A fitting farewell

By Matt Markham
It wasn’t quite the finale his fans were hoping for but Terror To Love walked off Addington Raceway on Saturday night with his head held high and his faithful singing his praises from the rooftops.
The champion pacer produced a stunning effort to finish third in the Group One Easter Cup after seemingly losing all chance with an early gallop that would have left many others hapless. But Terror To Love, as he has shown time and time again, is no ordinary racehorse and has made a reputation for himself as being one who is capable of doing quite incredible things.
The performance was one more akin to a horse on the top of his game and not one who is facing life in the paddock as a retired racehorse-cum-stallion.
After adding a least another 20 metres to his 20 metre handicap, the three-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winner caught back up and had the audacity to run past some of the best horses in the country to finish less than half a length from race winner, Christen Me.
The opportunity was there for the hundreds who had flocked to Addington to watch his final race to feel dejected and be asking the question of ‘what if?’.
Instead they lined the fences and stood in the stands and applauded as one of the modern day greats of harness racing made his way back into the stabling enclosure for the final time.
It was truly hair-raising stuff. And a sight often unseen on race courses around the world these days.
But as he has done from his first Cup win almost five years ago, Terror To Love was the horse who people went to the races to cheer on.
Fans from all over New Zealand were in attendance on Saturday night and they didn’t leave disappointed, instead reflecting on what a great occasion it had been.
“It was just fantastic to say that we were here to watch him race,’’ one fan from Dunedin said.
“His performance out there tonight was incredible. “We have followed him with great interest for a while now and decided that he was worth making the trip up for and I’m so pleased we did.’’
Immediately following the race the word was being spread around that after a performance like that, Graham and Paul Court and owner Terry McDonald wouldn’t be deemed crazy to cancel their plans and look toward another Cup.
But they stayed firm.
“He’s been a fantastic horse for me, my best mate in fact,’’ McDonald said.
“I’m so pleased he ran such a great race tonight and that the people out there got to see him turning in one of his brilliant races that have made me so proud of him.
“It’s been a fun, but all good things must come to an end – now I just need to find the next one which won’t be easy.....hopefully it’s one of his sons or daughters.’’
Terror To Love will stand at Court and McDonald’s Pinelea Farm in the up coming breeding season and he’s sure to attract the attention of breeders considering his ability to win at all ages over all distances.
And the chances of this champion producing a prodigy who could match up to him?
He’s been a horse who has been able to do the unthinkable, so you would suggest that the chances might just be better than good.