Grand National: Clare Balding

THERE were two big winners at Aintree yesterday.
One was 100-1 shot Mon Mome, ridden by the near toothless Liam Treadwell.
The other was BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding.
Fronting the Grand National coverage, Clare proved once again just what a superb broadcaster she is.
Totally at ease in the middle of the frantic racing action – her home turf.
Able to find, recognise and talk to dozens of characters around the racecourse, with an instant recall of facts about them.
She interviewed Mon Mome’s trainer Venetia Williams as the horses prepared to leave the parade ring.
And got full value from both her and all the connections in the middle of the post-race celebrations.

With top class coverage of the afternoon provided for the BBC by independent production company Sunset+Vine.
Of course some will say Clare, 38, should be at home on a racecourse.
Her father Ian Balding trained the legendary Mill Reef, who won the Epsom Derby some six months after Clare was born.
Her brother Andrew trained the winner of the Epsom Oaks in 2003, leading to a memorable post-race interview with his sister.
And she is a former champion amateur jockey.
But it takes a lot more than just a racing background to rise to the ranks of an award-winning presenter.
Clare is a great broadcaster when she’s in the thick of the horse racing action.
Giving us the benefit of her knowledge and contacts.
She can also translate those skills into other areas.
Such as her work as a presenter at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, Athens and Sydney.
Plus a range of other TV jobs – along with work for both Radio 5 and Radio 4.
She will also, I expect, be a regular visitor to Salford when BBC Sport moves there in 2011.
You may be looking for the point of this little eulogy.
Well, here it is.
Many people resent having to pay the BBC licence fee.
Which I find very short-sighted.
You’d miss it if it wasn’t there.
And presenters like Clare Balding make it worth every single penny.
Update: Some viewers were upset by Clare’s post race interview when she asked winning jockey Liam to show his gapped teeth. As commented on below, I took it as a joke between two friends. A BBC spokesman said: “It was intended as a light-hearted comment. Clare has apologised directly to Liam.”
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14 responses to “Grand National: Clare Balding

  1. Marc Wilson

    Are you kidding? You did see her publicly humiliate Liam Treadwell after the race, didn’t you? Completely unprofessional.

  2. charles smith

    I thought her comments about Liam Tredwell’s teeth were very unprofessional and rude. I dread to think what she’s say if she interviewed someone who was disabled … very dissappointing

  3. john jacobs

    What? Are you serious? She is a disgrace! Made absolutely cringe-worthy television. This was Liam Treadwell’s finest hour on national television and the stuck up clare balding insults him about the state of his teeth!! Disgusting! How about she spend some money getting her face done.

  4. Katey

    I was really shocked when Claire made the comment about Liam’s teeth saying he can afford to get them fixed now. really unnecessary.

  5. Ken Lawless

    Her comments to Liam Threadwell were insulting, degrading and unprofessional. She is not exactly a miss world contestent herself. I hope a public apology is forecoming.

  6. Brian Jose

    Agree with Marc Wilson. Making a point of Liam Treadwell’s teeth and suggesting he could now get them fixed was toe-curling embarrassing. I wish he’d replied, “Hey Clare, your bum is a bit big — maybe now you’ve got a big BBC contract you can afford a personal trainer, or liposuction, or at least a manners coach.” Not just unprofessional. Just plain rude and insulting.

  7. Ian Wylie

    Comments noted. But I took it as a joke between two friends.
    Clare’s sister-in-law and manager Anna Lisa Balding has subsequently told the Telegraph: “They are very great friends and it was just a comment made in jest. Liam didn’t take offence.”

  8. Alison Macarthur

    For goodness sake what a lot of rubbish! Crawl out of Clare Balding’s bum for long enough to see what her comment actually was – a cruel unnecessary put down.

  9. lisa Jones

    Sorry maybe i have jumped on the band wagon as i didnt actually see the interview only heard about it on Radio 1 newsbeat, dont usually feel that cross about something to go out my way to respond but think Clare is totally out of order with her comments, i have had bad comments about my teeth and even though you smile through it at the time it really does play on your mind. i am now spending a small fortune on orthodontic work and still getting smart comments from people about the brace!! you cant win, she should seriously put her brain into gear before opening her mouth.

  10. Richard Coleman

    It takes all sorts I suppose.
    To me she is the very worst sports presenter I have seen. Her unceasingly earnest and patronising attitude towards the viewer makes me cringe every time I have the misfortune to watch her present BBC sport. Thank goodness their racing coverage is being shredded. I only hope she is never asked to front the Open golf.

  11. John

    Clare Balding proffesional? What she said regarding the jockeys teeth was a disgrace, I have a message for her. “Hey Fatty, about time you started jogging and a diet, what you say clare”.

  12. ruth seddon

    Well out of order

  13. 'BJ' Neil

    Clare Balding is one of the best sports presenters on TV. Her comments to Liam Treadwell were totally miscontrued – she thought he’d lost his teeth in a fall whilst riding, i.e. underlining how brave jockeys are.
    Re. Charles Smith: FYI Clare heads up the BBC Paralympics coverage and does a brilliant job!

  14. aubrey

    Clare Balding is a disgrace! And what a superb blog from Ken about the size of Ms Balding’s bum and wondering whether she can now afford liposuction after such a huge BBC contract. Sounds familiar to her telling Liam that he might now have enough money to have his teeth fixed! But we must not overlook that Liam has accepted Ms Balding’s apology. However, as someone else so famously said “he would say that, wouldn’t he”!

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