CHOP HER; Race fans call for Balding axe over teeth jibe.
ANGRY racing fans yesterday called for BBC presenter Clare Balding to be sacked after she made Grand National winner Liam Treadwell show his crooked teeth on live TV.
As she interviewed the shy jockey after his win on 100-1 outsider Mon Mome, Clare said: "Give us a big grin to the camera." And when he smiled but kept his mouth closed, she added: "No, no - let us see your teeth."
As reluctant Liam, 23, obeyed, Clare continued: "He hasn't got the best teeth in the world but you can afford to go and get them done now if you like."
Her comments infuriated fans. One wrote on the BBC's website: "When Liam Treadwell has just won one of the most dangerous horseraces it is incredible that all Clare Balding could do was comment about his teeth - how about a simple congratulain tion?"
Another fan wrote on the Racing Post site: "Clare Balding should be let go! The best moment of his life cut down by that plumpo.
He's a jump jockey, not a male model." Diplomatic Liam, who pocketed pounds 50,000 prize money, yesterday insisted he was not upset by Clare's comment.
He added: "Afterwards someone said to me, 'Did you realise what she said?' but I took it jest. I wasn't offended or annoyed.
Clare apologised to me afterwards so there are no hard feelings there." His proud fiance Emily Warner, 19, said: "I love him whatever Clare Balding says.
"Any other day those comments would have really upset him but
I think he was just so happy to have won, he wasn't that fussed.
"I don't think he'd ever change his teeth now anyway - Liam's quite superstitious and it could change his luck!" The BBC said: "This was intended as a light-hearted comment and Clare apologises for any offence caused to viewers.
She has apologised directly to Liam." Liam's mum Lorraine from Arundel, West Sussex, said: "He was born with the teeth that he has got.
"He'd never have them fixed because being a jockey he knows there is a good chance he's going to lose them in a fall. He's still my handsome boy though." Clare was unavailable for comment yesterday. The 38-yearold Cambridge graduate is the daughter of the Queen's former racehorse trainer Ian Balding.
She is an ex--flat jockey and won the Royal Television Society's TV Sports Presenter of the Year in 2003.
DELIGHT Jockey Liam and his fiance Emily FOOT IN MOUTH Clare interviews an embarrassed Liam
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 6, 2009|
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