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    Albury, Parkes the harness holiday hotspots Albury, Parkes the harness holiday hotspots

    LEADING THE WAY: Jett Turnbull.

    HARNESS racing was the winner on New Year’s Eve with both the Albury and Parkes clubs hosting two of the biggest crowds seen in... Albury, Parkes the harness holiday hotspots

    HARNESS racing was the winner on New Year’s Eve with both the Albury and Parkes clubs hosting two of the biggest crowds seen in the state during 2023.

    Both country communities were treated to colourful fireworks displays to bid farewell to a year that has seen many significant highlights in the sport that can only look forward to an even brighter 2024.

    While the huge patronage was no surprise to the Albury club which, for decades, has built its event to where it is today, Parkes Harness Racing Club officials were simply over the moon that the concept they continue to build on – to attract new faces to the track is paying off in spades.

    Sunday night’s Parkes meeting has set the scene for the upcoming Elvis Festival meeting on January 10 which rivals the New Year’s Eve event for supremacy.

    On the racing side, both venues produced some special moments: at Albury it was the father and daughter combination of Mick and Melissa Hawke who stole the scene by taking out the feature race on the night, the $15,000 Wally Blezard 3YO Pace with consistent pacer Vin Number.

    It was the filly’s seventh win for the year and she did it in a tradesman-like way by racing without cover and outstaying pacemaker Flying Colours to score by just over a metre.

    At Parkes, the night belonged to Bathurst’s Nathan Turnbull and his son Jett as each notched significant milestones on the last night of the year.

    Nathan had all but given up hope that he would reach 100 wins as a trainer for 2023 but with his last chance, two-year-old Fliptop Bottleshop, he hit the milestone with a slashing victory.

    Earlier in the night it was Jett who was applauded when he combined with Mat Rue to take out the Langlands Hanlon Parkes Cup with Court On The Edge.

    That brought up the 50th win for the 16-year-old who only began his driving career in July and had six weeks off for an overseas family holiday during that time.

    The win also sealed the Parkes trainers and drivers’ premierships for Mat Rue.

    It has been an excellent season for Rue, who began his career at Parkes with his first winner in the gig.

    Tonight’s Temora meeting has been transferred to Young where seven races will be contested.

      – MICK DUMESNY

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    Michael Court

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