Ipswich’s elated links to Cup day victory
HIGHLY regarded former teacher Murray Rogers is living the dream in retirement, capped by another memorable moment on Melbourne Cup day.
Rogers was still buzzing after diminutive five-year-old mare Ocean Embers powered home to win the Listed MSS Security Sprint late on Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup program.
Rogers is one of four people in the “BERT” syndicate who each have a five per cent share in the mare.
In Caloundra watching the latest race, Rogers joked that might have been a winning move after his previous jinxed Melbourne Cup day visit to Flemington to see Ocean Embers run.
“I went two years ago when she ran and it rained and it poured and it thundered and she didn’t handle the track,” Rogers said, recalling how the race was held up for 40 minutes due to the extreme weather.
“So I thought we’d watch it on TV after being a Jonah last time.”
Tuesday’s ninth race was a different story.
With jockey Nikita Beriman in the saddle, Ocean Embers stormed home.
Despite not being at the famous racecourse, Rogers still savoured the winning performance.
“Everybody’s dream is to win a Melbourne Cup if you are a horse owner and I don’t know if any average Joe is ever going to get that opportunity,” he said.
“But to be an average Joe and have a horse that’s won twice now on Melbourne Cup day is just a real thrill.
“Apart from the Cup, it was probably the most thrilling finish of the day because she’s just so spectacular in the way she runs.”
Racing enthusiast Rogers praised Mornington-based trainer Shea Eden for getting Ocean Embers ready.
“She has been training the house down and she’s been doing everything right but she’s just been unlucky,” Rogers said of the mare.
“She’s got this blistering turn of speed but she needs to settle.
“In that last race at Caulfield (running eighth on October 21), she was off the bit the whole way and she just couldn’t keep up with those quicker boys.
“She’s the tiniest horse you’ve ever seen.
“Even if you watch yesterday’s race you don’t even see her until she pokes her head through.
“But as soon as she poked her head through I knew she was going to win.”
Having a share in a race horse was only something Murray Rogers seriously contemplated since retiring two years ago.
He’s glad he did.
Apart from the camaraderie, Rogers collects a few extra dollars having a small stake in her.
He only paid $250 for a share, with Ocean Embers now boosting her prize money earnings to nearly half a million dollars from six wins and a second from 16 starts.
The fast-finishing mare has won three Listed races, two Group Threes and this week’s super finish.
While the shareholder only picked up $1000 from Tuesday’s $90,000 prize money win, Rogers said it was immensely satisfying.
On Melbourne Cup day, Ocean Embers win’ rewarded Ubet tote backers with $15.50 the win and $4.30 the place. Fixed price odds were even better.
“It was good because I’d let a lot of people know she was running,” Rogers said.
He just hopes everyone shared his excitement.
Rogers said Ocean Embers was likely to race again in a fortnight at Sandown.
Satisfaction of being a shareholder
HAVING secured a share in Ocean Embers, Murray Rogers understands the enjoyment highlighted in other Ipswich-based syndicates like the former St Edmund’s College students involved with Gatton Cup winner Dodging Eddie.
Rogers, 59, is one of four people in the BERT syndicate. BERT comes from the surnames of the quartet with a 5 per cent share: Lachlan Brown, Lawrence Ellison, Rogers and Tim Thawtes.
Rogers’ daughter Angie is engaged to former Easts hockey player Brown, enhancing the venture.
“It’s a bit of a retirement hobby but it’s also good to share it with my future son-in-law,” he said.
Ellison also has strong Ipswich ties. Thawtes is based in Melbourne.
“It’s a fascinating industry,” Rogers said.
“You meet people from all walks of life.”
Rogers also enjoys sharing big-hearted Ocean Embers’ journey with others.
“You speak to anyone and they go ‘we always back that little horse because she’s such a great trier and she flies home’,” Rogers said.
“It’s a really exhilarating way of racing to watch because she’s not one of these who gets to the front and rides out and holds on.
“She’s got to have a lot of luck because she’s so tiny.”
However, closely following the horses is just one of Rogers’ retirement hobbies.
The keen angler has recently had trips chasing trout in famous English and Scottish locations, as well as New Zealand and Tasmania.
Rogers retired two years ago after 25 years of dedicated service to helping regional schools and sport.
“That’s probably when I got a bit of an interest in ownership of horses,” he said.
Story credit: Queensland Times, David Lems