Terror To Love terrorises them again
As he stood on the winners' rostrum at Addington for the second time in as many years, Terry McDonald felt completely different from 12 months ago.
When Terror To Love won the New Zealand Trotting Cup last year it was about jubilation. Yesterday's win was about relief.
"It's been a tough week, there's been a whole lot of pressure," McDonald said.
"Certainly a lot harder than last year, back then we were just a horse with a chance to win.
"This year we were a very hot favourite and a lot of people just expected him to come and win it."
Backed into a $2.40 favourite, Terror To Love started as the shortest-priced favourite since Christian Cullen in 1998.
A gambling man by his own admission, McDonald said he had invested a few dollars with his close mate Steve Richardson, the TAB harness racing bookmaker.
"Steve had been telling me how much money he had taken on Terror up until today - and it was a lot.
"I got a little bit off him too though."
And while the race was tough on McDonald it's been equally as tough on co-trainers Graham and Paul Court.
For Paul, sharing the moment with his Dad was special.
"Dad is an amazing horseman, and has done a brilliant job with this guy. It really is just such a special honour to be able to enjoy something like this with him."
So the question now is what to do with the new champion of New Zealand harness racing?
An Inter Dominion attack early next year is an option. But something like the Victoria Cup early next year is likely to be the next major race.
"There are plenty of options there, we will just have to sit down and talk about it all and then go from there," Paul Court said.
"The Auckland Cup is an option as well, so there is heaps we need to think about."
Terror To Love will return to Addington on Friday for the first-ever one mile New Zealand Free-For-All.
"It would be nice to get a good time next to his name, but winning is probably more important," Court said.
Highview Tommy, who for the second year in a row watched Terror To Love sprint to the line and claim glory, was outstanding after doing plenty of work while stablemate Sushi Sushi was an equally impressive third.
The final word however belonged to McDonald. The man of the hour, pleased the Cup Day faithful, and harness racing fans alike when he said: "We'll be back next year to try and do a False Step [the only horse to win three New Zealand Trotting Cups]".
Just imagine the pressure then.
- © Fairfax NZ News