TV presenter Clare Balding has said she “cried herself to sleep” after learning that her hugely successful racehorse trainer uncle, Toby, yesterday died.
The devastated BBC Sport anchor, 43, this morning described Mr Balding – one of the few National Hunt trainers to have won jumping’s so-called Holy Trinity of races – as a “brilliant trainer but an even better human being”.
News emerged yesterday that Mr Balding had died two days after his 78th birthday, following a glittering career in which he trained winners of the Grand National, Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.
Legendary jockey AP McCoy, who was given his big break by Mr Balding, tweeted yesterday: “Tonight I cried when I heard the news my old boss & friend Toby Balding had died, we had great times together. He was my Ultimate Mentor RIP.”
Mr Balding, who was born Gerald Barnard Balding in the US, was brother to Clare Balding’s father, Ian, also a horse trainer, as is her younger brother, Andrew.
His father, Gerald Barnard Balding Senior, ran a polo team and the family returned from the US to Britain in 1945, where he was educated at Marlborough College.