Friday was a very big night for Gloucester Park Harness Racing Committee Member Alan Parker.
Parker knew one of the newly created GPHR Media Awards was to be named in his honour, but it came as a complete surprise when GPHR President John Burt announced he was the latest recipient of the prestigious James Brennan Award.
The James Brennan medal is presented to those that have made a significant contribution to Gloucester Park and the harness racing industry and Parker more than fulfils that criterion.
Already a keen fan of trotting since his days as a student at Wesley College, Parker applied for and won the job of Assistant Registrar with the WA Trotting Association in 1977, working alongside Registrar Laurie Collins.
During his 40 years in harness racing administration, Parker has carried out duties as WATA Racing Secretary and Assistant Harness Racing Manager for Racing and Wagering WA.
After leaving Gloucester Park for RWWA, Parker was able to become a Member of the WATA and in 2015 he nominated for and was successfully elected to the Committee of Gloucester Park Harness Racing. He was awarded Life Membership that same year and continues to be a valuable contributor to Gloucester Park.
Parker’s harness racing records are legendary, going back to 1910 when trotting commenced in Perth. With his own database and a wealth of knowledge it is no wonder that in 2007 RWWA invited him to carry out research for the harness section of the Racing Hall of Fame, for which Parker has been a nominee in recent years.
Parker continues to contribute to the industry, writing numerous articles for various publications and working as a Pedigree Compiler for the National Stallion Guide and for several yearling sales. He is also a regular presenter on the radio show Talking Horses on 91.3 SportFM.
Besides all that, Parker has contributed by writing “A Little Bit of History, detailing the formation of the Western Australian Trotting Association and the history of Gloucester Park, a copy of which can be found on the Gloucester Park website. He has also written “The Village Kid Story”.
Parker’s contribution has also been recognised by Harness Racing Australia. He has received 13 Harness Racing Joseph Coulter Media Awards from 1985 to 2018 (12 historical and one novel).
A most deserving recipient of the 2020 James Brennan Award, Parker also celebrated his wedding at Gloucester Park in 2006, marrying Dot Schrader during a Valentine’s Day race meeting, with the on-course photographer Bill Crabb taking the wedding photos between races.
With his remarkable contribution to Gloucester Park and harness racing in general, there can be no worthier recipient of the James Brennan Award than Alan Parker.