Pass The Buck

DEREK KNIGHT has masterminded the respective careers of a troupe of top-class

Stayers since he secured a training appointment at the Sussex track in January, 1977, featuring the likes of Pass The Buck, Elastic Band, Amazing Nan, Yellow Emperor, Wexford Minx, Island Doe, Senlac Rose, Coolmona Road, Wandering One, Smoking Baby, Solid Money, Mossvale Ace, Shotgun Bullet and Maireads Ivy.

Pass The Buck, who shattered Hove’s 725-metre track record in 1976, is one of the all-time great stayers based at Hove – he notched up eight consecutive wins at the zenith of his career – and his white and black colouring endeared him to Hove racegoers in the mid-1970s.

Hove, thanks mainly to the exploits of Bonzo, Pass The Buck and Reddans Walk captured the final of the 1976 National Inter-Track Championship when defeating Shawfield over two legs – they had previously beaten Derby in a two legged-affair to take the title in 1969.

Pass The Buck: The Derek Knight-trained star was instrumental in Hove winning the 1976 National Inter-Track championship.

“Brighton are the top dogs,” was the headline in the local newspaper - the Evening Argus – after Brighton completed a clean sweep with the first three in the two respective home legs versus Shawfield in the decider of the National Inter-Track championship for the Duke of Edinburgh Trophy.

In November, 1976, Hove won the National Inter-Track Championship for a second time when they took the first three places in the 500 metres return clash with Shawfield.

Starting the race six points down after the first leg in Glasgow – the score stood at 23 points to 17 in Shawfield’s favour – Hove picked up a maximum of 15 points when Sparks Thunder streaked home from local rivals Reddans Walk and Mantovani in 29.63sec.

The 725 metres contest was a mere formality as even maximum points would have left Shawfield, but in the event it was Hove who piled on maximum points to wind up winners by 47 points to 33 – their first win in the championship since 1969.

Pass The Buck, the 725 metres track record holder, held on to win by a short-head from the equally great Bonzo, with Hillville Master a further five-and-a-quarter lengths away in third.

Pass The Buck, a January 1974 whelp by Monalee Champion-Storyline, was then aimed at the 1977 Ladbroke Golden Jacket (660 metres) at Harringay in February.

Ladbrokes ante-post bettting: 5 Bonzo, Westmead Myra, 11-2 Sindys Flame, 6 Ardbeg Star, 8 Dart Star, Glen Robin, 12 Pass The Buck, 16 Ka Boom, White Mercedes, 20 Trooper Boots, 33 Askinvillar King, Heather Rain, Liosgarbh Boy, 50 Montreen, 66 Ballet Box, Get To Town, Stylish Kilbeg, 100 Only One.

In the preliminary round of the 1977 Ladbroke Golden Jacket, Pass The Buck laid down a marker for outright honours when slamming Liosgarbh Boy by a shade under five lengths in 41.39sec.

The first real clue to the upward trajectory that the training career of Derek Knight would subsequently take came courtesy of the brilliant Hove 725-metre track record holder Pass The Buck, who completed a superb eight-timer at Hove and was runner-up to Sindy’s Flame in the final of World of Sport’s on live Saturday afternoon coverage of the Ladbroke Golden Jacket (660 metres) at Harringay in February, 1977.

“Pass The Buck was here when I arrived to take over from the retiring Arthur Hancock and he was a really top-class stayer in his prime,” said Knight. “He benefitted greatly on an all-grass surface during the winter months and, although everyone thought that he wouldn’t run any other track, he ran a super race in a vintage Golden Jacket final that also included Bonzo and Montreen.”

1977 LADBROKE GOLDEN JACKET RESULT – 3.45pm Saturday, 26 February.

(Live on ITV’s World of Sport)

1 SINDYS FLAME (4) 11-10F J. Honeysett

2 PASS THE BUCK (6) 7-2 D. Knight

3 MONTREEN (2) 14-1 H. Bamford

4 BONZO (1) 9-4 G. Curtis

5 LIOSGARBH BOY (5) 20-1 L. Clark

6 ONLY ONE (3) 50-1 T. Reilly

40.99sec 1 ¾, 1 ¾, sh, 8 ½, ¾