SA TROTS -Rogers posts personal best at Port Pirie
THIS time last year Ken Rogers had no intention of returning to harness racing…as of last night, he equalled a personal best as a reinsman.
With a strong book of drives in Port Pirie, Rogers won five of the six races to register his second quintet.
Rogers’ previous “bag of five” was at Globe Derby on July 13, 2019.
“I knew I had some good chances, but in reality, I just take each race at a time,” Rogers said. “Whether I’m on the favourite or an outsider, I’m still in a race I’m looking to win.
“If you’d told me even three months ago I would be back winning races such as a Southern Cross Final, or getting trebles, quartets and a bag of five, I would’ve thought you were nuts.
“At the risk of sounding greedy, except for winning the other race, last night couldn’t have gone any better.”
Rogers’ victories came via Lochinvar Ruler, Roll With Mustard, Bling It Up, Winston Alexander and Ravin.
Born in Victoria, Rogers is a third generation participant having followed his father Greg and grandfather Jack into harness racing.
“I was born in Mildura and moved to South Australia with my family when I was about two,” Rogers recalled.
“My Dad and Pop were interested in horses and one day started training one. They had friends who were trainers who helped them learn the ropes.
“Dad also spent time in America with some stables.”
A regular on the pony trot circuit during his younger days, Rogers eased away from driving during his teens which saw him working as a welder and tinkering with cars, but the pull of harness racing was too strong.
“I did some welding, building cars… just breaking out on my own for a while,” Rogers said. “But harness racing is a disease you can’t shake.
“When I was about 22 I started to get serious and Peter Lawrence, who has been a big influence, got me a job with Toby Ryan.”
Quickly establishing himself among the best concession drivers in the state, Rogers’ career has hit a couple of road blocks after he fell foul of the stewards.
Rogers has spent two stints on the sidelines, the first over 15 months, with the second lasting almost two years.
Returning several months into last season, Rogers wasted no time repositioning himself among South Australia’s best drivers.
“I got a suspension and a disqualification for being over the threshold for substances,” Rogers said. “It was a bizarre way it happened the first time.
“My test sat in the lab for 30 days during which time they dropped the threshold and I was over the new limit but under the limit at the time of the testing.
“It is what it is, I had to accept it and move on.
“The second time was all on me and I had to take it on the chin.
“I was given a year and then stayed away for almost another year as I worked things out and got on with life.
“It’s not something I would want to do again, but I don’t regret it as our achievements and mistakes make us who we are today.
“I’ve also been given a lot of opportunities from so many trainers and owners whom I wouldn’t be doing what I am without.
“It is those who have welcomed me back and been there for me I can’t thank enough.”
Story: HRSA Media
Photo: Walter Bulyga