Who was Terry Biddlecombe?
In recent times, the late Terry Biddlecombe, who died, at the age 72, in January, 2014, after a long illness, is probably remembered as the husband of former trainer Henrietta Knight. Together, the ‘Odd Couple’, as they became known, masterminded the career of Best Mate, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
However, in his heyday, Biddlecombe was a hugely successful National Hunt jockey. By the time he retired from race riding, on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day in March, 1974, he had ridden 908 winners and had won the jockeys’ title three times, in 1965, 1966 and 1969, although on the latter occasion he shared the title with Bob Davies. Nicknamed the ‘Blonde Bomber’, Biddlecombe was a fearless, larger-than-life character, but his riding talent was reflected by the fact he was stable jockey to Fred Rimmell and Fulke Walwyn during his career.
Indeed, it was Rimmell who supplied Biddlecombe with his one and only Cheltenham gold Cup winner as a jockey, Woodland Venture, in 1967. Rimmell also trained Gay Trip, on whom Biddlecombe won the Mackeson Gold Cup – now the Paddy Power Gold Cup – at Cheltenham twice, in 1969 and 1971, and finished second, beaten just two lengths, behind Well To Do in the Grand National in 1972.