Looking for one more piece of magic

By Michael Guerin

Paul Court believes the fairytale farewell can come true in Terror To Love’s last race at Addington on Saturday night.

And he bases that, as much as he can, on facts rather than emotion as the curtain comes down on the great pacer’s career in the $111,111 Easter Cup.

Terror To Love faces a 20m handicap, his arch rival Christen Me and the fact he hasn’t won a race since December in his final start before being retired to stud.

He has been winless almost all summer, some times racing well below his best, and his only two placings in his last six start were in the farcical four-horse Ballarat Cup and a weak Inter Dominion heat.

So the glory days of last season’s amazing New Zealand and Auckland Cup victories seem an awfully long time ago but co-trainer Court hasn’t lost faith.

“He isn’t going as well as he has at his absolute peak but then he may not need to,” he says.

“I know he only finished fourth last week but that was his first start in nearly a month and he really needed it.

“So to set up a fast time and only fade late was a passable run and I know how much he has improved since.

“This is 3200m on his home track so the perfect way for him to go out. Sure, I’d love to see him win but I honestly think he has a good each way chance.”
 As talented as the likes of Ohoka Punter,

Tiger Tara and Border Control are on the front line and even a seemingly rejuvenated Smolda off his 10m handicap, the biggest danger to Terror To Love has to be Christen Me.

He only fell in to win last Friday over 1950m but that was after sitting parked and trainer Cran Dalgety warned his superstar had put on weight since his record Auckland Cup win three weeks earlier.

Christen Me’s overall season has been sensational, winning the Miracle Mile, Victoria Cup and NZ Free-For-All as well and while he has sometimes been underwhelming as a stayer two runs stand out as the reasons he is the one they have to beat on Saturday.

He did sit parked to win the Hunter Cup last season and was a massive fifth after missing away in Adore Me’s New Zealand Cup in November.

Add in the small field and he shouldn’t be too far off his key rivals starting the last lap so if he races up to his best he should probably ruin the fairytale and also secure the Horse of the Year title by winning.

Ohoka Punter has the standing start manners and stamina to make the millionaires off the 20m work, especially if he can get to the marker pegs and control his own destiny.