Ghostwatch winning the Noel Murless Stakes (Image: Steven Cargill/Racingfotos.com)
The revamped Andrew Ramsden Stakes is set for international competition with Godolphin confirming that European four-year-old Ghostwatch will compete in the race on May 25 at Flemington.
Run for the first time this year under new conditions, the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes has dropped from 3200m to 2800m and is open only to three, four and five-year-old horses, carrying weight-for-age.
The winner of the Andrew Ramsden Stakes is ballot exempt for the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Prepared by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby, Ghostwatch is a son of Dubawi that has built an enviable record over the past two seasons.
He is a four-time winner, with five placings, from just 10 starts to date, with the best of those wins being in the 2018 editions of the Melrose Handicap over 2800m at York and the Listed Noel Murless Stakes over 2800m at Ascot.
As the winner of last year's Melrose Handicap, Ghostwatch was guaranteed a start in the £1 million (AUD $1.8m) Ebor Handicap at York on August 24 and it is of note that Godolphin are preferencing a tilt at the Spring Racing Carnival over rich UK features with the gelding.
Appleby believes that Ghostwatch is the right horse to bring to Melbourne and he will arrive on May 11, being stabled at the Spendthrift Australia Park quarantine facility at Werribee.
"We are looking forward to sending Ghostwatch to Melbourne to run in The Andrew Ramsden, which is now a win and you're in for the Lexus Melbourne Cup," Appleby said.
"We feel this horse has the right profile - a four-year-old gelded son of Dubawi who won the valuable Melrose Stakes at York in August, and then finished his season with a win in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot in October.
"Hopefully this horse will then be joining our team for the Spring Racing Carnival which, as always, we are looking forward to."
Paul Bloodworth, Racing Victoria's General Manager - International and Racing Operations, believes that Ghostwatch will provide a boost for the revamped Andrew Ramsden.
"Godolphin are wonderful supporters of the Australian racing industry, particularly in Victoria," Bloodworth said.
"Charlie has had enormous success with his runners at our Carnivals in recent years for Godolphin and we are thrilled that they have supported the Andrew Ramsden this year."
As a European four-year-old in 2019, Ghostwatch will carry weight-for-age for a four-year-old in the Andrew Ramsden but will be treated as a five-year-old by Australian time if he returns in the spring.
Weights for competitors in the Andrew Ramsden will see three-year-olds carrying 55kg, four-year-olds 59kg and five-year-olds 59.5kg, with fillies and mares receiving a 2kg allowance.