How many Classic winners has Andrew Balding saddled?
Andrew Balding is, of course, the son of Ian Balding, who famously saddled Mill Reef to win the Derby in 1971. Balding Jnr. succeeded his father as the licensed trainer at Park House Stables in Kingsclere, near Newbury, in 2003 and, within six months of doing so, had saddled his first Classic winner. Indeed, the victory of Casual Look in the Oaks proved to an emotional affair for the whole Balding family. Clare Balding, who was anchoring BBC television coverage at Epsom, attempted to interview both her brother and her father, but none of them could manage much more than a tearful, stunned silence. Eventually she told viewers, ‘I’m sorry. The Balding family aren’t very communicative at the moment. We’ll be back to you in a minute.’
Andrew Balding had to wait a few years for his second Classic winner but, in 2020, identified Kameko as ‘the best we’ve had here [at Park House Stables] for a good long while’. His lofty opinion of the Kitten’s Joy colt was justified when he scored a narrow victory in the first Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas, which was staged a month later than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic. So, at the time of writing, Andrew Balding has saddled just two Classic winners. However, he does have six Group 1 victories to his name, the two most recent of which came courtesy of Alcohol Free, in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in 2021.