First woman in charge of Grand National after Sulekha Varma named Aintree clerk

Sulekha Varma: new clerk of the course at Aintree
Sulekha Varma: new clerk of the course at AintreeCredit: Aintree Racecourse

Sulekha Varma will be the first woman to be in charge of the Randox Health Grand National after she was revealed as the new clerk of the course at Aintree.

Varma has been appointed in succession to Andrew Tulloch, who has been at the helm for the world’s most famous steeplechase for nearly a quarter of a century and stands down after Saturday’s Becher Chase meeting.

The 34-year-old, who will be the north-west head of racing for Jockey Club Racecourses, has been racing manager and clerk of the course at Hamilton Park since 2016.

After working at the Racing Post while on the BHA graduate scheme, she began as a trainee clerk of the course with the Jockey Club at Haydock in 2009 and went on to serve as clerk of the course at Nottingham, Market Rasen, Warwick and Huntingdon between 2010 and 2016.

Tiger Roll crosses the line to land his second Grand National
Tiger Roll won his second Grand National at Aintree last seasonCredit: John Grossick (

"I'm honoured to be taking on the role of clerk of the course at Aintree and north-west head of racing for Jockey Club Racecourses," she said. "I'll be sad to leave the fantastic team at Hamilton, but it's a hugely exciting opportunity to join the team who stage the UK’s most famous horserace and I'm very much looking forward to getting started.

"While British racing has faced and will face challenges, I hope Aintree will continue to be at the forefront of addressing many of those and showcasing our wonderful sport to an ever-wider audience."

Dickon White, north-west regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "We're delighted to welcome Sulekha to the team. She began her career with the Jockey Club at Haydock a decade ago and she brings a wealth of experience and extensive knowledge of the industry.

"Her role at Hamilton saw the racecourse collect a number of awards and she is already a familiar face at Aintree, having worked closely alongside the team for the past ten years during the Grand National festival.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Tulloch for his dedication and his undoubted passion for racing. I look forward to Andrew’s advisory role in supporting Sulekha and her team."

Varma will be responsible for all aspects of racing at Aintree and will also oversee the operation of the Aintree International Equestrian Centre. She will also be joint-clerk of the course at sister track Carlisle.

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David CarrReporter