Channel 4 is searching for a new anchor for its Aintree Grand National coverage after Clare Balding decided to scale back her horse racing commitment with the channel.

The presenter has agreed a new two-year deal with the broadcaster that will see her anchor the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and Crufts in 2015 and 2016.

Clare Balding

Clare Balding

However, she will be reducing her overall racing involvement from 40 days to just nine high-profile meetings in 2015 and 2016 in order to concentrate on other opportunities outside the sport.

She will continue to present the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot but the broadcaster will lose its most familiar face from coverage of the Grand National in April and all five of Flat racing’s Classics, including the Derby and Oaks in early June.

She’s also stepping down from presenting duties of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France and Champions Day at Ascot.

Balding said: “I have been lucky and honoured to work as a racing broadcaster for the past twenty years and will continue to promote the sport on and off screen. I look forward to working with the enormously talented Channel 4 Racing team at Cheltenham and Royal Ascot next year and, of course, to the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.”

Ed Havard, Channel 4’s head of live events, added: “Clare is a broadcaster at the very top of her game and I’m delighted that we will be continuing to work with her on our racing coverage and the Rio Paralympics in 2016.”

Full details of Balding’s replacement for The Crabbie’s Grand National Festival will be announced in early 2015.