Three-time champion over jumps Terry Biddlecombe dies at 72

 

Terry Biddlecombe, the three-times champion jump jockey who in later life was associated with the triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate, died on Sunday, aged 72.

Biddlecombe won the jockeys’ title in 1964-65, again the following season and tied with Bob Davies in 1968-69. He landed the 1967 Gold Cup on Woodland Venture and rode nine Cheltenham Festival winners in a career total of more than 900. Other big-race victories included the 1969 and 1971 Mackeson Gold Cup with Gay Trip, on whom he finished second in the 1972 Grand National.

In 1995, he married trainer Henrietta Knight. The partnership guided Best Mate to successive Gold Cups from 2002 to 2004 and also enjoyed notable success with horses such as Edredon Bleu, Lord Noelie and Impek.

Biddlecombe suffered a stroke in October 2011 and had battled illness for long periods since.

Trainer Jim Culloty, who was stable jockey for 10 years and rode Best Mate to his Gold Cup wins, said: “He was a great fellow and a great character. He was larger than life and lived it to the full.”

The champion jockey Tony McCoy, who won the 2002 King George VI Chase on Best Mate and the 2000 Champion Chase on Edredon Bleu, said: “I’ve been very friendly with him since and it’s sad, but he lived a great life. He came to my party for my 4,000th winner and Henrietta said that was the last time he was out.”

Mick Channon, who trains the Knight string since her retirement in 2012, said: “Hen has been such a devoted carer and wife. They were totally dedicated to each other.”

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