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Sculpture honours Stawell trotter and hall-of-famer Knight Pistol. 

STAWELL - Stawell owners Geoff and Wendy Sanderson along with Russell and Robyn Edwards are mourning the loss of their champion trotter Knight Pistol, who passed away recently at the age of twenty five.

Knight Pistol was a horse with many flaws, overcoming many obstacles to be the first Australian trotter to win a Group (1) race in Europe. Born in 1987, Knight Pistol was the sixth foal of unraced mare Pacealong and sired by The Contender, who was a dual gaited race horse that sired more trotters than pacers in his time at stud.

Knight Pistol was originally sent to Dick Lee at Terang to be trained and it was soon decided that he was a handful and sent back. Russell Edwards, brother-in-law of Geoff Sanderson, suggested that he take the horse and give him to Bruce Blenheim.

After several starts and a with a lack of manners on the track, it was at Hamilton where Knight Pistol broke through for his first win with Brian Gath in the sulky.Trainer Blenheim tried a number of things before he strung together several wins in that season and was awarded Country Trotter of the Year.

Two good wins at Moonee Valley gained Knight Pistol an invite to the Interdominion in Sydney but once again bad manners let him down for that series. Victory in the Bendigo Trotters Cup and a couple more wins at Moonee Valley in the next season saw another Interdominion invitation, this time in Christchurch.

In 1996, Knight Pistol's rankings were good enough again to make the Interdominion heats in Melbourne but he let Blenheim down once again.

The Group (1) Australian Trotters Series was the turning point in his career, beating Pride of Petite and Wagon Apollo, who were the best trotters going around at the time. Knight Pistol then went to South Australia to take on the Gramel Series, again making a clean sweep of wins.

Upon his return to Victoria, Knight Pistol won several more races before being invited to Sweden to compete in the Aby Stora Pris in Gottenberg. The flight over to Sweden took its toll on the horse and upon his arrival, vets feared that he may have to be put down because he was in a very bad way due to the long trip. He eventually recovered and was soon back racing, with Norway sending an invitation for the horse to compete in the Group (1) Harley Davidson Trot over a short distance of 1650 metres.

Thousands of people attended the track and with Kerryn Manning at the helm, Knight Pistol got off to a good start before flying home to win. He returned to Sweden to contest the Aby Stora Pris, making the final but was drawn wide and was never in the hunt. Knight Pistol then stayed on for a few months before heading home to contest the Interdominion in Sydney.

In his fifth Interdominion, he ran second in the first heat and won the second heat, beating Pride of Petite by over 10 metres and went into the final clear favourite. The final was run on a very wet track and when they turned for home, he was looking to get a clear run but eventually finished third.

Over the last years of his career, Knight Pistol won three Group races - Cochran Cup, Dullard Cup and Freestone Cup. Knight Pistol's career ended in 1999 with 181 starts, 53 wins, 27 seconds and 12 thirds with $612,203 in prize money and a fastest mile rate of 1.56.4.

Mr Sanderson described him as 'an amazing horse who captured the hearts of racing fans.'
Excerpt from the Stawell Times, 28 May 2012. 



Address:78 Patrick Street, Laidlaw Park , Stawell, 3380
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.061698
Long: 142.787834
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 26th January, 2016
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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