Ricky May's bid for six up to 'Terror'
Pressure. It isn't usually a word Ricky May has much time for.
But today, pressure will be all around him and impossible to avoid.
The Methven horseman will drive commanding favourite Terror To Love in the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington.
It's not new territory for May as five cup victories attest. But today's there's an added incentive.
Should May, and the horse widely known simply as Terror, finish first past the winning post today, he will join Cecil Devine as the only other driver to have won six. Devine is to harness racing, what Sir Richard Hadlee is to cricket, Richie McCaw to rugby - a legend.
He won all his six cups as a trainer and driver, including three consecutive wins with False Step in 1958, 1959 and 1960.
"It was an amazing feat for Cecil to be able to achieve six because he trained them all as well and it's something I don't think will ever be achieved," May said. "All his wins were probably just a bit before my time but I do remember Dad [Terry May] talking about him a lot."
May tends to associate with the best. His five previous cup victories; Inky Lord (1989), Iraklis (1997), Mainland Banner (2005) and Monkey King (2009, 2010) were no surprise.
Terror To Love's faultless preparation suggests horse and man will tred the same path.
Trainers Graham and Paul Court are confident, meaning expectations on May are weighty.
"Everything has gone pretty much to plan and that's what probably makes it a little bit tougher," said May.
"His preparation would have to be right up there with all the other horses I have driven in a cup that have won.
"With all the other five nothing actually went wrong with them leading into the cup and to be fair he's the same.
"A few of the others have had their fair share of hiccups along the way which has probably helped but on what he has done it's hard not to be confident going into it."
And then there's the Jimmy Curtin factor.
May got the job of driving Terror when Monkey King retired.
Curtin drove Terror to victory last year but was happy with his seat behind Franco Emirate. That was until the big pacer was scratched.
"To be honest if it had been a week or two earlier I would have seriously considered getting off to allow him to drive Terror To Love but this close out from the race it's a bit tough," said May.
"But Jimmy has said he will be cheering for me, and I know he will be."
No pressure, Ricky. The eyes of a nation are on you.
- © Fairfax NZ News