Clare Balding (born 29 January 1971 in Kingsclere, Hampshire, England) is a BBC sports presenter, journalist and jockey.
In 1989 and 1990, she was a leading amateur flat racing jockey and Champion Lady Rider in 1990.
She was educated at Downe House, a girls' independent school near Thatcham in Berkshire, and studied English at Newnham College, Cambridge where she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in Easter 1992 and graduated in 1993 with a 2.1.
She became a trainee with BBC National Radio in 1994, working on 5 Live, Radio 1 (presenting the sport on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show), Radio 2 and Radio 4. In 1995, she made her debut as a television presenter during Royal Ascot. She became BBC horse racing presenter in December 1997.
She has reported from four Olympic Games, for BBC radio in Atlanta and for BBC Television in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. She has presented two Paralympic Games, the Winter Olympics from Turin and the Commonwealth Games from Melbourne. She is the face of the BBC's rugby league coverage, having presented Grandstand from a Challenge Cup semi final, and having been so impressed by the vibrancy and physical challenge of the sport she requested to cover further rugby league events.
Clare Balding was the Royal Television Society's "Sports Presenter of the Year" in 2003. In the same year, she won the "Racing Journalist of the Year Award" and has followed up with the award for "Racing Broadcaster of the Year".
She also presents Crufts and the Lord Mayor's Show as well as other live events for the BBC such as Trooping the Colour and New Year's Eve. She also presents coverage of Rugby League on the BBC - once famously describing Hull FCs nickname of the 'Airlie Birds' as deriving from the fact that the club always got off to an 'early' start in their games. Oblivious to the disambiguation and to the fact that the clubs nickname derives from the location of their old ground on Airlie Street.
She also presents the walking programme Ramblings for Radio 4 (where she also stand-ins on the Broadcasting House programme), Wimbledon for 5 Live and has written regular columns for The Observer, the Evening Standard and The Sporting Life.
She has close family links to horse racing: her father, Ian Balding, trained Mill Reef, 1971 winner of the Epsom Derby, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and her brother, Andrew Balding, trained the winner of the 2003 Epsom Oaks. The latter win led to a very emotional post-race interview with her brother. Furthermore, her grandfather was the trainer Peter Hastings-Bass and her maternal uncle the 17th Earl of Huntingdon former trainer of Queen Elizabeth II. Her maternal grandmother Priscilla is descended from the Earls of Derby.
Charitable activity Edit
Clare participated in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice in order to raise money for charity. Sport Relief Does The Apprentice is part of the BBC's annual charity initiative and aired on 12 March and 14 March 2008.
The other celebrities on 'The Girls' team were Louise Redknapp, Jacqueline Gold, Kirstie Allsopp and Lisa Snowdon. The Girls won the contest raising over £400,000 from ticket sales and sales on the night of the big event at their shop.
Notes and referencesEdit
- Official Clare Balding Website
- BBC Press Office biography of Clare Balding
- Clare Balding at the Internet Movie Database