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Past Melbourne Cup Winner of the Week-Black Knight

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Jamal View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 9:41pm
Black Knight (AUS)

Sire:
Silver Knight (NZ)

Dam: Brenta (AUS)

Foaled: 12 March 1979

First Race: 2 June 1982 at Werribee

Last Race: 16 December 1986 at Ascot

Overall Career Record: 60 starts: 9-4-7

Group/Listed Record: 21 starts: 1-3-2

Prize Money: $454,850

Distances Won:  1500m (2), 1600m (1), 2400m (1), 2000m (2), 2100m (1), 3200m (1)

Distances Placed: 1350m (1), 1600m (2), 1700m (1), 1850m (1), 2000m (2) 2400m (1), 2400m (1), 2500m (2)

Record in Group 1 Races (6 starts):

15th - 1986 Melbourne Cup (3200m)

2nd - 1986 Caulfield Stakes (2000m)

3rd - 1986 Underwood Stakes (2000m)

9th - 1985 Melbourne Cup (3200m)

8th - 1985 Caulfield Stakes (2000m)

1st - 1984 Melbourne Cup (3200m)


Major Wins:

1984 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m hcp at Flemington)


Best Minor Performances:

3rd - 1986 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (2000m WFA at Caulfield)

2nd - 1986 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m WFA at Caulfield)

3rd - 1984 Group 2 Dalgety (Hotham) Stakes (2500m hcp at Flemington)

2nd - 1984 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m hcp at Geelong)

2nd - 1983 Listed Navy Day Handicap (2500m hcp at Flemington)


Black Knight's Melbourne Cup Lead-Up Campaign

1984, Black Knight (AUS) - 5 year old gelding, won Cup from barrier 11:

11th - Listed Auries Star Handicap: 52.5kg (1200m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

10th - Open handicap: 56kg (1400m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

1st - Open handicap: 54kg (2000m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

4th - Open handicap: 58.5kg (2000m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

9th - Open handicap: 54kg (2050m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

1st - Open handicap: 54.5kg (2100m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

7th - Open handicap: 59kg (2050m hcp) - Robert Heffernan

2nd - Group 3 Geelong Cup: 52kg (2400m hcp) Robert Heffernan

3rd - Group 2 The Dalgety: 52.5kg (2500m hcp) - Harry White

1st - Group 1 Melbourne Cup: 50kg (3200m hcp) - Peter Cook

Total Metres Run Before Cup Win: 17,700 metres. Trainer: George Hanlon




I hope you enjoy this week's edition of Past Melbourne Cup Winner of the Week
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bonfield Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 9:48pm
One of the weakest Cup winners.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 9:53pm
Before Black Knight, you'd have to go back to Polo Prince in 1964 to find another Melbourne Cup winner who had not won at black-type level prior to their win in the Cup.

There is no way in this day and age that a Cup winner would even make the Cup field and not won a Group/Listed race before winning the Cup.

Also - Black Knight was a WA horse, bred in WA......owned by Robert Holmes O'Court. Was transferred to George Hanlon and did most of it's racing in the east. Black Knight is only one of three WA horses to win the Melbourne Cup.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExceedAndExcel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:06pm
Quite amazing to think that it was his one and only stakes win. As you said it would never happen today. Don't think they even pass the first ballot clause without a stakes win these days (could be wrong). What price did he start?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:09pm
Originally posted by ExceedAndExcel ExceedAndExcel wrote:

Quite amazing to think that it was his one and only stakes win. As you said it would never happen today. Don't think they even pass the first ballot clause without a stakes win these days (could be wrong). What price did he start?



Millers Guide said Black Knight paid 10-1
It's always good when a WA horse does well in the Eastern States or abroad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whitt0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:12pm
Was he given a great run or any other theories?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whitt0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:22pm
Originally posted by whitt0 whitt0 wrote:

Was he given a great run or any other theories?

$50's into $10s in cup week....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whitt0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:26pm
Amazing story about old George in 2010. What a legend. And they used to only have 1 meeting per week!

IN 2001, award-winning reporter Trevor Grant interviewed the then 84-year-old George Hanlon. This is his story.

GEORGE Hanlon was always brimming with the best intentions each morning when he clicked up the dozy old cart horse pulling his bread van and set off around the beachside streets of Glenelg in Adelaide.

As a young man still wearing the psychological imprint of a childhood lived through a depression, he was grateful to have a job, any job. Being the delivery man for the local bakery wasn't going to make him rich and famous, but, coming from a family of nine children, he accepted that there's a pecking order in life and everyone has got to start somewhere. Well, almost.

The problem was that the young Hanlon couldn't get a certain craving out of his system. He wanted to be a horse trainer. Desperately. Hanlon had grown up on a dairy farm near Willunga, 60km south of Adelaide. It taught him two things. To fend for himself and to hate milking cows. ``I often think how bad it might have been if I was still stuck on the farm with all those cows. It wasn't for me. I don't even have milk in my coffee,'' he says today.

It meant that Hanlon, who had fallen in love with horses when he would ride his pony to the store to fetch the groceries for his mother, would never be content on his bread van. The urge to pursue his innermost desires took him on the circuitous route around Glenelg, where he usually ended up at the stables of the master trainer of the day, Jim Cummings.

He'd leave his horse and cart in the street, knock on the door, and be shown through to the back, where he'd wait patiently for his daily audience with the man who trained, among others, Comic Court to victory in a host of Group 1 races, including the 1948 Victoria Derby and the 1950 Melbourne Cup.

Jim's son, Bart, was just a boy at the time, learning the ropes himself as a strapper. ``George would come in and talk to Dad for about an hour a day. I'd be sitting in the corner and listening. There would be a lot of people waiting for their bread for quite a while around Glenelg at the time,'' said the man who picked up enough knowledge along the way to go on to win 11 Melbourne Cups.

From his very early days, Hanlon saw that there was only way to reach his goal. He hadn't had the traditional upbringing of an aspiring trainer. He hadn't been an apprentice jockey who became too heavy. His sport of choice as a kid was boxing. Indeed, the first time he got his name in the newspaper was for winning a bantamweight contest, sponsored by the Adelaide News. ``I used to go all right,'' said Hanlon, who remains an avid follower of the sweet science.

He boxed ears for a shilling or two in the tents at local shows, his father milked cows and his brother, Fred, bet on the horses, later becoming a bookie and owner. But there was no family background in horsemanship to set him on his way.

Thus, he had to teach himself. And the only way to do that was to look, listen and learn from the best. He began by helping out around the stables of a few trainers. And he hung around the likes of Dan Moriarty, the legendary South Australian footballer who won three successive Magarey Medals in 1919-20-21 for best and fairest in the Adelaide league before going on to work with horses.

"He trialled horses at Morphettville. He was a great friend of Jim Cummings and he always took a great interest in us kids,'' Hanlon recalled this week. "I used to walk the track with him on race mornings. People think it's a pretty modern development, but I was walking tracks before it was ever thought of here.''

As he progressed ever so gradually, coming to Melbourne in the late 1940s and setting up a small stable at Mordialloc, near the Epsom track, his most valuable asset, in the absence of any stable stars, was his inquiring mind. 
"He'd always be asking questions,'' recalled Jim Moloney, who trained alongside Hanlon for almost 30 years. ``He had a very good horse called Correct. But it had crook legs. George called everyone `Boy'. He would call you over and say, 'Boy, come and have a look at this horse. Look at that leg. It's a worry. What do you think?' ''

In those days long gone, when there was only one meeting a week to attend, Hanlon would keep up his education by heading off to point-to-point meetings and watching the horses. ``Everywhere he went he was learning all the time. He'd never miss a beat,'' said another Epsom veteran.

* * * *

HANLON, 84, is bobbing around in his four-wheel drive, providing a scenic tour of his expansive property at Leopold. A small, compact man, he sits as high as he can, craning his neck over the steering wheel. He is watching his Melbourne Cup hopes, Rain Gauge, Mr Prudent and Touch The Groom, like a hawk watches a hare.

On this 220-hectare stretch of land which has fences only on its boundaries, he drives a suitable distance behind the horses as they go through their paces. ``If the speedo is up to 40km/h, they are going at 15 (seconds) to the furlong. When it hits 60km/h, it's 12 to the furlong,'' he explains.

His eyes never stop darting from under his old cloth cap. Suddenly he hits the brakes and he pulls up to shout some advice to his two permanent track riders, Simone Zanoni and Rod Moore.

"I keep my mind on the horses all the time,'' Hanlon says. ``At the track all the trainers sit in the same little area drinking coffee. They are a long way from the action. They have to rely all the time on what the riders tell them. It's not my way. I'm hands-on.''

As well, he believes there are all kinds of other benefits to help their development as racing animals. ``Going up and down and around here, they learn to change legs. If you go the one way all the time on a track, the horse can't learn to change stride,'' he says.

As the horses bowl around this very different training academy, cantering across the hills and valleys, you are taken by the serenity of the place. There is nothing that can't be done in good time. Hanlon works them at a civilised hour, about 8am. If it's raining heavily, he'll send them out in the afternoon. There's always time to pick up the cat and pose for a picture, time to walk into the stables and look over the shoulder of the blacksmith, making sure he's doing things as precisely he wants. And time for a yarn.

Hanlon is proud of his property and his unorthodox training methods; proud that he took the bold step in the mid-1980s to shift from Epsom, where he had produced so many winners of big races, including three Melbourne Cups with Piping Lane (1972), Arwon (1978) and Black Knight (1984).

As Rain Gauge, winner of the Moonee Valley Gold Cup and now one of the more-fancied Melbourne Cup runners, completes his slow pace work, Hanlon points to him, noting his almost languid disposition. "It's better walking off the track here than having horses barging up behind you. You'd hardly know he's in work. He's not on his nerve at all. Get them off the nerve. Keep 'em happy. That's the key,'' says Hanlon, who appears pretty calm himself, given that Rain Gauge this week was at the centre of a very public family dispute, with son Gary, who once trained the horse, threatening to sue his father over the horse's transfer to the Leopold stables.

"This is sour grapes. He's dirty on the world,'' George says later.

* * * *

THE Leopold adventure began on the morning of the Cox Plate in 1977. Hanlon, who said he'd been thinking for some years about moving out of Epsom, had heard from a friend about the property being available at the right price because of a forced sale.

He looked at it and decided it was what he wanted. He arranged a mortgage with the bank, went to the auction at 11am on the following Saturday, made the successful bid, and went off to Moonee Valley rather pleased with himself. 
Things just got better. His horse, Family of Man, won the Cox Plate, allowing Hanlon to call the bank on Monday to make some rather favorable adjustments to the mortgage. "The luck was with me,'' Hanlon said.

Luck has indeed, been with him many times, but there wasn't much of it around when he first came to Melbourne. It was 1947, he lived at a boarding house close to the Caulfield track, got around on a bike, and had one horse, a restricted galloper called Lourdes. The story goes that Hanlon had pulled off a bit of a coup with the horse in a race at Oakbank which gave him the confidence to move east. ``They say that after they collected they were pushing the money down into a gladstone bag with their feet,'' said one old friend.

Soon after, though, his fortunes dipped savagely at Ballarat. After another well-executed betting coup, the horse duly won. However, Hanlon inadvertently left a lead bag off when saddling-up. The horse weighed in light and was disqualified. "They had backed it for a stack. He was at his lowest point about then,'' said a fellow trainer.

The recovery was slow as he built up his stable with the help of his brother, who became one of his best clients. Fred was a bookmaker and punter who raced thoroughbreds and pacers. One of his most successful was Avian Derby, which won the 1952 Inter Dominion. ``Fred was in the top rank of fellas who knew how to get a quid,'' said veteran jumps trainer, Jim Houlahan, who has known Hanlon for the best part of half a century.

Fred was also a generous man, as Jim Moloney explained: ``Fred had just had a rotten day at the Warrnambool carnival. He ran into my dad, Gerry, and told him he'd done 12 grand. Dad had a horse running in the hurdle the next day and told Fred it had a good chance. It won, Fred backed it for a stack and gave my Dad a thousand pounds. He told him: `Gerry, you deserve it. You got me out.' ''

It took George a decade or more to train his way into the big money. It came when Correct won successive Newmarket Handicaps, in 1960-61. And as with so many of his horses, it was a mighty training feat. Correct had dodgy legs and won only a handful of races. Importantly, though, they were all top races varying from the Newmarket to the Victoria Handicap (1960) and a Werribee Cup (1961).

There are plenty of other examples of his ability to manage a horse's physical problems. He got Gnapur home to win an Adelaide Cup in 1969, and he kept Royal Snack going for a Sandown Cup win (1996), four successive Moe Cup victories (1993-96), and two placings in Hong Kong.

"He's a horseman. He reads horses so well. He knows what it wants when he sees it,'' Houlahan said.

Those who've worked for him over the years quickly realise there's only one way to do things around a Hanlon stable. "He wouldn't let a blacksmith put a nail in without him watching. He had some good blacksmiths, but George would show and teach them his way. It had to be done his way,'' said one former stablehand. ``On race mornings he'd have the horses done late. He'd make the float wait. The horses came first. If a horse was eating its tucker and a vet or blacksmith tried to attend to the horse, he'd say: `Don't you go in there while that horse has its head in the manger.' If the sun came out, he'd get the staff to get all the rugs off. He'd always say the best vitamins for horses was sunshine.

"It was a sin to do a horse up when there were droppings in the yard. You'd get your throat cut. Droppings had to be picked up straight away, and you never threw it out the back or side of the yard. It would create flies in the summer and that was a no-no around the horses' tucker.

"We'd have to go out at night in the freezing cold and and change the rugs. When horses were spelling he'd go over in the car and feed them oats and have their feet done. He'd always say: `When horses are on holiday they want to be looked after just as much.' Everything was for the horse. Every day.''

His speciality for a long time has been training stayers, one of which, the lightweight Rain Gauge, might just give him a fourth Melbourne Cup. And there's few who would be less surprised than the acknowledged master, Bart Cummings, and the three-times Cup-winning trainer, Lee Freedman.

"It's a bit of a knack and George has got it. He's always pretty accurate in getting them there as fit as they should be,'' Cummings said.

According to Freedman, Hanlon has another equally-precious ability. "Ever since I can remember, George has always placed his horses terrifically en route to the big ones. They always seem to end up in the right races with no weight on their backs. He's very astute,'' he said.

* * * *

AS MUCH as the horses benefit from the Hanlon methods, it's clearly kept him just as sprightly and content. Spend a day with him and you'll soon discover he's 84 going on 50.

As soon as he's done at the stables, it's off to the local swimming pool for his daily regimen of 10 laps. A young man of about 60 who's there most mornings, is clearly in awe of him. "George always says the secret to a long life is a few laps during the day and two stubbies and a glass of wine at night. It seems to work, doesn't it?''

When Hanlon crashed to the ground and cut his forehead before last year's Caulfield Cup people worried it was the sort of fall that might cause serious complications for such an elderly man. Hanlon's response, to the disapproval of medical staff, was to spring off the sick bay bed and hightail it to the mounting yard in time to watch his horse Diatribe win the cup.

"He's a tough old buzzard, don't worry,'' said fellow trainer Rick Hore-Lacy, one of many who can understand why retirement is not a word Hanlon understands.

"What else should he do? Go to sleep in a hammock each morning reading a book, or try to keep his mind exercised doing something he loves. I hope I'm still training in 20 years, like him.''

Hanlon is clearly not ready for the hammock, and may never be. ``I feel as fit as a fiddle,'' he says. "I don't reckon you could ask for a better way to live your life. Whenever I see Bart Cummings at the races, I tell him:'`This is better than driving that bloody bread cart, Bart.' ''

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlackKnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 2:43am
Hanlon told Heffernan he should ride the stablemate, cost him a Melbourne Cup.

For the breeding buffs, from memory the mare never won past 1000 metres.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 11:17am
As some of you may know - Black Knight was a WA horse, see link below about the stud he came from:


http://www.heytesburystud.com.au/#!history/cfvg


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote saintly96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 12:09pm
Originally posted by BlackKnight BlackKnight wrote:

Hanlon told Heffernan he should ride the stablemate, cost him a Melbourne Cup.

For the breeding buffs, from memory the mare never won past 1000 metres.


I thought Heffernan chose Martian's Son (finished 17th), ahead of Black Knight.

I wasn't aware he told to ride the unsuccessful horse.

Either way Peter Cook didn't mind.

This result is well known for the jockey winning meant a father and son combination had both won the Cup, as well as Black Knight doing the same after his sire Silver Knight had also won the Melbourne Cup in 1971.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlackKnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 2:07pm
Sorry Saintly, didn't mean to suggest Heffernan was "told" to ride Martian's Son - choice was clearly his but Hanlon gave him a decent nudge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 11:58pm
I also read somewhere a few years ago in a book called "The Melbourne Cup" it was winners from 1861 - 2000, so its an old book, it was a large green book, anyway when it came to 1984 - the year Black Knight won it apparently George Hanlon doubted Black Knight could run 3200m and perhaps thought the year he won was lucky because every other time Black Knight ran in the Melbourne Cup after that 1984 win - he didnt even place. Interesting thoughts from Hanlon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote saintly96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2015 at 12:38am
He wasn't poorly weighted either in 85 or 86 with 54kg's and 53.5 kg's respectively.

I know 85 was the first $1 million dollar cup, perhaps the depth improved. Perhaps he was just in career best form on that day in 84.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lord Hybrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2015 at 6:27pm
Originally posted by BlackKnight BlackKnight wrote:

Hanlon told Heffernan he should ride the stablemate, cost him a Melbourne Cup.

For the breeding buffs, from memory the mare never won past 1000 metres.



Martian's Son was not a stablemate to Black Knight.   He was trained by John Gaffney at Kilmore.

Heffernan & Gaffney would team up again in 1985 Cup, running 3rd with Tripsacum.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Go Flash Go Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2015 at 11:19pm
Hanlon was brilliant with stayers. Used to go to the races just to watch his horses almost exclusively. Still haven't  found one to replace him.
 
Black Knight flew a little under the radar but that's how Hanlon worked. He won and often placed in some big races with what was always a very small team in comparison to the big stables.
 
When he got a good horse he knew what to do with it. What made him especially good was  his ability to get a horse back from injury to win a big race. 
 
Anyhow there's a story about how Cook got the ride l think Harry White had to ride something else Wink - when time permits.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 12:40am
I think Hanlon and Bart used the old "Get them in light" in the big handicap races and they would peak them on the day of their grand final. 
It's always good when a WA horse does well in the Eastern States or abroad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Go Flash Go Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2015 at 10:35pm
Hanlon knew how to campaign a horse and the great thing was no-one else knew what he had in mind or if they did it wasn't for long. He was a master at creating doubt in a horses' form.
 
An owner once said he knew less about his horse after talkng to George than before.
 
WRT Peter Cook. Story goes something like George saw Cook had no ride in the Cup so rings asking him to come down and see about the ride. So Cook shows up nice and early, sees nothing going on at the stables, goes to Georges' front door and knocks. George answers in his pyjamas says what are you doing here ?  l'm here to ride BK work. George replies he's not working this morning. So do l get the ride asks Cook ? George wanted to see Cook ride Black Knight  before giving the okay. So he got Cook to take Black knight around in a park in front of his house instead, around the swings etc. Then said okay you've got the ride.
 
Hope l got that about right, there are lots of great yarns about George - Thanks Jamal Smile
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lord Hybrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 3:32pm
The 1984 Geelong Cup actually provided the quinella for the 1984 Melb Cup, with Black Knight avenging his defeat by Chagemar at Geelong with a victory at Flemington.

1984 Geelong Derby Trial also provided the 2nd & 3rd placegetters for the 1984 VRC Derby - National Gallery & Clovelly Bay.  Some nice horses behind them at Geelong with the likes of Flying Eskimo & Tripsacum going on to be high quality stayers in the mid-late 80's. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VFjZyyEEnw

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Go Flash Go Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 8:43pm
A few of the Internationals cottoned on eventually with Media Puzzle using the lead-up.
 
Not sure what happened with Black Knight think he had a slight injury or something. He'd won the Benalla Cup before that (bloody George was a legend) - they haven't cottoned onto that one yet Wink
 
Last mem of Black Knight was watching he and Our Sophia working together up the Geelong straight head-on about a year later ? Their action was just poetry in motion.
 
sçuse the reminis tis love Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlackKnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 2015 at 11:38pm
You're excused GFG. My namesake was my first bet - everyone wants to say he was a weak Cup winner, but without him I may not be interested in racing.
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