It was over a few cocktails in Fiji two years ago that the idea for “Fast 10” was born.
“I was having a pina colada,” says Fast 10 co-owner Glenn Hames said, “and Tony was having a Mud Slide!”
Tony Russell is Hames’ partner in Quick Horse Racing Limited. While on holiday they were discussing how to give harness racing a makeover, and how to market it to people who were not regular race-goers.
“It took about three months to work out the details,” says Hames.
Fast 10, harness racing’s version of T/20 cricket or Fast5 netball, duly debuted at Addington a year ago. It’s quick fire racing, with no down time.
“We did have some trepidation from drivers, and there were two false starts and enquiry but we kept to our time span.”
On Friday the format will be similar with all races featuring 10 horses from a mobile start, with six off the front, the other four on the second row.
There will be an 18 minute gap between races.
“We are trying to be innovative, we have lots of music, and entertainment. We want a new breed and a new demographic of people.”
All horses have allocated saddlecloths and drivers wear the same-coloured caps depending on their number – “it’s a bit like the greyhounds, for instance number one wears red”, says Hames.
This Friday will be a later start than last year. Then it started around midday. On Friday it will get underway around 2.30 and be all over three hours later.
“We are hoping that will be much better for turnover, it was way too early last year.”
Keen to grow the Fast 10 concept Hames reckons it’s got a real future, with potential to expand throughout the country, and overseas, and into thoroughbred racing as well.
“We are doing it again on March 17 with a St Patrick’s Day theme, and while we don’t want to flood the market we are looking at six to eight meetings a year.”