Family tribute to likeable 'leg puller'
A WEEK ago today we lost a well liked participant in Merv Knack, succumbing to a five year struggle with the blood disorder MDS.
Merv was one of three brothers, all bought up at Grandchester in the school of long hours and hard work by their father Dave, a farmer who also ran a harvesting and baling business catering for the numerous smaller holdings in the Lockyer Valley.
Merv left agriculture for the mines and assisted his younger brother Allan in the training of pacers, the best of which at this time might have been Grandchester Boy.
Years down the track, with son Trent keen to give the light harness game a go, the father and son duo raced a small team with a high point being a "book ends' double at Albion Park with Pound For Pound and Night Director.
For once, the long wait between the first race and the last was worth it.
Pound For Pound also won the Dulux Cup at Rocklea, and held a track record there for a number of years.
Merv's enduring favourite among the home team was the lightly raced mare Hellava Part, a winner of eight from 24 starts.
At the time of his passing he had a soft spot for Arts Peregrine, a son of Ultimate Falcon currently showing stats of 44 runs for three wins and 12 placings with the bank steadily climbing towards $20,000.
Merv's nephew, high profile driver Nathan Dawson, will wear the Merv and Trent Knack colours of green and white quarters with black sleeves on any drive he takes at Marburg today.
Merv Knack was a spare, tall and very erect figure, with a dry wit to suit. Deep down, I always felt he was a likeable "leg puller".
It won't be just his family that misses him.
THE following is taken from an opinion piece written by Terry Browne, chairman of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club, a venue about to have mega-bucks spent on it in an attempt to regrow the sport in the New England area of NSW, once a hot spot in harness, and a breeding ground of champions from the late 1920's to the 70's.
This short paragraph leaps off the page, challenging administrators to prove it wrong.
"We must come to the public. They will not come to us. People, myself included, have repeatedly spoken about the need to educate the public about harness racing. But in the modern world, you can't educate people in something they regard as old-fashioned and irrelevant. It is us that must change because the market will not!''
JUST as you thought it was going to be a normal Saturday, your world has gone into tilt mode.
Due to the Racing Integrity Commission's animal welfare code, a forecast of high temperatures (39C) in the Marburg area has caused Harness stewards to move today's trials and races to an earlier time slot.
Starting times are now first trial 9.45am, and first race to commence at 10.45am.
Other than that, all the usual amenities of a Marburg race day will be in place.
Best burgers, best bar prices around, 'pick the card' worth $850 this week. Gail Mahoney went very close last meeting with five. winners.
Gate entry prize is a $100 free bet with our real money bookie while Con Mann will call the odds on the funny money stand.
A monster meat tray raffle is on with the funny money auction after the last race which goes at 1.15pm.
Gates open at 9am.
Admission is adults $5, pensioners, members and students $3. The all important race book is $3.
It might be a bit of a rush, but come and join us for exciting country trotting.
Selections for Albion Park tonight.
R1: Quinella 1-8: Murano (N. McMullen) and Northern Line (D. McMullen).
R2: Quinella 1-8: Montana Falcon (B. Graham) and Deano Robyn (T. Dixon).
R3: Box trifecta 1-4-5: The Black Assassin (G. Dixon)-Chal Fire (K. Dawson)-Reign Of Fear (A. Sanderson).
R4: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Duke Jujon (G. Dixon)-Allover Hanover (T. Dawson)-Jack Malone (C. Petroff).
R5: Quinella 1-8: Monumental (Darrell Graham) and Fascinator (N. McMullen).
R6: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Hear The Call (T. Dixon)-Corporal Luna (G. Dixon)-Its Bettor Me (N. McMullen).
R7: E/w 1: Rocky Floyd (C. Petroff).
R8: E/w 6: Teo Enteo (G. Whitaker).
R9: Quinella 2-8: Cheers Kathy (D. Graham and Slipaslygrin (G. Dixon).
R10: Quinella 1-8: Strawbs Ideal Gift (G. Dixon) and Abitgoingonhere (B. Cockburn).
Marburg picks for today
R1: 1-6-8. R2: 5-7-3. R3: 1-6-7. R4: 1-3-8. R5: 6-2-1. R6: 1-5-6.
The leader board again stands in the lower Brisbane Valley. With widespread training results, Darrell Graham led in two winners for the week. Meanwhile, his stable foreman, Adam Sanderson was top driver saluting on five occasions. Most pleasing, and yet another dead-heat was Living lucky (Matt Elkins combining with Ashleigh Neilson) splitting the major money with Pure Madness (Justin Pascoe). Up there was Long Dirt Road, a big confidence booster for Russell Kajewski, with Matt Elkins in the cart.
Albion Park, February 3: Yankee Strutter (Trevor Lambourn); Reign Of Fear (Matt Elkins for Ricky Thurlow).
Albion Park, February 4: Withalotofluck (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Northern Line (Hayden Barnes for Ryan Veivers); Calcavado (Chris Petroff for Ron Sallis); Slipaslygrin (Trent Dawson for Max Towns); Illawong Dreamtime (Brittany Graham for Doug Lee); Ohoka Colorada (Adam Sanderson for Vicki Rasmussen); Broadway Playboy (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham).
Albion Park, February 7: Mini Cam (Trevour Lambourn for Rachel Scott); Withalotofluck (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Georgia Grace (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey).
Redcliffe, February 8: Annika Magic (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Long Road to Fame (Adam Sanderson); Armazem (Danielle McMullen); D/H Living Lucky (Nathan Dawson for Ashleigh Neilson) and Pure Madness (Justin Pascoe).
Redcliffe, February 9: Supaliner (Nathan Dawson for Darrell Graham); My Mojo (Hayden Barnes for Jason Carkeet); Doolittle Dandy (Leonard Cain for Ricky Hart); Long Dirt Road (Matt Elkins for Russell Kajewski).