Star Power: Brilliant 4YO Terror To Love claims the New Zealand Cup Photo by HRNZ
The victory of Terror To Love in today's (Tuesday) Gr.1 $NZ600,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington stirred many emotions.
Firstly, the performance was absolutely stunning after coming from an almost impossible position rounding the home bend before storming to victory from the lone Australian representative Smoken Up with Highview Tommy finishing well for third prize.
But most importantly, it was an ideal opportunity for the local folk to celebrate after the devastation of the earthquakes that rocked the city to it's core back in February.
It must have been the omen victory with Terror To Love sporting the city's famous colours of red and black which had the huge crowd in a wild frenzy immediately after the race.
Or, it was just another celebration for the Kiwi's because they beat the Aussie's in another famous Trans-Tasman sporting feature, just like they did a month ago when the mighty All Blacks bundled the Wallabies out of the recent Rugby World Cup.
Under fine skies, the equine bulldozer Smoken Up started a clear favourite with local young guns Terror To Love and Smiling Shard also strongly supported for the stand start two mile feature.
Smoken Up was chasing his first Cup victory in what was his third attempt at the time honoured event and it looked promising after a safe beginning, trainer/driver Lance Justice wasted little time and set sail for the leaders quickly and rolled to the front within the first lap.
Terror To Love also began well and driver Jim Curtin made the decision to take closer order to Smoken Up, but the early moves kept flowing and before long Terror To Love was shuffled well back in the big field.
Justice dictated terms in front and the lack of power was obvious, Terror To Love was facing a difficult task with Curtin requiring some lady luck desperately.
Inside the final mile, the speed increased significantly with Smoken Up reeling off strong sectionals while his rivals jockeyed for key positions.
As they straightened, Justice kicked clear on Smoken Up and victory was within reach but the finishing burst of Terror To Love was something to behold.
Curtin angled wide before being forced very wide entering the home straight and the sheer acceleration of the 4yo was breathtaking as Terror To Love grabbed Smoken Up quickly as Curtin saluted to the huge crowd.
Terror To Love scored officially by ¾ of a length with a nose separating Smoken Up and Highview Tommy.
The time was 4;02 with a mile-rate of 2;01.6, the last mile was covered in 1;55.8 with the half in 56.8 seconds.
The victory of Terror To Love was a special moment for father/son training combination of Graham & Paul Court while it provided Curtin with his second New Zealand Cup after scoring back in 1994 aboard Bee Bee Cee.
“He went great, absolutely fantastic.” Curtin beamed immediately after the event.
Terror To Love became the eight 4yo to claim the nations biggest event and the first since the brilliant mare Mainland Banner scored in 2005.
“I'm so pleased for both Graham and Paul, he was spot-on today and it's also great for Terry McDonald.
“Terry bred this horse and he's poured a heap of money into the industry over the years, he truly deserves this victory.
“I was a wee bit worried after getting handy early, then they kept coming around and we ended up a fair way back but this horse is truly amazing with his speed.”
Connections have the option of starting in Friday's Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Woodlands NZ Free-For-All or start organising travel plans for a shot at the Miracle Mile in Sydney later this month.