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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 November, 2004, 15:24 GMT
Balding bows out as trainer
Toby Balding
Born: 23 September 1936
Current base: Kimpton
Began training: 1956
First winner: Bower Chalk at Ascot (Flat), The Quiet Man at Wincanton (jumps)
Toby Balding brought the curtain down on his long and distinguished training career on the final day of the 2004 Flat season.

The 68-year-old is one of the few men to have trained the winner of the Grand National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle.

Balding began training 48 years ago and has had success both on the Flat and over jumps, training over 2,000 winners.

He has also helped nurture a handful of top riders with champion jockey Tony McCoy one of several men to have begun his English career with Balding.

Toby's son-in-law Jonathan Geake is taking over the licence at Kimpton Down Stables but Balding will remain in the background at the yard.

The state-of-the-art Kimpton stables are the fifth premises Balding has operated from, and the fourth within a small area of the Hampshire countryside.

The veteran trainer, who was born in the United States where his father ran a polo team, is part of a famous racing family.

Toby's first winner over jumps was ridden by his brother Ian, who went on to partner 89 further winners for his elder sibling.

BALDING'S BIG-RACE WINS
Little Polveir (right) on his way to victory in the Grand National
Grand National:
Highland Wedding (1969)
Little Polveir (1989)
Cheltenham Gold Cup:
Cool Ground (1992)
Champion Hurdle:
Beech Road (1989)
Morley Street (1991)

Ian, whose daughter is BBC TV racing presenter Clare, went on to become a Classic-winning trainer before handing on to his son Andrew in 2002.

Toby will be passing the reins on to Geake, whose parents owned Champion Hurdler Beech Road, and who joined Balding in 1986, marrying the trainer's daughter (and secretary) Serena, six years later.

And family have played a part in Balding's decision to step back from the day-to-day running of the yard.

"(My wife) Caro got a bit unwell on me and she must be number one and have priority over the horses, which is part of the reason it is now the right time for me to quit," he said.

"Our training operation is, and will continue to be a family affair."

His brother Ian, best known for his Flat success with horses like Mill Reef and Lochsong, brought down the curtain on his training career at a jumps meeting.

Conversely, Balding himself chose to stand down at a Flat meeting even though his career will be best remembered for his National Hunt triumphs.

I am basically a racing nut, for whom life from getting up and going to bed is racing
Toby Balding

The Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National stand out but his CV also contains plenty of other decent prizes.

"I've managed to win seven different Festival races as well as a couple of Tophams and the Liverpool Hurdle three times," said Balding.

"And I've had some great fun with the big handicaps such as the Tote Gold Trophy - winning that with Neblin was a big thrill.

"I'm not disappointed to be bowing out and shall do a role reversal with Jonathan by assisting him," added Balding, who also plans to stay in racing in other capacities.

"I'm still very much a racing politician and will be more involved in the National Trainers' Federation race planning/fixture allocation group."





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