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Terror to Love is perfectly primed to retain the New Zealand Cup at Addington on Tuesday, says trainer Paul Court.
"He's done everything right so far and we just need a bit of luck on the day," said Court, who trains the horse at West Melton with his father Graham.
"Hopefully everything is good between now and then. He won his trial quite nicely yesterday, which was pretty encouraging."
Back to back cup wins have been a feature in recent years, with Monkey King achieving it in 2009-10, Flashing Red in 2006-07, and Just An Excuse in 2003-04.
Ricky May, who drove Monkey King to both wins, is in the seat for Terror To Love, and out to equal Cecil Devine's record six cup wins.
"Ricky's pretty happy with him and I don't think he would want to be on anything else which is a good sign," said Court. "Especially with a man who knows how to win the cup."
May came in as Terror To Love's driver recently because Jim Curtin, who won last year, was committed as trainer of Franco Emirate, now scratched.
Court said if they won again it would mean just as much as it did last year.
"It's everyone's dream to have a horse in the cup let alone win, and to win two would be a massive milestone," he said.
"My dad who's 60-odd took this long to get a good one, and you've got to cherish every moment."
The popular win by a locally-trained horse last year - Terror To Love was only the eighth four-year-old in 107 years to win the harness classic, and his racing colours are red and black - had not changed his life, he said.
"It's just another thing you can tick off the to-do list. Things haven't changed at all - but it was bloody good fun doing it."
Asked about the likely threats, Court said it was hard to get a line on some horses.
"Auckland Reactor could be but he's got to do things right and he hasn't for a while. And Fly Like An Eagle will be pretty hard."
Court was planning to relocate to Toronto in March, but this is now up in the air.
Slot machines, which bring a lot of revenue into Canadian racing, are too be taken away from the tracks by the government. And that's expected to happen in March, when he was planning to move with his Canadian wife Chantelle.
"It's probably still going to happen [the move to Canada], but when I don't know," he said. His father will maintain the Canterbury stable.
The 2012 cup looks certain to make history one way or another. As well as May's chance of equalling Devine's record, Natalie Rasmussen could become the first female driver to win the cup.
She will be at the reins of fourth-favourite Sushi Sushi, Australian-owned and Mark Purdon-trained, with which she won the Kaikoura Cup.
- By Nick Tolerton of The Star