Great rivalry re-visited a decade on
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Addington hosts the latest installment of the 3YO Flying Stakes this Friday and it features a red-hot field with emerging stars like Krug, Ragazzo Mach, It’s All About Faith, Pace N Pride and Luke John.
They’ll be vying to join some elite company that have prevailed in previous editions including Copy That (2020), Ultimate Machete (2017), Lazarus (2016), Changeover (2007), Monkey King (2006), Baileys Dream (2005), Courage Under Fire (1999), and Honkin Vision (1990).
Ten years ago the race featured one of the great age group rivalries of the time.
On May 14 2011 it was Terror To Love versus Gold Ace in the Group 2 Vero Stakes.
Drawing 11 and 12 both went back off the gate over 1980 only for Gold Ace to improve three wide for driver Peter Ferguson, going to the lead 200 metres from home. But Terror To Love’s driver Jim Curtin tracked his nemesis every step of the way, producing a sustained sprint when he had to.
“What a finish,” said commentator Mark McNamara, “it could be a dead heat.”
Instead it was. Nothing could separate the pair. The two were one and a quarter lengths clear of Major Mark (Mark Purdon).
It was the fifth meeting of the pair in that 2010-11 season, a season where Gold Ace definitely had the better of Graham and Paul Court’s star pacer.
The first chapter was on New Zealand Cup day in 2010 when Gold Ace won the Sires Stakes’ final with Terror To Love 7th.
In December Terror To Love turned the tables with victory in Auckland before the Steven Reid-trained Gold Ace won the Elsu Classic in Auckland before beating Terror To Love by half a neck in the New Zealand Derby at Addington (23/4/2011).
Following their dead heat at the Vero Flying Stakes, Gold Ace triumphed at the Harness Jewels in Ashburton.
In six three-year-old meetings it was Gold Ace 4 ½ - Terror To Love 1 ½.
For that season Gold Ace won 9 from 13 and $484,387 (Terror To Love 8 from 15, and $166,724) and was duly named New Zealand’s three-year-old pacer of the year.
In all Gold Ace won six group Ones, and 22 races in all from 69 starts, amassing $1.247m in stakes. Not bad for a horse that was bought at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale for $27,000.
After his stellar three-year-old season Gold Ace had some major successes like the Golden Nugget in Perth and he took out the $150,000 Free-For-All on Show day at Addington in 2012 beating Pure Power, and Terror To Love.
But he didn’t kick on the same way that Terror To Love did. By the time he went to stud in 2015 he’d been named Pacer of the year three times, and Horse of the Year twice and had become the third horse ever to win three New Zealand Cups in a row.
His career record was 31 wins from 76 starts and nearly $2.5 in stakes.
The two 13-year-olds are now at stud, Gold Ace standing for $1000 at Nevele R Stud, while Terror To Love ($3000) is at Court’s Pinelea Farm.
Now is the time for a new rivalry, and as well as Group Two glory, Friday’s winner is also guaranteed a start in the 2021 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby.