Addington bosses say they can't allow more people on track for the New Zealand Trotting Cup day even though the wait list for the iconic event has reached 2000 in just two days.
The biggest day of the harness racing season sold out on Wednesday as it is restricted to just over 12,000 patrons for the November 10 running of the $540,000 New Zealand Cup.
The sellout didn't surprise Addington officials but what has happened next did.
More than 2000 potential customers have put their names on the waiting list with TicketFairy and that could double in the next week.
Addington chief executive Brian Thompson says while the demand for Cup day is exciting he and his team can't cater for more people.
"We had to make a call on infrastructure a few months ago. We couldn't expose the club to putting up a lot of expensive infrastructure and then have the Covid alert levels change and not only have to refund the tickets but pay for the infrastructure.
"So the numbers added up best at just over the 12,000 which we are going to have even though we would love to have more. But we simply won't be doing that."
The greatest difference will be the lack of the temporary grandstand Addington has erected each year since their famous old public stand was damaged in the second major Christchurch earthquake.
Thompson says while the crowd will be smaller by "about a third" this year, he thinks Cup day will deliver the same experience.
"It will still be a huge day and we will also still have the same protocols, which means we expect our patrons, if they drink, to drink responsibly."
That also means not overdoing the famous Canterbury Champagne breakfast, which often involves anything but Champagne.
"Last year, we turned away 200 people at the gate for being under the influence and we will be implementing those same standards again this year. It is about being a responsible host," says Thompson.
● Gary Woodham, a former high-level member of the TAB's executive team, has been appointed chief executive of Harness Racing New Zealand.
Woodham not only has vast experience in the racing industry but is a part-owner of one of the favourites for the New Zealand Cup in last year's runner-up, Spankem.
He is just the latest major appointment as the New Zealand racing industry goes through enormous change, with a new Minister of Racing imminent.
Meanwhile, the Herald understands what could be final interviews took place today for the all-important role as the new chief executive of TAB NZ.
That will be one of the most crucial appointments in New Zealand racing in decades with so much change to be implemented and crucial decisions yet to be made.