Terror To Love's stranglehold on New Zealand Cup favouritism tightened when his almost perfect preparation extended to the barrier draw yesterday.
The defending champion will start from barrier two in next Tuesday's $600,000 Addington classic, which could be enough to see him start close to $2, rarefied air in our greatest race.
His perfect draw comes on top of a pointless win in the Ashburton Flying Stakes last start, which already saw him close into $2.40 favouritism.
His chances improved since, with Auckland Reactor continuing his galloping at the start at Addington last Friday, and yesterday's forced withdrawal of Franco Emirate.
The big horse was forced out after a paddock accident on Sunday, allowing Pure Power into the field.
And some of Terror To Love's key rivals didn't fare so well in the draw, with Gold Ace and Flying Stakes runner-up Pembrook Benny drawn the second line.
Yesterday's shuffle left Mach Banner as the first emergency but he could well still get a start as Ohoka Texas is expected to be sold to North America this week and could miss the Cup.
The field for the New Zealand Cup is: Zenola Seelster (1), Caribbean Blaster (2), Terror To Love (3), Major Mark (4), Sushi Sushi (5), Mah Sish (6), Franco Ledger (7), Fly Like An Eagle (8), Stunin Cullen (9), Mach Banner (10), Pure Power (11), Ohoka Texas (12), Donegal Delight (13), Highview Tommy (14), Gold Ace (15), Jarcullembra (16), Pembrook Benny (17), Auckland Reactor (ur), fr.
Emergencies: Mach Banner, Donegal Delight, Zenola Seelster.