SA TROTS -Wrap up from Gawler Platinum Cup day
Comeback reinsman Ken Rogers was the star of the Gawler Carnival Of Cups harness meeting on Sunday with a treble on the eight-race program.
Rogers, who only recently returned to driving after an enforced absence, took out the two feature events, the Phil Houston Memorial and DF & E Kemp & Son Gawler Platinum Cup final before landing the final event for his family.
The Phil Houston Memorial is named after hard working and popular member of the racing community and former vice chair of the Gawler Harness Racing Club who passed away just over 12 months ago.
The race, over 2070 metres, proved to have an emotional result with All The Trix ($5.50 into $3) finishing best to win for Wasleys owner-trainer Claire Goble who was a close friend of Houston and his wife Patti.
“Patti is my best friend, so this is a special win,” Goble said.
“All The Trix is a talented trotter who is still learning about racing.
“Now and again he can want to go too quick which can cause him to gallop but there is no doubting his ability.”
In fact, All The Trix galloped for a short time down the back straight the first time, but Rogers was able to get him back into a trot without losing too much ground.
“He was just wanting to go quicker,” Rogers said.
“I knew I could get him back trotting and once he was in a rhythm I was always confident of a win.”
All The Trix scored by 1-1/2 metres from the pacemaker Janes Gem ($8.50) with Madame Kelly ($9.50), 25 metres away third.
Avenel Eagle ($2.40 fav) was travelling well outside Janes Gem coming off the back straight as All The Trix loomed three wide but suddenly went into a gallop losing valuable ground and eventually running fourth.
Goble said All The Trix would now run in the $12,500 SA Trotters Derby (2230m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, March 11 where he would clash again Avenel Eagle along with the impressive Aldebaran Stiles.
He would then contest the Southern Cross Series before Christmas.
Rogers brought up a double landing a long-priced plunge on Uncle Chan in the DF & E Kemp & Son Gawler Platinum Cup Final (2070m).
The TAB bet as much as $151 about Uncle Chan which firmed into a starting price of $16.
Globe Derby Park trainer Luke O’Neill admitted to having something on the winner at the big odds.
“I didn’t think he was a certainty, but I knew he had a better chance than being at $151,” O’Neill said.
“His form doesn’t look flash, but he was running on stronger fields without much luck.
“He ran ninth in the Platinum heat at Globe Derby Park but was better than that run.”
Rogers had Uncle Chan in the running line and brought him with a strong run to score a neck win from Major Mad ($4.40) with Malachite Rock ($5) a metre away third.
The Gawler reinsman’s treble came up on Ideal Melody ($23) which finished best to take out the TAB Pace (1609m).
Trained by Roger’s father Greg, Ideal Melody is owned by the Steel Boys Syndicate No 3 which is managed by his mother Rhonda.
In an exciting finish, the four-year-old out wide had ac half neck to spare from Steinman ($15) which came through on the inside with Bodyline ($16), four metres away third.
Rogers, who is not keen about media attention and prefers to let his driving do the talking, was one of the state’s top reinsmen about eight years ago and followed seasons where he had more than 80 wins with a career-best 106 in 2018/2019 which saw him beaten by just one by Danielle Hill for the Drivers’ premiership.
After a stint on the sidelines, he is only a month into his comeback and performances such as on Sunday shows he has not lost any of his talent.
Virginia trainer Joe Russo found himself with a problem when reinsman Michael Smith was delayed for his drive on Eugene Bromac in the SA BOTRA Pace (1609m).
Russo kept it in the family by asking Smith’s father David to jump in the sulky.
The result was an all the way win for Eugene Bromac ($3.30) beating Roberts Delight ($4.60) with Ammicchi ($5), 9-1/2 metres away third.
The Gawler Carnival Of Cups meeting also featured two heats of the SA Square Trotters Association Legends Trot over 2070 metres.
Trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec took out heat one on Mangana Joe ($1.70 fav) which led throughout to score by seven metres from Our Spitfire ($26) with Majestic Tilly ($7.50), two metres away third.
Kapunda trainer Peta Brown had the first and third runners in heat two.
Dalton ($51), driven by Michael Smith, sprinted strongly to score by two metres from Winsome Ruby ($3 fav) with Lord Chancellor ($101), 9-1/2 metres away third.
The Legends final will be run at Globe Derby Park this Saturday as part of the state’s biggest night of harness racing with the SA Cup, SA Trotters Cup, SA Derby and Golden Nursery Stakes.
Story: HRSA Media
Photo: Walter Bulyga