Terry McDonald will honour the brother he calls "an angel" at tonight's Horse of the Year awards.

McDonald will attend the awards in Christchurch to receive what should be a second NZ Harness Horse of the Year title for his great pacer Terror To Love.

But as proud as he is of his champion he won't be smiling much tonight after the shock death of his brother Ken this week.

Ken, a part-owner of reigning Victoria Cup champ For A Reason and of former pacing hero Master Musician, died suddenly in Australia, aged 69.


His body was flown home to Canterbury on Thursday. His funeral will be held at Addington next Thursday.

"It has been heartbreaking for us," McDonald told the Weekend Herald.

"He was a wonderful guy with so many friends, he was like an angel walking among us.

"To lose him at just 69 has really flattened me and to be honest I wasn't going to go to the awards.

"But I have guests there who I don't want to let down and everybody is telling me Ken would want me there, which he would, of course.

"So I am going but it will be bloody hard."

The two brothers often watched the biggest races together and Ken was one of the first people to congratulate Terry when Terror To Love won his record third New Zealand Cup last November. A few weeks later their superstar pair clashed, with For A Reason beating home Terror To Love in the Miracle Mile.

After that third Cup triumph was followed by a first Auckland Cup for Terror To Love, he looks certain to win Horse of the Year for the second time and Pacer of the Year for the third.

Many of tonight's categories have dominant favourites, with superstars like Adore Me (mare), Venus Serena (3-y-o filly), Master Lavros (trotter) and Follow The Stars (male juvenile pacer) likely to dominate.

The last-mentioned resumes at Bendigo in Australia tonight as he warms up for the semifinals of the Breeders Crown next Saturday night.

He clashes with stablemate Linda Lovegrace and last-start Cambridge winner Field Marshall as the trio ready themselves for the rich ABC series.