There's no stopping the odd couple

Henrietta Knight and Terry Biddlecombe are now a formidable combination

They were racing's most unlikely couple when they married three years ago, the well-spoken Henrietta Knight and the drink-damaged Terry Biddlecombe, the sport's Posh and wrecked if you like.

They were racing's most unlikely couple when they married three years ago, the well-spoken Henrietta Knight and the drink-damaged Terry Biddlecombe, the sport's Posh and wrecked if you like.

As one, however, they have formed a significant team fighting out of the West Lockinge Farm near Wantage and yesterday came their greatest moment of all with a double here in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase.

Biddlecombe remains one of the great heroes of the National Hunt game even if the former champion jockey has not ridden a horse in anger for almost 30 years. These days he quietly assists his trainer wife, though the mantle of one of the sport's great buccaneering figures still hangs on him.

Biddlecombe used to be a fearless figure either on horseback or the bar stool. The talent was such that he was stable jockey to both Fred Rimell and Fulke Walwyn and he won the Gold Cup here on Woodland Venture in 1967.

On his last ride at the Festival, in the Cathcart Chase which used to close the meeting, his fellow riders conspired to ensure Biddlecombe was last to the start. He was applauded from the stands every step of the way as went down on Amarind.

They still love Terry and he probably went home with shaker's cramp last night. He looks as he always did, a face shaped and coloured by various forces in the early morning and late at night, but the clothes are a bit different these days. Tweeds, don't you know, and a brown trilby hat.

Biddlecombe may have raised hell, and indeed probably put it through school, but the times when he went walkabout, appropriately enough in Australia, are now well behind him. He doesn't drink, but he must have wished he'd saved a couple for the champagne moments of yesterday.

Henrietta Knight cut an interesting figure too in muddied Emma Peel boots and pearls. She has exotica of her own. The sister-in-law of Lord Vestey, the chairman of Cheltenham, and the third Mrs Biddlecombe, she taught biology at Reading Grammar School. A former leading participant in the point-to-point field, Knight has built up a solid reputation after just 10 years with a licence.

And we must not forget the horses which gave Team Lockinge their fourth and fifth Festival winners. Edredon Bleu did well to win a crackling Queen Mother Champion Chase considering the prissy name he takes into battle with him. A translation as blue eiderdown is hardly the stuff to terrify the snorting chargers of racing's sprint-chasing division. A great feature of this race was the torrid climax and the symmetry in the finish of Norman Williamson and Tony McCoy, on the winner. It seemed iniquitous that the former was punished for his efforts.

For the stable jockey, Jim Culloty, it was a first Festival success when Lord Noelie captured the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. The 26-year-old jockey immediately felt the benefits that such a success can bring. "To ride a winner here is just an unbelievable feeling," he said. "I've suddenly got an amazing number of friends.

"I thought it was imperative that he jumped the last three well and he did. He was going to win or lose the race from the last and luckily he put in a flyer. Luckily I'm not riding tomorrow so I'll be able to celebrate."

Knight and Biddlecombe will toast a little more soberly and contemplate further riches and further glories ahead. "I decided to run when I heard the farming forecast on Sunday and the ground was obviously going to be in his favour," the trainer said. "He must have decent ground to jump off.

"This brings thoughts of lots of things, including the Grand National. He'll stay all day and is very honest. We'll consider running him at Aintree next month because he loves this spring ground. But this is the day of my life, winning two such important races here."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker