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    Local legends to be honoured Local legends to be honoured

    MIFSUD family legacy - Rita Burnett with her grandson, Hudson and inset with her daughter Monique, Hudson's mother!

    SOME local legends will be recognised at Kilmore on Saturday night. As far as equine names go, they don’t come bigger than Popular Alm,... Local legends to be honoured

    SOME local legends will be recognised at Kilmore on Saturday night.

    As far as equine names go, they don’t come bigger than Popular Alm, which was trained locally to win the club’s Cup in 1981 and 1982.

    Not only did Poppy, as he was affectionately-known, become the first dual winner of Australia’s most prestigious provincial event, he did so from a 35-metre back mark in record time.

    VIN KNIGHT and Popular Alm in Kilmore

    Popular Alm was prepared by the late Bob Knight, who is credited for putting the town, and certainly the club, on the map.

    From a humble beginning with a maiden win behind Tennessee Red in Bendigo on March 10, 1958, to capturing the Inter Dominion, Knight reached such grand heights the majority trainers can only dream of.

    With access to a seemingly endless supply of top class performers, Knight became the nation’s most feared trainer from the early 1980s until his death in 1994 – just days shy of his 68th birthday.

    Derbys, Oaks, Cups, Sires’ Finals, Grand Circuit events all fell to the mercy of horses carrying the famous Yellow with Red Maltese Cross colours.

    In 1988 and 1989 Knight captured the industry’s ‘holy grail’ – the Inter Dominion – with Our Maestro and Jodie’s Babe.

    At his peak Knight won eight Victorian and Metropolitan premierships between 1982 and 1991, but no matter where he raced, or what the race was, he loved to win his hometown Cup!

    Along with Popular Alm’s double, Knight won the Cup with Distant Thunder, Raging Bull, Amendment and The Unicorn.

    Overall, Knight won an incredible 43 Group Ones with outstanding types such as Sinbad Bay, Bag Limit, Jane Ellen, Garry’s Advice and Almeta Boy to name a few.

    Knight’s son Vin – or VJ to his many adoring fans – needs no introduction.

    With a personality as big as his heart, Vin was a passionate competitor and horseman extraordinaire.

    BOB CAIN

    While the Knights did plenty to draw attention to Kilmore, the late Bob Cain made sure everybody read about it.

    Not only did Cain publish numerous articles on the father-and-son combination, he also wrote the award-winning book, Kilmore The Cup That Grew.

    Through his work Cain developed a strong friendship with the Knights, but admitted he was unsure of Vin at the beginning.

    “Knight was called many things during his trotting career – flamboyant, brash, cocky, and even arrogant. I must admit, at one stage I thought he was all of these, and much more” Cain wrote. “My whole opinion of the man changed dramatically, however, after spending a Sunday afternoon with him at his favourite pub, the Red Lion Hotel in Kilmore, early in January 1991.”

    Forever linked to the Knights through his son Stephen’s marriage to Bob’s daughter, Susan, Don Dove is another who did Kilmore proud.

    A highly successful trainer-driver, Dove’s greatest success came in the 1973 and ’74 A G Hunter Cups with Monara.

    Monara was a son of Dignus which Dove stood at stud.

    In 2016 Dove was inducted into the Victorian Hall of Fame.

    MONARA

    Other local honourees will include Don Logie, Roger Reeves, Ken ‘Snowy’ Chapman and Leli and Mary Mifsud.

    The Mifsuds’ legacy continues through their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, with 10 licence holders who race under various surnames such as Pullicino, Burnett and Weidenbach.

    And of course, lets not forget Charlie Walters as the sole member of pony trot age. Walters is the son of Mary-Jane Mifsud, granddaughter of Leli and Mary.

    Throughout the years several other Mifsuds have held licences.

    Patriarch Leli set the foundation for the family’s involvement after moving to Australia during the 1950s.

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    Paul Courts

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