26/09/2014 06:54 BST | Updated 26/09/2014 06:59 BST

Toby Balding: Clare Balding 'Cried Herself To Sleep' Over Uncle's Death

POOL via Getty Images
Former racehorse trainer Toby Balding poses with his medal after he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on April 3, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEVE PARSONS (Photo credit should read Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images)

Broadcaster Clare Balding has told how she cried herself to sleep at the loss of her horse trainer uncle Toby Balding, who has died at the age of 78.

The Grand National-winning trainer was instrumental in shaping the early careers of leading riders such Tony McCoy and Adrian Maguire, and his death yesterday prompted tributes from prominent figures in the racing world.

TV and radio presenter Clare, whose father Ian is also a trainer, was also among those who spoke warmly of him.

She said: "It's been a long time since I cried myself to sleep but I did last night in memory of a warm-hearted, funny, generous man who saw the best in every person and every horse. Uncle Toby was a brilliant trainer but an even better human being. Everyone loved him."

Balding trained two winners of the National at Aintree - Highland Wedding in 1969 and Little Polveir in 1989. He also won the Champion Hurdle with Beech Road in 1989 and Morley Street in 1991, as well as the Gold Cup through the Maguire-ridden Cool Ground in 1992.

Clare Balding said "It's been a long time since I cried myself to sleep"

McCoy said he had lost his "ultimate mentor", adding: "We had great times together."

Fellow trainer Jonjo O'Neill said he was "very saddened at the news of Toby Balding's passing".