T is for Terror and Terry
Why have one T when you can have two? Terror To Love and owner Terry McDonald were always a double act, and together they had a history-equalling run in the New Zealand Cup.
McDonald, who’s been involved in harness racing for more than half a century, has spoken about his affection for a horse that ended up winning 30 races and over $2m in stakes.
“When he’s a horse that you have bred and had him from day dot he really grows on you.”
Trained by the father-son combo of Graham and Paul Court, the son of Western Terror from the Live or Die mare Love to Live was a winner at two (from six starts) and then won eight from 15 as a three-year-old.
The next year he won the first of three New Zealand Cups in a row. Jim Curtin was in the sulky that day but subsequently had to relinquish the drive because he was committed to his own open class pacer Franco Emirate.
Ricky May took over, piloting the horse to successive wins in 2012 and 2013, emulating the only other three-time winners Indianapolis (1934-36) and False Step (1958-60).
May’s win in 2013 was his last NZ Cup triumph (so far) and it gave him a record seventh altogether, eclipsing the legendary Cecil Devine.
And it was that race that lives on as one of the all-time great Cup performances.
Terror to Love broke at the start, losing 30 metres, and then had to circle the field. After then getting to the lead he had to hold on, and he did, just.
It was a performance that even his adoring Addington fans could scarcely believe. It seemed his nickname of “The King” was apt.
McDonald talked of how his heart skipped a few beats during the running of the great race.
He’s bred and owned dozens of horses over the years, and some classy ones too including Stunin Cullen, the winner of 18 from 42.
His uncles Bill and Colin McDonald were also involved in the industry as was his brother Ken who raced among others, Master Musician.
In 2014 Terror To Love had the chance to be the first ever to win four consecutive New Zealand Cups. But it was Adore Me’s day,
Terror finishing fourth. His swansong came at the Easter Cup in 2015 where he botched the start (sound familiar?) and then roared home into third, behind winner and favourite Christen Me.
He was retired to stud at Pinelea farm. His first winner as a sire was Millwood Tilly in Newcastle in February 2019.