Connections of Ghostly could be forgiven for thinking they were only competing for the minor money cheques at Randwick, but after the scratching of boom sprinter Masked Crusader their spirits are sure to be lifted.
Burgeoning spring star and a hot favourite for the Bisley Workwear Handicap (1200m), Masked Crusader was withdrawn on Friday after a boil was discovered in the horse’s mouth.
The field for the final race has now been reduced to 10 with several other fancied runners, including the in-form $1 million blueblood Quantico, also coming out.
Seasoned campaigner Ghostly returns from a let-up and David Pfieffer believes the stable’s quiet achiever is well up to making his presence felt on Saturday.
A winner of just over $400,000 in prize money, Ghostly was rested following some encouraging winter form which included a string of city placings on unsuitably wet tracks.
Pfieffer was delighted with how the horse performed through the winter and has no qualms about throwing him in against much stronger company.
“He’s a horse who does his best racing on the fresh side and he’s in good spirits,” Pfieffer said.
“He gets managed a bit differently between runs but he’s poking along nicely.
“Sometimes you can get a bit concerned when they get to three to four weeks between runs but this horse seems to thrive on it.
“I’ve only had him a few years but the staff love him and he’s my daughter’s favourite horse.”
Ghostly has placed three times from seven attempts over the Randwick 1200m course, including a brave second to Osborne Bulls in 2018.
South African-born claiming apprentice Jean Van Overmeire takes the ride.
The ex Godolphin-trained galloper is from the same family as brilliant filly Unworldly, who won the Furious Stakes on the corresponding program in 2000 when it was held at Rosehill.
Unworldly, who John Hawkes rated as one of the best fillies he ever trained, went on to win the Tea Rose and Flight Stakes before tragically breaking down.