Tony McCoy pays tribute to champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe
AP McCoy led the tributes to one of his predecessors as champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe, who died yesterday at the age of 72.
Champion in 1965, 1966 and joint-champion with Bob Davies in 1969, Biddlecombe married former trainer Henrietta (Hen) Knight in 1995.
The 'odd couple', as they were affectionately known, enjoyed fantastic success with the likes of Edredon Bleu, Lord Noelie and Impek, but will forever be remembered for their association with the legendary Best Mate, who claimed the Gold Cup between 2002-04.
McCoy partnered Best Mate to victory in the 2002 King George VI Chase at Kempton and Edredon Bleu to a thrilling triumph in the Queen Mother Champion Chase two years earlier.
The 18-times champion jockey said: "I spoke to Hen on Wednesday and I was going to go and see him on Thursday or Friday, but she said he had a bit of a chest infection and I should leave it for a few days.
"She rang me this morning and said he had sadly passed away very peacefully, which I suppose is a good thing, if there is a good thing.
"He was a great man and had a great life. If he was still here he'd have told you that himself.
"He came to my party for my 4,000th winner and Henrietta said that was the last time he was out. I've been very friendly with him since and it's sad, but he lived a great life, that's for sure."
The jockey who rode Best Mate to all three Gold Cup victories Jim Culloty, now a successful trainer in the Republic, said: "I met him about a month ago and we had dinner together. Physically he obviously wasn't great, but mentally he was in great form, as usual.
"He was a great fellow and a great character. He was larger than life and lived it to the full.