Like the Top Gear's Stig or the comic book Phantom, the mystique of the mask is bigger than the man who wears it.
Among the excitment of the equine action at today's Wanganui Christmas at the Races is a human swansong during the Mascot Race.
After three seasons, the man who has donned the gumboots, apron and bearded head of Wanganui Rugby's Barry the Butcher will be taking part in his final 150m dash for glory.
Wanganui Chronicle is sworn to secrecy over his identity, as by the terms of his rugby union contract "Barry" must remain anonymous.
However, as he is "standing down" for personal reasons from wearing the costume to "pass it on" to a future Barry, it is possible come race end today there may be an unmasking at the racetrack.
"[They've] left it up to me, at my discretion," says Barry.
"Barry's enthusiasm from the public has increased thanks to this one man."
It can be revealed he is a qualified sports coach to Level 4-5 and has always enjoyed the traditional dash while carrying an extra 20kg above his body weight.
After answering a newspaper advertisement in 2009, Barry was given the striped blue uniform on a year's probation and impressed officials enough to make the role his own.
"I just love giving things back to the community."
Despite the handicap of running in gumboots, Wanganui Jockey Club's operations manager, Bret Field, said Barry was filled with as much spirit as ever to win the coveted race.
"It would be a fitting farewell."
Across a field of over a dozen participants, however, the competition will fierce.
"It's 150m, it's a bit of a mission for the big outfits," said Field.
Jedi Master Hoogendoorn representing Mediaworks has some big shoes to fill, or should that be hairy feet, given "Chewie" was the 2011 race winner.
Display Associates are bringing in a special Fredrick the Frog outfit from overseas, although yesterday afternoon there was concern it may not have arrived.
Back again in 2012 are Mr Hooker Bear and Horizons Woody Weed out to remind us just what a threat weeds pose to the city and its people.
One hot newcomer is the Ministry of Justice's Kiwi Justice, who is out to put this race under lock and key.
"The participant is very fired up and a determined local sporting person she is," said Field.
Completing the line-up are the children of some of Wanganui's local horse trainers, who will be dressed in their parents' silk colours.
MC Andre Neill will call all the action.
The Mascot Race will be held after Race 3 at Wanganui Racecourse today, bolting from the gate at 1.30pm.
Field for today's Mascot Race: 1. Horse; 2. Tui Girl; 3. Barry the Butcher (Wanganui Rugby); 4. Santa; 5. Elf; 6. Mediaworks - Jedi Master Hoogendoorn; 7. Display Associates - Fredrick the Frog; 8. LJ Hooker Real Estate - Mr Hooker Bear; 9. Woody Weed - Horizons; 10. Ministry of Justice (Courts Dept) - Kiwi Justice; 11. Paul Belsham Racing stables - Kate "the Apprentice" Belsham; 12. Catherine Wilson Racing stables - Jessica Jockey & Bulginbaah Jnr; 13. Bilderbeck Racing Stables - Cassidhe "The Duchess" and Blake "the Flash"'Bilderbeck.