Terror To Love’s Menangle nightmare continues even before he gets on the plane to Sydney for Sunday’s A$750,000 Inter Dominion Final.
And while the men behind the $2million earner are trying to put on a brave face after drawing the outside of the second line, the great Kiwi pacer could need a miracle come Sunday.
Terror To Love drew barrier 14, meaning he will start from four on the second line in the 3009m thriller, with fellow Kiwi pacers Smolda (8) and The Gold Ace (10) rounding out a horror draw for the New Zealanders in the race.
That saw all three drift in betting for the final, with Terror To Love now $15 in Australia, amazing odds for a three-time New Zealand Cup winner.
The lack of love from Aussie bookies in understandable though as Terror To Love was dreadful when finishing last in the Miracle Mile at Menangle last November and has yet to win in six starts at the Sydney track.
His connections openly admit they lack confidence with the stallion in Sydney and now face settling a lot closer to last than first in the giant field.
“At first glance it is not ideal,” said co-trainer Paul Court.
“But at least the other favourites Beautide and For A Reason as well as Smolda will probably settle back there too.
“So if they go hard then we will all end up moving into the race later and that could work out well.
“But sure, after how he went in the Miracle Mile there it is hard to be confident.”
One excuse given for Terror To Love’s poor Menangle record is the track surface, which is soft on top of a hard base but Court says the big pacer will be re-shod to try and gain more grip.
Smolda drifted to third favouritism of $5 in Australia and will start longer as he is unlikely to be asked to run the gate hard so looks certain to settle rearward.
Beautide remains the favourite with his draw of two on the second line suggesting he will end up midfield in the running line without doing any work.
“To be honest, the draw is perfect,” says trainer-driver James Rattray.
Smolda’s trainer-driver Mark Purdon also had no luck in the draw for the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile, one of the seven group one at Sunday’s amazing meeting, with his champion mare Adore Me to start from the outside of the front line.
But she is so highly regarded in Australia, where she has never raced, that she is still the $1.30 favourite for the race.
Stablemates Isaiah (NSW Derby) and Willow (NSW Oaks) has both drawn perfectly though while Border Control heads a super-strong Kiwi team in the Chariots of Fire.
The big winner in the draws for that race was trainer Robert Dunn, who has Franco Nelson drawn the ace and Elios barrier three in a powerful field.
Meanwhile, Smolda has opened the $3.50 favourite in a confused market for the Auckland Trotting Cup on Friday week.
He is one of six Interdom finalists who will only be confirmed to make the trip back to Auckland depending on how they perform on Sunday and would be 50-50 at best to start in the Cup.
Terror To Love is more likely to back up and is the $4.50 Cup second favourite while Adore Me is $5.
The field for the A$750,000 Inter Dominion final at Menangle on Sunday.---- I’m Victorious (1), Livingontheinterest (2), Seel N Print (3), Keayang Cullen (4), Forever Gold (5), Mach Beauty (6), Wartime Sweetheart (7), Smolda (8), Caribbean Blaster (9), The Gold Ace (10), Restrepo (11), Beautide (12), For A Reason (13), Terror To Love (14). Emergencies: Pub Blitz and Ardghal not draw in field and would take barrier of any scratched runner.
By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)