Judi Dench set to have 1st runner in Grand National

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, British actress Judi Dench poses during a photo call for the film "Victoria And Abdul" at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. The Oscar-winning actress Dench is set to have her first runner in the Grand National in April, after entering as owner of As De Mee, to the showpiece event at Aintree, England. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, FILE)

LONDON — The queen of the big screen is taking on the toughest challenge in the sport of kings.

Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench is set to have her first runner in the Grand National, the world's most grueling steeplechase, after entering As De Mee in the race at Aintree in April.

As De Mee, which is owned by Dench jointly with businessman Andy Stewart, has won at the Liverpool course before, in the 2016 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.

The 7-year-old bay gelding is trained by Paul Nicholls.

Of the 105 entered horses, only the top 40 can race in the Grand National, but As De Mee's weight allocation makes him the 33rd highest-rated horse.

Dench said: "I used to ride a lot, too, so after that I've always had a huge love for racing."

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