The Parkes racing scene is about to heat up with the town preparing for their annual Parkes Jockey Club Cup meeting on May 16.
Following the club’s main race day on the track, the June long weekend picnic race day on June 12 will follow, with Parkes Picnic Races hosting a big day on and off the track that celebrates the 100-plus year history of the Parkes Diggers and Coradgery Picnic Race Clubs.
The May meeting is headlined by the $32,000 Parkes Cup over the 1600m and the $27,000 Satellite Handicap over the 1200m, and it will be a punter’s delight, with an always strong eight-race-program set to be on offer.
Following the Parkes Cup, the picnic race day will be the focus, and the Parkes Picnic Races committee expecting a crowd in the thousands when their June meeting comes around, after missing out on the chance to race in 2020.
“The picnic meeting has a history of more than 100 years and people love coming here,” said Parkes Picnic Races secretary, Mark Olson.
“We normally get 3000 to 4000 people – I don’t know how many people we will get this year after missing last year, but the crowd is back to being unlimited now, so it should be a good day.”
While it won’t be a complete return to normality for either club or either race day, Olson explained that it was near enough to good ahead of a big two months of racing for the town of Parkes.
“People still have to do the QR sign in thing but It’s back to normal, back to being how it was up until 2019,” Olson said.
“We will have fashions, the pubs each have their own tent sights, and they get their own people in to feed and they look after them and it’s a great day.
“We have the usual stuff, there is bookmakers, there is catering by Que Club, there is coffee and all of that.”
The picnic race day has long been considered a ‘Back to Parkes’ weekend, with many residents opening their homes to friends and relations who come to celebrate their connection with Parkes for the weekend.
The weekend attracts visitors from all over the state, as well as from interstate and it will be another good day’s racing for the club, with their main meeting headlined by the Coradgery Cup, sponsored by the Parkes Services Club.