The 2014 Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup was a thrilling contest.
A fascinating battle between developed over the concluding stages between the glamour couple of New Zealand harness racing with Terror To Love gunning down Adore Me in the 2700m feature event.
And punters rallied behind both pacers.
But it was the triple New Zealand Cup champion Terror To Love, aided by a brilliant drive by Ricky May that proved superior on the night and rightfully claimed his first Auckland Cup after placings in the two previous editions.
Again, coming off another mystifying flop in last week’s Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final in Sydney, Terror To Love quickly confirmed his ranking as ‘numero uno’ in his homeland with his brilliant sprinting finish to beat Adore Me by a length and the unlucky Saveapatrol was a further six lengths in third.
The time of 3;15.8 equaled the national record held by Tintin In America and it bettered the race record held by Im Themightyquinn.
A mile rate of 1;56.7.
The last half was timed in 56.7 seconds with the final split in 28.2 seconds.
At the start, Fly Like An Eagle blasted off the gate to find the lead before Mah Sish made an aggressive move to take the lead away from Fly Like An Eagle soon after the start.
With Mah Sish rolling along at a genuine tempo, Adore Me and Terror To Love sat patiently before making their respective moves with just over a lap remaining.
Entering the back straight, Mah Sish was joined and headed by Adore Me while Terror To Love gained perfect cover flow at the expense of Pembrook Benny.
Adore Me straightened with a handy lead but Terror To Love was in hot pursuit and quickly challenged his younger rival before drawing clear for a decisive and deserving triumph.
The success of Terror To Love provided his champion reinsman Ricky May with his second Auckland Cup victory following the winning performance of Monkey King back in 2010.
“To be fair, I haven’t had a lot of luck in this great race but to win with this horse is extra special, to bounce back on a good track after what happened in Sydney five days ago is a huge thrill.” May said.
“I wasn’t sure if I would pick up the mare at the top of the straight but he sprinted brilliantly. I was happy to gain good cover over the final lap and it panned out really well in the end.” He added.
Terror To Love is prepared by father/son combination of Graham and Paul Court.
The striking Western Terror – Love To Live six-year-old is raced by his breeder Terry McDonald.
The Auckland Cup victory was win number 27 at career start number 60 while his earnings are in excess of $2.1 million.