News & Events

Terror To Love new NZ Cup favourite

By Michael Guerin

The TAB bookies made the call before they got the call.

And the result is Terror To Love as the new favourite for the $600,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup after a blistering trial at Ashburton yesterday.

The defending Cup champion came from off the pace in the four-horse trial to gap three of the big name Mark Purdon-trained pacers, Sushi Sushi, Highview Tommy and Auckland Reactor.

Open class pacers winning trials at Ashburton with slippery last 800m sectionals is nothing to get excited about but this was something different all together. To give some of the best pacers in Australasia a start and stroll past them with ease was arrogant and left little doubt Terror To Love is as good, if not better, than he was at this stage last season. Considering he was able to make a mid-race move, get pushed backed to near last and still down Smoken Up in last year’s Cup, he deserves his favouritism.

Yesterday’s trial win saw him shorten from $6 to $4.50 outright favouritism with the TAB, with early favourite Auckland Reactor out from $5 to $6, even though bookies had taken a large bet on him pre-trial. Whoever placed that would be feeling sick as the pin-up pacer made little ground in finishing fourth of the glamour quartet.

The bookies hitting the panic button so quickly with Terror To Love is understandable as his owner, Terry McDonald, is a fearless punter by this country’s standards and has stung the TAB before, most notably in last year’s Cup. If bookmaker Steven Richardson relaxes even for a minute to let Terror To Love back out to $5 or better he can expect the call from McDonald again.

Early season trials tend be to be more useful for negative information than positive, with the gap between race night times and trials times often huge. So the worry lines over Auckland Reactor will be there, although Sushi Sushi handled his second standing start attempt better than his first last week. 

But what really caught the eye was the style in which Terror To Love cruised over his last 800m in 55.2, the last 400m in 26.1, but just as importantly how he dealt to two of the Cup favourites. All four from Tuesday are set to meet again in the first major open class race of the season at Addington on Friday week, where they will also clash with Gold Ace.

That is when the market for the Cup, which has already attracted over $30,000 in betting, will start to really move.

While Terror To Love looks as good as last season, so too does champion trotter I Can Doosit. He was untouched to win the main trot trial yesterday, trotting his last 800m in 57.5, the final 400 in 27.6. He is on target for his seasonal debut at Motukarara on Sunday week.

Meanwhile, the northern open class season starts with the $25,000 Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln will be the dominant favourite, even starting on the unruly, over the 2200m.