SAINTS legend Mick Channon has paid tribute to a ''great character and a great friend'' after three-time champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe passed away at the age of 72.

Biddlecombe, who won the title in 1965, 1966 and shared the honours with Bob Davies in 1969, married former trainer Henrietta Knight in 1995.

Biddlecombe also won the Gold Cup in the saddle when he rode Woodland Venture to victory in 1967 and went close to winning the Grand National when Gay Trip was second in 1972.

Knight and Biddlecombe enjoyed fantastic success with the likes of Edredon Bleu, Lord Noelie and Impek but will forever be remembered for their association with Best Mate, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times.

Best Mate's exploits brought Knight and Biddlecombe very much into the public eye and they were seen as racing's odd couple.

Former school teacher Knight and the ex-alcoholic Biddlecombe may not have appeared a match made in heaven but their enduring partnership was an unqualified success both on and off the track.

Biddlecombe suffered a stroke in October 2011 and having been battling with illness since, Knight quit the training ranks in May, 2012 to help look after her husband.

The horses in her care moved on to Mick Channon's yard, where she still plays an active part in the training of the jumpers.

The news was confirmed on Knight's Facebook page with a notification reading: ''Sadly, Terry died peacefully after breakfast this morning with Henrietta by his side.''

Channon has been with Knight throughout the morning and admits the news is difficult to take.

He said: ''I have known Terry for a while now, not as long as some of the older jockeys, obviously, but he was a great man and in the time I've known him he became a great friend.

''Since the stroke it has been very difficult for everybody, but Hen has been absolutely amazing through it all.

''They were such a fantastic couple and Hen has been such a devoted carer and wife. They were totally dedicated to each other.

''Terry was a great character and a great friend and it's just very sad.

''He will be sadly missed by everyone. I'm a bit choked up about it. I don't know what else to say.''