Pretend for a moment that Australia doesn’t exist.
Actually that is a bit harsh, seeing now they are our closest neighbours. Dial it down a bit and pretend the Menangle track outside Sydney doesn’t exist.
Ok, good. Now that is why Terror To Love is the horse you want to back in tonight’s $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Trotting Cup at Alexandra Park.
The beautiful big stallion arrived back from another Menangle mauling this week, having finished ninth in the Inter Dominion Final on Sunday.
On that form, even against easier opposition tonight, you could feel uncomfortable taking the $2.80 fixed odds for him to win tonight’s 2700m mobile classic.
But while it was only five days ago and three hours in a plane away, Menangle might as well be Mars as far as Terror To Love is concerned.
He has run second in a weak Miracle Mile there but on the whole he races like a sulk in a sulky in Sydney.
But take Menangle out of Terror To Love’s career record and what you are left with is breathtaking.
He has won three New Zealand Cup, which has only been done by two other horses in 110 years.
And in New Zealand he hasn’t been unplaced in a race for one year, 10 months and three days.
In that time his form, almost exclusively in our best races, reads 1-1-2-1-1-3-1-1-1-2-1-1-2-2-1-1-1-2-1.
The third in that formline was sitting parked in a track record mile in the New Zealand Free-For-All won by Gold Ace.
One of those seconds came in last year’s Auckland Cup behind the phenomenal Themightyquinn while another two came when closing hard on Christen Me in sizzling sectionals earlier this season.
And yet another when he had to concede a race rival tonight, Saveapatrol, a 30m start.
So at home, feeling big and bold, Terror To Love’s form is that of a champion.
What we need to know is: is Terror To Love feeling back to his NZ best?
“He is great,” says trainer Graham Court, who is getting used to picking up Terror To Love’s mental pieces after Menangle meltdowns.
“He got here (Auckland) Tuesday morning and I took a blood test, which came back great.
“He has lost a little weight but that will bounce back and he still paced his last mile three wide in 1:53 in the Inter final but it is not like his form is bad.” For those who find it hard to back the $2million earner just five days after he finished ninth, consider he had the exact same turnaround before finishing a luckless second to Themightyquinn this time last year.
If the speed is on throughout tonight’s race, as expected once Mah Sish fires up, then Terror To Love’s biggest concerns could be traffic and where he settles in relation to second favourite Adore Me.
If he has to give her a start and come wide too early he becomes vulnerable as any horse can be at Alexandra Park.
But with a three-wide cart into the race behind the right horse or even if he is able to use his tactical speed to get parked at the bell, he is the clear best chance.
Adore Me may not have won many open class races but she regularly paces the same times so is the logical danger, but her good draw could become tricky if she settles in the running line and the big boys from the back start moving mid-race.
Mah Sish has to be respected because leaders have a great record at Alexandra Park and Pembrook Benny is in the form of his career and could divebomb them all with a miracle Zac Butcher drive.
But they are the maybes of the Cup, theory and scenarios.
Terror To Love’s record in this country in the last two years is a cold hard fact.