New Chair for Aintree after 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National

25th October 2013

Aintree Racecourse, home of the world's most famous steeplechase, will have a new Chairman after the running of the 2014 Crabbie's Grand National Festival, the course's owners The Jockey Club announced today.

After 25 years, Lord Daresbury, one of the UK's most successful business figures as the former Chief Executive of the Greenalls Group and Chairman of The De Vere Group plc, will hand over the reins to current Aintree racecourse committee director, Rose Paterson, after the Merseyside course’s showpiece Crabbie’s Grand National Festival in April 2014. 

With these plans in mind, in the last year Peter Daresbury agreed to take on two important roles within The Jockey Club, joining its Board of Stewards and becoming Chairman of Haydock Park Racecourse.

Incoming Chairman, Rose Paterson, has been a non-executive director of Aintree’s racecourse committee since 2005. Her professional background includes holding senior roles in the Paintings Department at Sothebys and ten years as The Daily Telegraph’s Northern art critic. She is also a Trustee of the Weston Park Foundation and a former Trustee of the National Museums of Merseyside Development Fund.

Rose Paterson has been involved with horses and horseracing all her life, including a stint as stable staff in Newmarket before attending Cambridge University and completing the 1,000km Mongol Derby in 2011, raising £120,000 for charity alongside her husband, Owen Paterson. Her daughter Evie, as a Junior and Young Rider, has represented Great Britain three times in the European Eventing Championships.

Peter Daresbury said:

"My association and love for Aintree is lifelong; as an amateur rider in the Grand National and the Foxhunters then as a racehorse owner and father of jockey sons who revel in the challenges of Aintree. It has been an honour to serve as Chairman for 25 years and in that time, through serious tests of the race and our mettle, we welcome more than 150,000 people to the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree while nearly 9 million watch in Britain and 600m worldwide.

"Importantly, Aintree has been carefully and comprehensively redeveloped into a great racing venue and we have created a three day festival to rival the best. In 2014, we will have the first £1 million Crabbie's Grand National as the centrepiece of the Aintree Festival and welcome our new sponsors from Crabbie's brand owners, Halewood International.

"It can easily be forgotten that there were dark days all those years ago when the very existence of Aintree was threatened. Decisive action by a wide range of people, not least The Jockey Club, ensured that the National was saved and restored to its rightful place as the greatest steeplechase in the world. There is nothing quite like it and it is firmly established as a highlight in the nation's sporting calendar.

"Aintree is successful commercially and our profits are reinvested exclusively into racing as part of The Jockey Club. While the National remains the ultimate test of horse and jockey, we have maintained a progressive policy of welfare improvements and this culture will continue.

“Over 25 years I have made so many friends through Aintree and have been grateful to our dedicated and professional staff and to owners, trainers and jockeys who have been very supportive and will, I hope, continue to support my excellent successor."

Rose Paterson said:

"It is a privilege to succeed Peter Daresbury as Chairman of Aintree after the next Crabbie’s Grand National. Thanks to his inspired leadership and commitment over the past 25 years, this great course has never been in better shape.

"My priorities will be to work with Aintree's management team to ensure the Crabbie's Grand National, already the most valuable National Hunt race in the calendar thanks to our generous sponsors, remains the most exciting race in the world; to continue to use the latest science and experience to bring home both jockeys and horses safely; to enhance our three-day festival which now provides some of the finest racing of the season; and to continue to improve the raceday experience for all our racegoers."

Nicholas Wrigley, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, said:

"On behalf of all within The Jockey Club I should like to thank Peter for his tremendous chairmanship at Aintree, which has seen the quality of racing and the experience grow significantly over the last 25 years, and wish him well in this final season in the role. We look forward to Peter continuing to make a telling contribution to British racing through his chairmanship at Haydock Park and as a Steward on The Jockey Club’s main board.

“I should also like to welcome Rose as Peter’s successor. She has been an active member of Aintree’s racecourse committee and I am confident will help our management team to continue along the upward trajectory the course has been on. Making this announcement now allows for a whole season to transition into this very important position within our Group and our sport."