Andrew Balding Profile
|Born||Dec 29, 1972|
Following in his father’s footsteps, Andrew Balding is one of the most prestigious horse trainers in the history of the sport.
If anyone was born to be a horse racing trainer it was Andrew Balding, whose father, Ian, trained Mill Reef to win the 1971 Epsom Derby.
Balding's elder sister is the leading TV sports presenter Claire Balding, and his uncle Toby also trained, winning the "Big Three" national hunt races in the form of the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle.
He gained a privileged education at Caldicott School, followed by respected public school Radley College, before enrolling in an undergraduate course in equine studies at the Royal Agricultural University.
Balding learned the ropes by assisting his late uncle Toby in the art of preparing thoroughbreds to win races over jumps while also winning a few races in the late 90's as an amateur jockey.
Balding's true calling is flat racing however and he took the over reins at Kingsclere stables after his father's retirement in 2003.
Early Oaks win with Casual Look
Few trainers achieve a classic win in their first season but Balding took the Epsom Oaks with Casual look in June 2003.
Sent off a 10/1 outsider under Martin Dwyer, all eyes were on the AP O'Brien trained filly Yesterday but Casual Look battled to a hard-fought neck win from the Ballydoyle favourite.
Balding's sister Clare was covering the event for the BBC and there were emotional scenes when it came to interviewing her brother after winning a first classic.
Phoenix Reach international success
Balding was not afraid to go international in search of early Group One victories and the colt Phoenix Reach provided him with some lucrative wins overseas.
In October 2003, Phoenix Reach was sent to Woodbine in Canada to tackle the Pattison Canadian International. Balding's trusted jockey Martin Dwyer got Phoenix Reach up at Woodbine to take a winning cheque worth over £350,000.
Balding then targeted an even bigger purse in the Hong Kong Vase, valued at over half a million pounds to the winner. Phoenix Reach came up against fellow overseas raiders from Ballydoyle and Godolphin but came out on top at Sha Tin.
By March 2004, Phoenix Reach's form over one mile and four furlongs had emboldened Balding to go to the Dubai Sheema Classic where a prize of £625,000 was on offer. Dwyer again got the better of a Saeed Bin Suroor mount in Razkalla to prevail by a solid two lengths in the UAE and take home the chunky purse.
Overall, Phoenix Reach won more than one and half million pounds in his career, injecting some initial cash into Balding's fledgling enterprise.
Phoenix Reach proved useful in the breeding stakes too, siring Elm Park who went on to take a number of useful races for Kingsclere.
October 2014, saw the two year-old Elm Park victorious in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy Under Andrea Atzeni. It was a notable win for Balding and the wealthy Qatar Racing operation whose maroon silks Atzeni carried to victory at Doncaster.
The capable filly Blond Me began popping up to take some nice races including the Listed Coral Distaff in July 2015 before heading to Turkey to win the Longines International Topkapi Trophy at Group Two level.
Balding showed a propensity to pick up Group One's at decent prices with victory in the 2017 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood with Here Comes When.
Jim Crowley held on gamely aboard Here Comes When, as the Sussex Stakes went back to Balding's base in Berkshire at a price of 20/1.
In September 2019, Balding kept up his family training relationship with the Queen by winning the Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 Two Year-Old Stakes with Her Majesty's horse King's Lynn.
Oisin Murphy got up in the Queen's purple and red silks as the own bred King's Lynn prevailed at a price of 12/1 at Doncaster.
With various nice winners being picked up, all Balding needed was a truly class horse to stamp his authority at the top of the game and he got that with Kameko.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Kameko was out of the graded stakes-winning Rock of Gibraltar mare Sweeter Still and made waves by winning the 2000 Guineas in a record time.
Sent to the Rowley Mile as a 10/1 chance, the Qatar Racing Colt hosed up at Newmarket to take the classic for Balding in a time of 1.34.72 to become the fastest 2000 Guineas winner of all time.
Kameko went on to win the Group Two Shadwell Joel Stakes and then ran a creditable seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland being retired to join the growing list of stallions at Qatar's Tweenhills stud.
Balding and Alcohol Free
You don't need booze to have a good time and Alcohol Free has provided all sorts of natural highs for connections with a series of high-grade wins at varying distances.
First up for the star filly came a victory in the 2020 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket over six furlongs. Oisin Murphy triumphed on the 7/2 Balding shot, taking the Group One by half a length from the Ken Condon trained Miss Amulet.
Pushed on to a mile, the Coronation Stakes at Ascot was next on the agenda and Alcohol Free took it in her stride with a one and half length win from the useful Snow Lantern.
Alcohol Free then had another decent type in Jim Bolger's Poetic Flare in second at Goodwood for the 2021 Sussex Stakes.
Again pairing up with Oisin Murphy, Alcohol Free skipped through the slop at a less then Glorious Goodwood to prevail by one and a quarter length and prove she is class distilled.
Balding is on track to win his first Flat Trainers' Championship in 2021, proving he is more than capable of living up to his family's lofty racing dynasty.
Andrew Balding is married to Anna Lisa Balding and the couple have two sons called Jonno and Toby and a daughter named Flora.
Balding is the younger brother of leading sports broadcaster Clare Balding and the nephew of the late national hunt trainer Toby. Balding's father Ian was a successful trainer, winning the Epsom Derby in 1971 win Mill Reef.
Away from racing, Balding is a supporter of Southampton FC.
Andrew Balding's net worth is believed to be £3million.