TERRY BIDDLECOMBE, the Gloucester-born former champion jumps jockey, who died on January 5, is to be honoured at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The four-mile National Hunt Chase on the opening day of the meeting (Tuesday, March 11) is to be named after Biddlecombe, who had a huge impact on jump racing both as a leading jockey in the 1960s and 1970s and latterly working in partnership with his wife, the trainer Henrietta Knight.

His memorial took place at Cheltenham Racecourse on Monday and was attended by a wide cross section of racing's great and good.

As a jockey Biddlecombe enjoyed nine winners at The Festival, headed by the Fred Rimell-trained Woodland Venture in the 1967 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He was also champion jump jockey on three occasions– 1964/65, 1965/66 and 1968/69 (jointly with Bob Davies).

He recorded his first winner at Wincanton on Burnella in March, 1958 and enjoyed his final victory at the same course on Finmoss in March, 1974. In total, he rode 908 winners over 17 seasons between 1958 and 1974, with the bulk of his big-race successes coming on horses trained by Fred Rimell.

His final day in the saddle came at Cheltenham in 1974.

Following his retirement as a jockey, Biddlecombe worked as a broadcaster and spent time in Australia before returning to Britain. He met Henrietta Knight at Malvern Sales in 1992 and the couple subsequently married in 1995. Together, they formed a formidable partnership and went on to make West Lockinge Farm in Oxfordshire one of the leading jumping yards in the country.

The pair enjoyed phenomenal success at The Festival, with their seven winners headed by Best Mate, who became the first horse since Arkle to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times when successful in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Another highlight was the thrilling victory of Edredon Bleu in the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase, when a new course record time was set.

Henrietta Knight 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.

"I would just like to thank everyone involved for making this possible."

Last year's National Hunt Chase remembered the late Lord John Oaksey, the leading amateur rider, journalist, broadcaster and founder of the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

Terry Biddlecombe's name will also be carried on the race for one year.