Our Jericho wins the Gawler Cup

13 February 2018 | Graham Fischer

Gawler reinsman Ken Rogers scored his first win in the D F & E Kemp & Son UBET Gawler Cup when Our Jericho scored at Globe Derby Park on Saturday.

Rogers, one of the state’s top reinsmen, drive superbly to land Our Jericho ($2.90 fav) a neck winner from Whenmechief ($25.10) with Lookofalegend ($30.40), seven metres away third.

The winner is trained by Les Harding, who landed his second straight Gawler Cup having scored last year with Bettor Party. It was his third training success in the event having also scored with Zanardi in 2013.

It was a big night for Our Jericho’s Victorian owner Merv Butterworth as he also won the Echuca Cup 20 minutes earlier with Motu Meteor.

Our Jericho came from gate 10 on the second row but Rogers had the eight-year-old away quickly, and once Tezz Khora had worked to the lead from gave six, he moved up and took control of the race.

It was one of two crucial moves Rogers made.

Once in front he was able to control the tempo, even when Darren Billinger brought Whenmechief up to sit parked.

Rogers’ next winning move was when he accelerated 400 metres out, quickly putting 10 metres on Whenmechief, and making it hard for anything back in the field to make a challenge.

He knew Whenmechief was one-paced, but very tough, so it was important to grab a break.

Our Jericho got tired over the final 50 metres and Whenmechief did keep coming, but the winning post arrived in time.

The driver revealed an interesting link with the winner’s trainer Les Harding.

On the day Rhonda Rogers was giving birth to Ken at Red Cliffs in Victoria, just south of Mildura, husband Greg had a horse, Apollo Preneur, engaged at Globe Derby Park.

Greg Rogers explained when Ken was born he was ill and was in the care of medical staff.

“I couldn’t leave Rhonda’s side and had to be with her and Ken,” he said.

“So, I sent the owners to Adelaide with Apollo Preneur, but I asked Les to harness him up and drive him.

“Les said Ross Sugars had a horse going well but I said my bloke would win as long as he sat parked and dashed away around the home turn and so it proved so I guess there was a link that maybe Kenny would drive a good winner for Les one day.”

The 2018 Gawler Cup will most probably be the last staged by the Gawler Harness Racing Club at Globe Derby Park.

After 10 years of racing at the city venue, the Gawler Club will hold its first meeting at its new track on Two Wells Road on Sunday, March 4.

Club president Peter Bain said the plan was to run next year’s Cup at its new track.