected actress with a love of the horse. We wondered how we could possibly follow Sir Peter, who was an amazing supporter of the Centre and the work done here, but I feel sure he would be delighted to have a successor like Dame Judi”.
As well as a new name and a new Patron, the Centre has also appointed 10 ambassadors: Rose Paterson, the Chair of Aintree Racecourse, actor Charlie Lawson, jockeys Frankie Dettori and John Reid, Newmarket trainer Mark Tompkins, British Horse Society director of Equine Policy Lee Hackett, owner the Marquess of Zetland, experienced thoroughbred vet Gordon Sidlow, Louise Owen, wife of owner Michael Owen and Dinah Nicholson, widow of former leading National Hunt trainer David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson.