Utah Ghost’s sensational transition to straight track racing has come as a huge relief to young Lara trainer Tim Britton.
A wrist injury had made racing around bends problematic for Utah Ghost, a litter brother to Britton’s G1 Australian Cup finalist Utah Blues, but an expedition to Healesville has breathed new life into the superbly related son of Barcia Bale x Utah Miss’ career.
Utah Ghost is unbeaten in two flying victories at Healesville and is the fastest qualifier for Sunday afternoon’s Victorian Straight Championship final (350m), where a mouth-watering showdown with dual country cups hero Ferdinand Boy awaits.
“It’s definitely been a relief because we were starting to wonder what to do with him,” explained Britton, son of champion mentor Robert.
“He just can’t handle bends because of a wrist injury he had earlier on.
“The first time we took him to The Meadows he nearly went over the fence.
“The whole way through he’s always had a motor. He’s been lightly raced at Geelong, and we decided to take him to Healesville and see how he goes and he’s gone really well.”
Utah Ghost, which turns three in September, has been restricted to just 22 starts, of which he’s won eight, also recording eight minor placings.
He won three of his first four starts at Bulli in early 2020 but was then out of action for six months before reappearing at Sandown Park last November.
After taking nine starts to open his Victorian account, Utah Ghost has won five of his next nine.
The last two have been BOD performances at Healesville, clocking 19.16sec at his first ‘look’ at the track and then a scorching 18.93sec last Sunday in the first of two Straight Track Championship heats.
The second heat was won by G2 Ballarat and G2 Shepparton Cup victor Ferdinand Boy, trained by David Geall, which edged out Smart As Jack in 19.06sec at his Healesville debut.