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Clive Bailey, rider of Official and Salviati, dies, aged 70

Clive Bailey in action. The hurdles specialist spent most of his career with Toby Balding
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Clive Bailey, among the last of the specialist hurdles-only jockeys, has died aged 70.

Bailey, who was christened Robert Clive, spent almost his entire lifetime in racing with Toby Balding, who knew him simply as 'RC'.

He rode his first winner on Bobby Rock at Chepstow in August 1965 during a seven-year apprenticeship with Balding, and reckoned to ride "around 100" winners all told, enjoying his best season with 12 winners in 1977-78.

The vast majority of them were over hurdles, among them Official and Salviati, who were two of the top juveniles in the 1971-72 season.

Bailey, who stood barely 5ft 2in, rode Official, the season's top juvenile, when winning three of his four races, including the Challow Hurdle (then confined to juveniles) and the Yellow Pages Hurdle (now Adonis) at Kempton, and he partnered stable companion Salviati into a close sixth under a 7lb penalty in the Triumph Hurdle.

Balding's son-in-law and former assistant Jonathan Geake recalled: "Clive was a very good jockey in his day, particularly over hurdles, and a great character – one of the old school.

"He ran a pub for a little while in retirement but otherwise was pretty much always associated with Toby and became head lad when we moved to Whitcombe.

"He held that position through the heyday when we won Champion Hurdles with Beech Road and Morley Street and a Gold Cup with Cool Ground, and he stayed on as head lad to me for four years or so when Toby retired."

Grand National-winning jockey Bob Champion was a contemporary of Bailey's at Balding's in his early days riding and recalled: "Clive was at Toby's all the time when I was there and he was a great mate and always fun to be with. He was very small, and so not really built for riding chasers, but he was a very good rider of hurdlers."

Bailey died peacefully in hospital in Winchester on Sunday, surrounded by his family. He leaves a son Jos and a granddaughter Chloe. Funeral details in due course.

Clive was a very good jockey in his day, particularly over hurdles, and a great character - one of the old school
E.W. Terms
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