Parkes Harness meetings to remain for participants only until August 1

NO VISITORS YET: Despite a limited amount of patrons being allowed at Bathurst meetings, Parkes will remain open for participants and committee members only.

NO VISITORS YET: Despite a limited amount of patrons being allowed at Bathurst meetings, Parkes will remain open for participants and committee members only.

PARKES Harness Racing Club will remain closed to visitors, despite a limited number of patrons returning to the Bathurst track after some COVID-19 measures were repealed.

Tony Dumesny from the Parkes Harness Racing Club confirmed his club was unable to accommodate patrons as yet, despite Bathurst finally welcoming back some owners and members.

"We don't have a restaurant, whereas Bathurst does, meaning it's impossible for us to practically enforce the current COVID-19 restrictions.

"We'd have to put crosses on the ground in the clubhouse and ensure people didn't move from it at all- and that's obviously not realistic," says Tony.

Bathurst was able to host a limited number of patrons (50) for the first time last Wednesday in their restaurant, with owners getting first crack at booking a spot for dinner and racing before club members could signal their interest.

In order to be let in to Bathurst on Wednesday, patrons had temperatures taken, and gave their contact details.

Tony is looking forward to welcoming punters back to Parkes, which at this stage will be after August 1.

"I've lots of members ringing me, asking when they come to the track, and it's a shame to have to knock them back.

"The information and restrictions has been a little confusing for the general public to decipher, but we are hoping that come August we can have people back and enjoying the races," said Tony.

It has been a good couple of months for some of our Parkes-based drivers and trainers, with talented 16-year-old Laura Rusten snagging her first ever winner on June 7; trained by her father and the Hutchings family nabbing their first ever Group One win.

Both horses were at huge odds, making the situations even more special for all connections involved.

Parkes were the first beneficiaries of the regionalisation rollbacks on June 7 when they hosted the first western region meeting held outside of Bathurst for several months.

The next step in those rollbacks will be horses outside of the metropolitan region being allowed to race at Menangle's Saturday night meetings.

From July 1 the boundaries between all regions will be dissolved and trainers will be able to enter their horses wherever they please.