Day At The Track

Vin still a Knight to remember

02:01 PM 11 May 2015 NZST
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VIN KNIGHT color.jpg popular alm.jpg
Vin Knight
Vin Knight driving his favourite pacer Popular Alm

Kilmore held its memorial night last Saturday with several dignitaries honoured throughout the evening.

Among them were Vin O’Sullivan, superstar journalist Bob Cain and the legendary Vin Knight.

While the card is widely applauded, there is still a large contingent which believes Knight’s race should carry greater status.

Some feel a metropolitan event at Tabcorp Park Melton is more befitting, while others are convinced Knight deserves a Group One.

In fact, there is a Facebook page titled Vin Knight Memorial should be a Group One race.

It has been almost 25 years since Knight died in tragic circumstances, but his feats and standing as one of – if not the - greatest horseman Australia has seen remain intact.

Knight drove his initial winner, Dian Glenfern, at his home track of Kilmore on July 6, 1970, a little over two months after his 16th birthday.

He registered his first metropolitan win with Cita Dollar at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds on May 1, 1971, four days before his 17th birthday.

During the next two decades Knight added another 720 wins to his tally while competing at the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley.

Included in his record 721 Melbourne victories are four quintets, (a record), nine quadruples, (another record), 45 trebles and an incredible 143 doubles.

He also drove hundreds of country winners, along with numerous winners in every Australian state as well as New Zealand.

Knight was leading Melbourne reinsman six times, including the years of his death despite only driving half the season!

He won a record 18 Inter Dominion heats – 16 with pacers and two with trotters – and drove in 10 consecutive Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Finals – also a record.

First Glimpse provided Knight with his last winner when he captured the inaugural Oceania El Dorado at Moonee Valley on April 6, 1991.

Three days later harness racing in Australasia went into mourning when it was announced Knight was dead.

A man who enjoyed life, and lived it to its fullest, Knight took his own life four weeks short of his 37th birthday.

The champion was found dead in his car about a kilometre south Kilmore on Tuesday, April 9.

Despite his inner demons, Knight was a star of the industry and was associated with topliners such as Popular Alm, Garry’s Advice, Smooth Falcon, Bag Limit, Our Maestro, Jane Ellen, Jodie’s Babe, Rockleigh Victory, Almeta Boy and Sinbad Bay.

As for the race in his honour, it was captured by Bettors Package with driver Kate Gath fittingly wearing the famous Knight colours of Yellow with a Red Maltese Cross.

Trained by leading horsewoman Emma Stewart, Bettors Package rated 1:55.8 for the 1680 metres when accounting for Daylight Dan and Eye Like Candy.

The silks were also worn to glory in last season’s edition by popular horseman Steve Cleave.

  • PAUL COURTS

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