From Trots Media
Victorian harness racing has paid tribute to a long-time trainer, driver, gentleman and Inter Dominion champion in Eric Rothacker.The beloved trots participant passed in Bendigo at age 89 on October 13, leaving behind a devoted family and a considerable imprint on the harness racing landscape.
Eric continued to train until 2015-16 and drive until 2009-10 after an extensive career of participation, most recently with 1996 Bendigo Trotters Cup winner Larry Do, 1990 Horsham Pacing Cup winner Eck’s Shadow and Fiery Gent (2002).
His last training win was with Watch My Sox at St Arnaud on July 2, 2015, when he was aged 86, while it was at age 76 that he piloted his last win (Hanging Loose at Bendigo in November 2005).
He was a prominent member of Victorian harness racing royalty, being the son of former Bendigo HRC President Vic Rothacker, nephew of Bill Rothacker and cousin of Gordon Rothacker.
He formed a terrific and successful bond with Gentleman John in the 1950s, a gelding who he owned, trained and drove after the yearling was gifted to him by his father.
Gentleman John would win 55 races including the 1955 A. G. Hunter Cup, three Vic Globe Derby Championships, three Melbourne Showgrounds Free For Alls and the Horsham Easter Cup.
But it’s his victory in the 1956 Inter Dominion at Sydney’s Harold Park for Eric Rothacker that would provide a career highlight, with the 26-year-old being at the time the youngest reinsman to win the race.
Gentleman John beat local pacer Mineral Spring by a head with New Zealand’s Caduceus a gallant third in front of a crowd of 34,020. It was Gentleman John’s 24th win and took his earnings to £19,000.
Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Rothacker’s friends and family.