Oxford MailRACING: Biddlecombe to be honoured by Cheltenham Festival race (From Oxford Mail)

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RACING: Biddlecombe to be honoured by Cheltenham Festival race

Oxford Mail: John Francome (left), Henrietta Knight and Tony McCoy at the celebration of Terry Biddlecombe’s life  Picture: Matthew Webb John Francome (left), Henrietta Knight and Tony McCoy at the celebration of Terry Biddlecombe’s life Picture: Matthew Webb

Terry Biddlecombe, who died at his West Lockinge home, near Wantage, last month, is to have this year’s National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival run in his honour.

The news was announced by ex-Cheltenham managing director Edward Gillespie, who acted as the master of ceremonies at a celebration of 72-year-old Biddlecombe’s life held in the Panoramic Restaurant at Prestbury Park yesterday.

He said: “Terry’s name is intrinsically linked with all that is Cheltenham, and his name has been added to a race that forms the bedrock of the Festival.”

Henrietta Knight, Biddlecombe’s widow, said: “It is a great honour that Cheltenham is naming the National Hunt Chase after Terry this year.

“He would have been very touched. Cheltenham always was his favourite racecourse.”

The four-mile race for amateur riders will be run on Tuesday, March 11.

A gathering of around 300 attended yesterday’s celebration, including Tony McCoy, John Francome, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Martin Pipe and Jonjo O’Neill.

A short film was shown on Biddlecombe’s colourful life, which told of his three champion jockeys’ titles and his win in the 1967 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Woodland Venture.

His role in helping Knight train Best Mate to three successive Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs from 2002-4 was also highlighted.

Tributes were then paid by the Racing Post’s Alastair Down, and former jockeys David Mould and Bill Smith.

Speaking at the end of the celebration, Knight said: “Terry would have been overwhelmed to have seen all his friends here.”

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