The Valiant Knight
The French name 'Preux Chevalier' translates to 'Valiant Knight', and the horse was as striking as his name. When the bay was presented at the 1980 Yearling Sales in Perth, Ken and Wendy Lavin fell in love with the colt, a love that would last a lifetime and take them to four states in Australia and both islands of New Zealand.
Preux Chevalier's first feature win was the 4 year old leg of the Triple Crown in 1983, followed later that year with a win in the Western Australian 4 & 5 Year Old Championship. He capped off the year with a stunning victory in the WA Pacing Cup with a mile rating of 1:56.9 over 2275 metres. By the time he was a six year old, Preux Chevalier was proving to be almost unbeatable, racing against Australia's elite. However, he had a serious challenge when Village Kid arrived on the scene, and defeated him in the 1984 WA Pacing Cup.
When the two horses were pitted against each other again in the 1985 Inter Dominion Final at Moonee Valley, the valiant knight caused major concern to both his connections and thousands of punters across Australia when he suffered a colic attack in the parade ring just prior to the race. When the starter's bell sounded however, it was sweet revenge for Preux Chevalier, who beat Village Kid on the post, and took out Australasia's greatest race.
Another exciting night followed when the horses clashed again at the 1985 Winter Cup at Gloucester Park. Preux Chevalier was victorious once more.
In his short career, Preux Chevalier totalled 41 wins from just 56 starts, set three World Records, one Australasian Record, five Australian and six State Records and won almost $800,000 in prize money.
1985 – A Vintage Year
Preux Chevalier was named 1985 Australian Harness Horse of the Year, Australian Pacer of the Year, Grand Circuit Champion and Victorian Harness Horse of the Year. He also took out his second successive WA Harness Horse of the Year title.
In 2007, the 29 year old suffered complications from a twisted bowel and was sadly put down on a property in Bullsbrook, Western Australia, where his loving owners, Ken and Wendy Lavin agisted horses. The champion was buried, proudly wrapped in his 1985 Inter Dominion dress rug.