Henrietta Knight was born in 1946, the eldest daughter of an army major. She grew up in the picturesque village of Lockinge in Oxfordshire where she has remained for most of her life. Passionate about the countryside and always surrounded by animals – in particular by horses – she took out a professional racehorse trainer’s licence in 1989 and trained the now legendary Best Mate to win 3 consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Hen, as she has always affectionately been known, was educated at Didcot Girls’ Grammar School and later trained as a school teacher at Westminster College in Oxford. While there, she obtained her Bachelor of Education degree and then taught for 5 years at St Mary’s School in Wantage. Afterwards, having further pursued her interests in the horse world, she was appointed Chairman of the Selectors for the Three Day Eventing Team at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
From 1994 onward, she spent 20 years with her late husband, Terry Biddlecombe, a 3-time champion steeplechase jockey in the 1960s and 1970s. Terry tragically died in 2014 but their popularity as a couple was enormous, especially in racing circles. He was the one and only love of Hen’s life and she says that her world is empty without him. To acknowledge the wonderful times that they spent together, she has written a book, NOT ENOUGH TIME (Head of Zeus, 2016) which follows on from her two previous best-selling racing books, BEST MATE: CHASING GOLD and BEST MATE: TRIPLE GOLD.
Henrietta’s book THE JUMPING GAME: How National Hunt Trainers Work and What Make Them Tick was also published by Head of Zeus (2018) and most recently, she has written STARTING FROM SCRATCH which included interviews with more than 70 jump jockeys and was published by Racing Post in Autumn 2019.