Former champion jockey Biddlecombe dies at 72

TERRY BIDDLECOMBE, three-time champion jump jockey and husband of former trainer Henrietta Knight, has died aged 72.

Biddlecombe won over 900 races as a jockey including the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Woodland Venture in 1967. He was champion jockey in the 1964-65 season, in 1965-66 and 1968-69 and rode a total of nine winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

Other big-race victories included the 1963 Irish Champion Hurdle (Honour Bound), the 1969 and 1971 Mackeson Gold Cup (Gay Trip), and 1970 Welsh National (French Excuse). He also finished second in the 1972 Grand National with Gay Trip.

Born in Gloucester on February 2, 1941, Biddlecombe’s interest in horses was fostered by his father, Walter, a keen show-jumping and point-to-point enthusiast, before he embarked on his riding career at the age of 17.

He partnered his first winner in March 1958 on Burnella in a novices Hurdle March at Wincanton when beating Fred Winter a head on the runner-up.

He married trainer Henrietta Knight in 1995 and together they enjoyed many memorable achievements in racing including three victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Best Mate.

Biddlecombe suffered a stroke in October 2011, and although he recovered, his health problems continued with Knight announcing her retirement in May 2012 to spend more time with him.

An update on Henrietta Knight’s Facebook page said: “Sadly, Terry died peacefully after breakfast this morning with Henrietta by his side.”

Mick Channon, who took over the training of Knight’s string, tweeted: “Racing lost a true icon today. Others lost a friend, husband and father who made life full of fun. Terry Biddlecombe was a star.”

Champion jockey Tony McCoy, who rode big race wins for Knight and Biddlecombe on board Best Mate and Edredon Bleu tweeted: “Very sad news that former champion jockey and the legend that was Terry Biddlecombe has passed away. Thoughts with Hen and his family RIP.”

Former champion jockey Peter Scudamore also paid tribute. He Tweeted: “Sorry to hear of the death of Terry a real hero who walked with kings and filled the unforgiving minute.”

Biddlecombe is survived by Knight and his five children Laura and Elizabeth from his first marriage to Bridget Biddlecombe and James, Robert and Lucy from his second marriage to Ann Biddlecombe.

Source: Racing Post 5th January 2014

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