• Horse racing

Knight leads Biddlecombe tributes

ESPN staff
January 6, 2014
Biddlecombe and wife Henrietta Knight in 2012 © Getty Images

Terry Biddlecombe's wife Henrietta Knight and AP McCoy have led the tributes for the former jump jockey champion after he died on Sunday aged 72.

During his career Biddlecombe became one of the sport's best-known figures, winning over 900 races, including the 1967 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and going on to win the jockey's title on three occasions.

Wantage trainer Knight married Biddlecombe in 1995 and the pair became known to a new generation of racing fans as the trainers of Best Mate, who went on to win consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The pair also enjoyed success with Edredon Bleu, Lord Noelie and Impek.

Knight quit training in 2012 to look after her husband as he battled a long-running illness.

"Terry was a wonderful friend to me," Knight told the Racing Post.

"I adored him and we had been together for 20 years. He was special. He taught me a tremendous amount about horses and racing and life.

"We have had so many people ringing up and sending messages. Terry did an awful lot for racing, he has set the sport alight over the years. It will seem very strange without him."

Eighteen-time champion jump jockey McCoy also paid tribute to Biddlecombe, who he formed a good relationship with after enjoying success with Edredon Bleu and Best Mate.

McCoy said: "He was a great man and had a great life. If he was still here he'd have told you that himself.

"He came to my party for my 4,000th winner and Henrietta said that was the last time he was out.

"I was lucky I had a lot of success with himself and Hen - a Champion Chase on Edredon Bleu and a King George on Best Mate. I've been very friendly with him since and it's sad, but he lived a great life, that's for sure."

Former Southampton forward and current trainer Mick Channon formed a close friendship with Biddlecombe, who used his yard with Knight, and he also paid tribute to the 72-year-old.

"I have known Terry for a while now, not as long as some of the older jockeys, obviously, but he was a great man and in the time I've known him he became a great friend. Since the stroke it has been very difficult for everybody, but Hen has been absolutely amazing through it all.

''They were such a fantastic couple and Hen has been such a devoted carer and wife. They were totally dedicated to each other.

''Terry was a great character and a great friend and it's just very sad.He will be sadly missed by everyone. I'm a bit choked up about it. I don't know what else to say.''

Jim Lewis, the owner of the likes of Best Mate and Edredon Bleu, told the Yorkshire Post: "Terry was a major part of the success I had as an owner with Best Mate, Edredon Bleu and Impek. His input was vital to the victories we secured.

"People called them the odd couple, but in actual fact, there was nothing odd about them at all. They were simply madly in love with each other.

"It was an honour and a privilege to be with Terry for some of his greatest triumphs out of the saddle."

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