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Clare Balding (born 29 January 1971 in Kingscleremarker, Hampshire, Englandmarker) is a BBC sports presenter, journalist and jockey.


In 1989 and 1990, she was a leading amateur flat jockey and Champion Lady Rider in 1990.

She was educated at Downe Housemarker, a highly respected girls' independent school near Thatchammarker in Berkshire, and studied English at Newnham College, Cambridgemarker where she was President of the Cambridge Union Societymarker 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 after the retirement of Julian Wilson and has fronted coverage of a number of Grand Nationals.

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.

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 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 club's nickname derives from the location of their old ground on Airlie Street.

She also presents the walking programme Ramblings for BBC Radio 4 (where she also stands-in on the Saturday Live programme), Wimbledon for 5 Live and has written regular columns for The Observer, the Evening Standard and The Sporting Life.

During the 2009 Grand National, Balding commented on winning jockey Liam Treadwell's teeth, and suggested that he could "get them done" with his prize fund. The BBC received 1,477 complaints about the comment, leading to an apology from both the presenter and the BBC.

Family and personal 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 and Queen Elizabeth 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 to Queen Elizabeth II. Her maternal grandmother Priscilla is descended from the Earls of Derby.

In September 2006, she formalised her relationship with the BBC Radio 4 continuity announcer and newsreader Alice Arnold by entering into a civil partnership . They live in Chiswickmarker, Londonmarker.

On 29 May 2009, Balding announced that she has thyroid cancer. She told the Daily Mail newspaper that she had her thyroid gland removed and would have radioactive iodine treatment in July this year. She promised to be back on television covering the Epsom Derby, by the following Saturday. On 21 August 2009 she announced on her website the results from a post-treatment scan which showed the radioactive iodine had been successful with no signs of the thyroid cancer having spread anywhere else.

Charitable activity

Balding 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.

She is currently filming on the West coast of Scotland


  1. Daily Mail: "Balding finally steps out with lesbian lover".
  2. "Clare Balding to appear in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 2008-02-28. Retrieved on 2008-02-29.

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