Published Thursday 26th October 2017

One of the country’s most prominent broadcasters has helped raise almost £14,000 for St Michael’s Hospice.

Clare Balding thrilled the near 400 people who packed into The Courtyard in Hereford for the one-off fundraiser featuring Clare in conversation with fellow broadcaster and friend, Eleanor Oldroyd.

The evening was compered by BBC Radio Five Live’s Horse Racing correspondent, Cornelius Lysaght.

Clare covered a range of subjects spanning her early days as an amateur flat jockey – and an encounter with an unhappy Princess Anne following a race in which Clare pipped the Royal’s horse to the finish line – to interviewing the likes of Prince Harry and Angelina Jolie.

The audience learned all about her family’s impressive horse racing history, particularly that of her father, Ian, who trained Mill Reef to victory in The Derby, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and King George VI Stakes in 1971 – the year Clare was born.

‘If you ask my dad what happened in 1971, before saying it was the year I was born, he’ll say ‘that was the year Mill Reef won The Derby, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and so on,’ she joked.

She spoke warmly about London 2012 when she received rave reviews for her Olympic coverage from both the media and public alike.

One interview in particular gave viewers a moment which will live long in the memory.

South African Chad Le Clos’ swimming victory over American Michael Phelps in the 200m Butterfly final was swiftly followed by a live interview, conducted by Clare, with Bert, Chad’s father.

‘I think I only asked him one question and then didn’t need to speak again,’ said Clare.

‘He was just bursting with pride.

‘I saw him soon after and he said, ‘Clare, we’ve gone viral’.’

The Courtyard audience was invited to take part in an auction, featuring five lots, which raised a combined £1,100 for St Michael’s.

The top lot, which went for £500, was a pair of Arena Racing Company (ARC) season tickets, allowing the successful bidder to visit meetings at any of the 16 ARC courses around the country next year.

There was also a raffle, and Clare signed copies of her books, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, and her latest, The Racehorse Who Disappeared.