It has taken Ricky May only two race drives behind Terror To Love to get that old familiar feeling.

It is a feeling he has had four times before, each time resulting in a New Zealand Cup triumph.

And the pair should make their next step on the path to the Cup a winning one in the $60,000 Flying Stakes at Ashburton today.

They will be dominant favourites in a race that contains most of the NZ Cup stars but the reality is Terror To Love is one of the few Cup guns who seems to be firing at the moment.


While his last start conqueror Gold Ace was professional, Terror To Love's performance to sit parked and only just go down to him rates about two lengths better than the winner.

And while Fly Like An Eagle and Franco Ledger join his rivals today, neither has won at this level before.

So if the best Terror To Love turns up for today's 2400m standing start feature he should win.

"I think he has shown he is the best of them at the moment," says the normally conservative May.

"He was very good last start at Addington and he should be improved on that.

"On how he feels this campaign and having watched him last season, I'd say he has improved since then."

The one tiny concern punters could have today is Terror To Love's tendency to hop around before the start, although May is not letting that worry him greatly.

"He is a bit of a fidget at the start but he always seems to go forward when the tapes are released. And as he gets further into his campaign I think he will settle down more.

"Around this track, where he will have to stay handy, it would be a problem if he missed away but I think he will be fine."

While Terror To Love is clearly the one to beat today, bringing most of the other big names together means there is an even spread of dangers.

Gold Ace has developed the manners to go with his obvious talent and is going to be a factor in any major race if he maintains his form, so has an obvious chance, especially if he can settle in front of the favourite.

Fly Like An Eagle is the most interesting newcomer, having blossomed over the winter but still with some concerns over his standing-start manners after a last-start break at Methven.

If he can win today he will change the NZ Cup market enormously.

Franco Ledger was the early-season star but his trainer Hamish Hunter warns today is his biggest test and that he may be underdone for it. "This is a step up for us and he is a bit fresh after a recent let-up so I will be happy if we finish in the first five or six."

The value in the race could be northerner Pembrook Benny, who is suited by the 2400m and his draw.

If he can be first to the lead he has options and is worth an each-way bet, as, too, could be Sushi Sushi, who looks the ideal type for Ashburton.