Ian took over from Peter Hastings-Bass in 1964 at the age of 26 when his employer died at the early age of 43.He thereby inherited such influential owners as Her Majesty the Queen, Lord Sefton and the American millionaire Paul Mellon. Having inherited a knowledge and love of horses from his father Gerald, himself a Ten Goal polo player and racehorse trainer; Ian had already ridden over seventy winners on the flat and over jumps.
He had won a Rugby Blue during his time at Cambridge, and had played for Bath, Newbury and Dorset and Wilts. In taking up the challenge it did not take Ian long to prove himself a shrewd trainer, placing his horses well and taking early advantage of the opportunities offered by campaigning his string in Europe.
The prize money on offer abroad in the late 60s and the 70s was high and the competition sometimes less fierce. His enterprise was rewarded by heading the overseas trainers’ table on three separate occasions and Champion Trainer at home in 1971.
Ian trained over 2,000 winners which include victories in 41 Group One races, 33 Group Two races, 49 Group 3 races and a further 60 Listed races. Add to this a tally of major Handicaps and it is easy to see why he was regarded as one of the very best trainers in Europe. Since handing over the licence, Ian has maintained an important influence on the running of the yard and Andrew values his opinion hugely.
In 2003 Ian wrote his autobiography, entitled ‘Making the Running’ Copies can be bought by calling the office on 01635 298 210.
In 1969 Ian had married Peter Hastings-Bass’s daughter, Emma Balding, and she has run the Stud at Kingsclere for the last eighteen years.
From a small nucleus of mares they have produced three individual black type winners and with a young group of mares hope to continue to up-grade the whole breeding operation.
Emma plays a very important part in the running of the operation and has been responsible for many of the bargain yearling purchases over the last thirty years. Her exceptional eye for young talent has unearthed horses such as Tagula, Halmahera, Border Arrow, Phoenix Reach, Pentecost, Vanderlin, Dubaian Gift, Dubaian Duel, Nicobar, Iberta King, Top Lock, Siegfried, Goldoni, and Gardening Leave ; all were bought for under 40,000 guineas.