TV presenter Clare Balding is a new patron of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Her association with the charity is said to be “a huge boost” to the growing organisation, which recorded an increase of 20% in registered horses last year.

RoR chairman Paul Roy said: “As the charity’s database expands and awareness of its work increases to have a patron as well known and respected as Clare is great news.

“She is a great ambassador for all equine sports and will be a great asset to RoR and help take the charity to new levels of success and influence.”

Clare, whose appointment coincides with the first day’s coverage of the Cheltenham Festival (11-14 March), will provide a short interview during the RoR parade of stars such as Kauto Star and Denman before the Festival opener on Tuesday (11 March). She described her new role as “an honour”.

“I have followed [RoR’s] work for many years and have been impressed at the range of equestrian pursuits in which former racehorses can find a happy and meaningful second career,” she said.

“I look forward to becoming more involved, discovering more about the versatility of the thoroughbred and actively helping to retrain racehorses whose racing days are behind them.”