Henrietta Knight, former National Hunt trainer

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Former National Hunt trainer Henrietta Knight was born in 1946 and has lived on her Oxfordshire farm, West Lockinge, all her life.

After leaving school, Hen attended Oxford University before embarking on a career teaching history and biology.

In her early forties she decided to leave teaching behind and acquired her trainers’ licence in July 1989. This followed a wealth of success on the amateur circuit, having trained over 100 point-to-point winners between 1984 and 1989.

Hen’s first winner under Rules was at Bangor in August 1989 with The Grey Gunner. But her first major success didn’t come until 1996 when she won the Glenlivet Hurdle at Aintree with Stompin.

A year later Karshi took the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and a succession of big race wins followed.

During her career she has trained over 700 winners, saddling the popular chasers Edredon Bleu, Racing Demon, Calgary Bay and Somersby. But Hen is most famously associated with the legendary Best Mate, who took the Gold Cup for three consecutive years (2002, 2003 and 2004).

In 1995 she married three-times champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe, and in 2003 the couple won the “Timeform” award for racing personalities of the year. In the same year Hen was named Channel 4 racing personality of the year.

At the end of 2011 Terry suffered a debilitating stroke that contributed to Hen’s decision to give up training in May 2012.

Following her retirement, she plans to remain closely involved in racing and hopes to run a pre-training and schooling yard for racehorses and pointers.

Hen is an all-round horsewoman. Shefinished 12th at Badminton in 1973, is a renowned Connemara breeder and was chairman of the horse trials senior selection committee between 1984-88, which included selecting the silver medal winning team for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

To read H&H’s exclusive interview with Hen about her decision to retire, see the current issue of H&H (24 May 2012)

View pictures of Hen at home in Oxfordshire

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