Gerald B. Balding Jr., universally known as Toby and the trainer of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Morley Street, died Thursday, two days after his 78th birthday, in England.
At age 21 in 1957, he became England’s youngest licensed trainer on the death of his father, Gerald B. Balding Sr., a world-class polo player who competed in the United States during the Depression. Toby Balding’s career took off in the late 1950s, and he won the Grand National twice, with Highland Wedding in 1969 and Little Polveir two decades later. He also won the Champion Hurdle twice, with Beech Road and Morley Street, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cool Ground, a 25-1 upset in 1992.
Balding, who had an American mother and was born in the United States, came to the United States twice with Morley Street and came away with two overwhelming victories. Michael Jackson’s champion hurdler won by 11 lengths at Belmont Park in 1990 and by 9 3/4 lengths at Fair Hill, Md., the following year.
He retired from training in 2004, shortly before the death of his wife, Caro, after a long battle with cancer. Balding suffered a stroke in 2011, shortly before he received the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to racing.
He also was credited with developing several steeplechase jockeys, including Tony McCoy and Adrian Maguire.
His younger brother, Ian Balding, trained Mill Reef and now is retired. He also is survived by a daughter, Serena Geake, whose husband took over the racing stable, and a son, Gerald Barclay-Balding, a circus entrepreneur.