Retiring Knight to join forces with Channon yard
Henrietta Knight is looking forward to the future -- which will include a link-up with Mick Channon -- after announcing her retirement from the training ranks.
The three-times Gold Cup-winning trainer (65) will give up her National Hunt licence to spend more time with her husband, Terry Biddlecombe, who suffered a stroke last October.
It is the wear and tear sustained by Biddlecombe as a champion jump jockey, rather than the stroke, that chiefly prompted Knight's announcement. His lack of mobility is such that she has decided to care for her husband without also supervising a string of horses.
"It's all those racing falls Terry had back in the '60s," she said. "He broke 46 bones and now he's paying for it."
Knight 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, 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 which 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.
Knight, a former schoolteacher, has saddled over 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 -- with another star being Edredon Bleu, which won both the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase and the 2003 King George VI Chase.
"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. It's probably time to hand over to younger people. 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, which narrowly stemmed the late thrust of Minidress. Hughie Morrison, who had warned that the filly would get tired, predicts plenty improvement ahead of her bid for the Epsom Oaks, for which she is now a best price of 25/1. (© Independent News Service)