Australia Day twilight trots meeting to feature special Memorial races

The Thompson family with the 2020 Keith Thompson Memorial winner Sporty Mickilla driven and trained by Grenfell's Mark Hewitt at last year's Australia Day meeting.

The Thompson family with the 2020 Keith Thompson Memorial winner Sporty Mickilla driven and trained by Grenfell's Mark Hewitt at last year's Australia Day meeting.

There may be no yabby races at the Parkes Harness Racing Club's annual Australia Day meeting but there is still an action packed meeting scheduled, featuring the Keith Thompson and Joe Dumesny Memorial races.

2020 was obviously a difficult year for many sporting and racing organisation, but Meeting Coordinator Tony Dumesny is proud of how the club adapted and evolved in the ever changing racing landscape cultivated by COVID-19 restrictions.

"It was tough at times but the New Years Eve meeting that closed out 2020 was just brilliant," said Dumesny.

"There were lots of kids running around, people vocally supporting each race and it was just a fantastic atmosphere."

The Keith Thompson memorial is in honour of popular trainer/driver Keith Thompson, who was involved in a horrific fall at training in 2008 that left him a quadriplegic before he tragically passed away in 2010.

"Keith was a knockabout bloke that always gave it a crack, even though he had no superstars at his stable - and it's now the 10th year of the race that is sponsored by his surviving family," Dumesny said.

In order to properly honour Keith, his family have ensured the race stays for hobby trainers only - and his wife June and extended family are always on track making sure they have a big night at one of Parkes' most exciting meetings for the year.

The Joe Dumesny Memorial honours Tony's uncle Joe, who died in 2007, and was very talented trainer, driver, breeder and farrier; someone everyone in the Parkes harness fraternity looked up to.

Joe is still the only person to ever win the Parkes Harness Racing Club's Trainer, Driver and Owner of the Year all in the same year - a phenomenal achievement.

"Joe was a brilliant horseman, he bred and trained all his own horses, he never trained anyone else's horse.

"He was also a very good farrier, and people used to come all over to learn from him and give him their horses to shoe," said Dumesny.

There will be plenty of family and friends on track as per usual; while there are a lot of relatives still heavily involved in the harness industry as well as Tony: his brother John is the CEO of Harness Racing NSW while another brother, Craig, is the Racing Coordinator for the Dubbo Harness Racing Club.

The Dumesny Memorial is for three-year-old horses with no more than two lifetime wins, with four other regular races to take place on Tuesday.

After you've treated yourself to all Australia Day has to offer, be sure to head down to the harness track - this meeting is always a well supported affair and the atmosphere and racing will no doubt make it one to remember.