Terror To Love’s New Zealand CV is complete.
The outstanding Canterbury pacer won his first Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday March 7) when coming from well back in the field to win the 124th edition of the great race.
The Graham and Paul Court trained 6-year-old, who has been runner-up in the Group One $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup the last two years, equalled the New Zealand record in the 2700m mobile.
‘The Terror’ stopped the clock in 3:15.8 – the same time Tintin In America set in the New Zealand Messenger Championship in 2010. He paced his final 800m and 400m in 56.7 and 28.2, and won with a 1:56.7 mile rate.
He also beat Themightyquinn’s race record of 3:16.7 set in 2011.
Terror To Love was the $2.80 favourite.
Adore Me (Mark Purdon), who was the second favourite, ran several lengths clear at the top of the straight after sitting parked from the bell to the 600m.
Terror To Love’s driver, Ricky May thought he left his run too late after sitting last for most of the journey.
“I thought I sat back for too long, but we got a nice drag into the race by Pembrook Benny and when I hooked him out at the top of the straight he was travelling extra.
“He was very lively tonight. He felt like a young colt before the start . He felt completely different to last week. I seriously think it’s now a mental thing with him over there (Australia),” said seven times New Zealand Cup winning driver Ricky May.
Last week Terror To Love finished a disappointing ninth in the 2014 Inter Dominion grand final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. He’s now had seven unsuccessful starts across the Tasman.
“He’s a legend in New Zealand harness racing and thankfully he won’t be immigrating to Australia in a hurry,” said Prime Minister, John Key.
“It was a real pleasure to be here tonight. Terror To Love is certainly one of the best pacers this country has ever seen. He will be remembered for many, many years to come,” he added.
Co-trainer Court (Graham) said he had battled to get his stable star back to peak fitness following his flight back to New Zealand earlier this week.
“I thought if he was saved for one run at them he could win and even though I said nothing to Ricky that’s exactly what he did.
“After the New Zealand Cup this is the race I wanted to win most. It is such a great thrill. I cannot speak highly enough of both the horse and driver,” Court said.
For May it was his second win in the Auckland Cup after previously winning with Monkey King (3:21) in 2010.
“Apart from Monkey King I haven’t had a lot of luck in the race. I’ve ran second and third quite a few times. It’s a real honour to come up here and win it. It’s one of our most prestigious races,” May told HRNZ.
It was Terror To Love’s 27th win in 60 starts. He’s also placed 19 times and now banked $2,155,353.
Adore Me was a length back in second, with six lengths back to third placed Saveapatrol and Blair Orange. The first North Islander home was Pembrook Benny (Zac Butcher), who was 1-1/4 lengths back in fourth.
Terror To Love is owned by Terry McDonald and was bred by McDonald Bloodstock Limited.
by Duane Ranger