Judi Dench will be off to the races in April after revealing her horse As De Mee will be part of this year's Grand National.

The actress co-owns the seven-year-old bay gelding, who is trained by Paul Nicholls and often ridden by jockey Sean Bowen, and has high hopes for the horse ahead of the world's most famous steeplechase at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, England.

The Oscar winner tells the Aintree website her love of horse racing began in France, when a horse that shared the same name as her cat won a hurdle.

"I had a French sister-in-law whose family had a racing stable in Chantilly," Judi recalls. "I went over there with my family and they were racing in Chantilly and we went.

"There was a horse named after my cat and it came in (won) and I've never quite known what we won because I was quite little! But it probably paid for our holiday. I used to ride a lot too, so after that I've always had a huge love for racing."

She thinks As De Mee, who has finished in the top three 14 times in 27 races, has a good chance of making money at the Grand National, but the actress admits she's not sure the horse can beat early favorite Definitly Red, a chestnut gelding out of Ireland.

"I think I would put money on Definitly Red, by a fact of having a red headed grandson…!" she smiles. "I've spent quite a lot of money on him!"

The Randox Health Grand National takes place on 14 April.