Knight hands over reins to be with best mate

 

If some of the circumstances of her retirement seem fairly poignant, then at least Henrietta Knight has contrived a sequel that confounds convention in satisfyingly consistent fashion. For the trainer who won so many hearts in her oddball partnership with Terry Biddlecombe has arranged to transfer most of their horses to the care of another hobbling, plain-talking veteran of debilitating sporting triumph, in Mick Channon.

It is the wear and tear sustained by Biddlecombe as a champion jump jockey, rather than the stroke he suffered last October, that chiefly prompted the announcement Knight made yesterday. His lack of mobility nowadays is such that she has decided, at 65, to tend to her husband without also having to supervise a string of horses round the clock. "It's all those racing falls Terry had back in the Sixties," she said. "He broke 46 bones and now he's paying for it."

Knight has also been baffled, and hurt, by the mysterious neglect that followed so soon after the loss of Best Mate. One way or another, she has now turned to Channon, the former footballer who has reached the top of his second vocation primarily as a trainer of Flat horses. Based a few miles apart in Berkshire, at Lockinge and West Ilsley respectively, Knight and Channon have long borrowed each other's facilities and Best Mate himself was once a regular visitor to the latter's gallops.

It was that marvellous horse who secured Knight's legacy with three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups, between 2002 and 2004 – not least in the forbearance she showed in campaigning him so sparingly. Since adopted as orthodoxy, at the time her approach exposed her to impatient criticism. The consensus now is that Best Mate would never otherwise have achieved such longevity.

Knight, a former schoolteacher, has saddled more than 700 other winners in the 23 years since taking out the licence she will surrender next month. She has especially prospered with grand, imposing steeplechasing types, being prepared to give them all the time they need, albeit she remains aggrieved by undue stereotyping, pointing out that Best Mate himself was unlucky not to win a novice hurdle on his first visit to the Festival. She also discovered unsuspected versatility in Edredon Bleu, who won both the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase and the 2003 King George VI Chase, not to mention four runnings of the Peterborough Chase.

Both these horses carried the colours of Jim Lewis, who subsequently astonished Knight by having horses trained at the more fashionable yard of the champion trainer, Paul Nicholls. Despite a drop in numbers, and a series of quiet seasons, Knight enjoyed a much better spell last winter, notably in welcoming Somersby as a final Grade One winner in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot in January.

The horses heading to Channon will continue to do their foundation work at Lockinge. "Mick and I get on really well, and I think it could be an interesting new venture," Knight said. "He, too, enjoys the National Hunt scene and is already making his presence felt in that sphere with recent good winners from only a handful of runners.

"It's probably time to hand over to younger people. We've had some marvellous times. I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment and I am hugely grateful for the backing that I have received over the years."

Channon was to be found in a more familiar guise yesterday, saddling the favourite for the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood, but Nayarra proved unable to land a blow behind Coquet, who travelled well and narrowly stemmed the late thrust of Minidress. Hughie Morrison, who had warned that the filly would get tired, predicts plenty of improvement even in the week now dividing her from the Investec Oaks, for which she is now a best price of 25-1. Morrison said: "Coquet may not have the most ability but she's certainly the toughest."

On the day one of the British Turf's most accomplished females bowed out, another received the latest boost to her career. By winning the mount on the Derby outsider, Cavaleiro, Hayley Turner will become only the second woman to ride in the great race at Epsom.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Los Nadis (7.45 Musselburgh) Dual winner round here and has continued to thrive over hurdles.

Next best

Basseterre (4.05 Haydock) Runs off the same mark as when collared late, idling, at Kempton.

One to watch

Hidden Justice (Amanda Perrett) Finished well into midfield at Goodwood yesterday.

Where the money's going

Wrote is 8-1 from 16-1 with Ladbrokes for the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas tomorrow.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?