Hewitt claims second Diggers Cup as harness racing club honours ANZACs

Bernie Hewitt made it two from two when he won a hotly-contested Club Forbes Diggers Cup on Anzac Day at the Forbes Showground paceway.

The Forbes Diggers Harness Racing Club, which has a long association with our RSL Sub Branch, hosted its traditional meeting on Monday.

The feature race - and the meeting - continue to grow in prominence on the pacing calendar, says Forbes Diggers Harness Racing Club president Lex Crosby.

With memorial races in honour of people connected to the the club and the RSL, it has always been a meaningful day attended by many family members of those associated with both harness racing in Forbes and our RSL.

It is now the Forbes club's Carnival of Cups day, with those memorial races in honour of Clarrie and Val Robb; Neville Pellow; Pud Woods; Robert Lee; and Les Findlay.

The Club Forbes Diggers Cup itself has grown from a $10,000 to a $15,000 race since just last year - when Hewitt won it with Make Mine Memphis.

Iamajoyride - driven by Bernie Hewitt for Cathy Hewitt - fought off all comers across the 2470m pace for a closely-contested win and one of the on-track highlights of the day.

"The Cup was a very good race," Crosby said.

"(Iamajoyride) really had to tough it out.

"It was a real test of endurance which is why we put it over that distance."

The running of the Cup was preceded by a very special commemorative service, conducted with the support of Forbes Pony Club and Forbes Town and District Band.

Forbes Pony Club drivers and riders, in sulky and on horseback, lapped the track in moving tribute to the horses that served Australia's troops so faithfully.

Forbes RSL Sub Branch member Bryan Jones recited The Ode, Forbes Town and District Band member Harrison Toole sounded the Last Post and Reveille, and the crowd joined the band in the singing of Advance Australia Fair.

"It was very moving," Crosby said, adding he was delighted to have the community groups and particularly younger people involved.

On the racing side of the day, the Turnbull name featured heavily in the winning stakes with Mitch driving Dawson Shard to victory in the first race of the day; and immediately doubling up taking the Forbes Shire Council pace with Baxter Red. London Legs was first past the post in the last to make it a treble for Mitch.

Amanda Turnbull also had a double with Drive to the Beach in the Neville Pellow Memorial and Double Standards for trainer Kasey Orr in the Robert Lee Memorial.

Mark Hewitt drove Hurrikane Dude, which has a local connection in owner Sue Nicholls (nee Lee), to victory in the Pud Woods Memorial. Hot on his heels was Baby Bee Mine for owner Angie Hodges (nee Lee).

John O'Shea took out the Clarrie and Val Robb Memorial for trainer Andrew Cassell with Gotta Kick, and the Les Findlay Memorial Club Menangle Country Series Heat with Burns Bay for Peter Trevor-Jones.

Harness racing returns to the Forbes Showground paceway this Sunday, May 1, with nominations being taken across a possible eight races at time of preparing for press.