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Ghost ‘haunts’ Straight Track rivals

Utah Ghost completed a ‘frightening’ Healesville hat-trick in the Victorian Straight Track Championship final (350m) on Sunday afternoon, stamping himself as a major player in next month’s G2 Healesville Cup series.

Not even the presence of G2 Ballarat and Shepparton Cups hero Ferdinand Boy could prevent Utah Ghost, trained by 31-year-old Tim Britton, from completing a scorching clean-sweep of the Straight Track series.

Britton conceded it was more out of necessity – due to wrist issues – than inspiration that he decided to venture to Healesville with Utah Ghost, a Barcia Bale x Utah Miss litter brother to G1 Australian Cup finalist Utah Blues.

But regardless, the transition from circle to the straight has proven to be a masterstroke.

Utah Ghost clocked 19.16sec on debut at Healesville, before setting the pace in the heats of the state Straight Track series with a flying 18.93sec victory, upstaging Ferdinand Boy’s 19.06sec effort at his first appearance at the track.

WATCH: Utah Ghost (6) continues his rise to straight track stardom with a brilliant display in the Victorian Straight Track Championship final at Healesville on Sunday afternoon.

Utah Ghost may have been the fastest qualifier but David Geall’s Ferdinand Boy, the winner of 24 from 43, started $1.80 favourite from box five in Sunday’s $5000 to-the-winner final, with Utah Ghost (Box 6) at $3.10 the only other runner at single figures.

While early speed isn’t traditionally a great strength of Utah Ghost, he came out running to lead Ferdinand Boy and from that point the result was never in doubt.

In another commanding display Utah Ghost defeated Smart As Jack ($12.80) by 2.29 lengths in 19.00sec, his third successive BOD performance at Healesville and ninth win from 23 starts overall.

While the National Straight Track Championship, which was due to be staged at Capalaba in Queensland, has been postponed due to the ongoing impact of COVID, Britton has a couple of very attractive options coming up closer to home.

Healesville’s inaugural Festival of Racing will also feature The Arrow match race series on Sunday, August 29, where the overall winner will receive $20,000, followed by the Healesville Cup heats the following week.

Utah Ghost completed a Healesville double for Britton, after the earlier success of the well-bred McInerney (Fernando Bale x Born Ai), which backed-up from a midweek win at The Meadows to post 16.80sec over 300m.

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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