The globetrotting Greg Sugars will still be a bit jet-lagged when he heads to Melton for three drives on Saturday night, but he’ll take that every day.
Sugars and wife Jess Tubbs are still riding a glorious wave after their star trotter Just Believe finished his three-race Swedish campaign with a career-best second to local freak Francesco Zet in Boden last Sunday morning (Australian time).
“We’re still pinching ourselves,” Tubbs said.
“The whole experience has been amazing, but the way so many people from over there and back home has been phenomenal. I’m not entirely sure why it resonated with so many people, but it’s brilliant for the racing that it has.”
Swedish fans and administrators pleaded with Tubbs and Sugars to leave Just Believe in Sweden longer, but Sugars needed to head home to their huge and thriving Myrniong stable near Ballarat.
“Greg’s due back midnight Wednesday and is determined to drive at Ballarat Thursday night and Bendigo Friday night before Melton,” Tubbs said.
Sugars said after the huge Boden run: “Our time has come now to go home, but returning next year is certainly a possibility. I’ve got to get back home and get back to work.”
His three Melton drives on Saturday night are: Lottie Moon, (race 3), Art Jester (R4) and Rocknroll Walla (R10).
Greg Sugars driving Just Believe at Solvalla in Sweden. Picture: Kurt Einevag
Just Believe won’t be home for at least another month. He’s having a break in Stockholm before two weeks quarantine in Germany and then another two weeks quarantine in Mickelham when he gets back to Australia.
The impact Just Believe made in Sweden was groundbreaking and has paved the way for so many others to follow in years to come.
Leading Swedish racing journalist Dennis Englebo gave it context.
“There were some doubters here in Sweden, but they have been converted,” he said.
“Just Believe is not only the best horse in Australia but he’s also one of the best horses in the whole world. His performances in Sweden have been amazing.
“After just three runs in a month, he’s already a favourite over here.
“So many people wanted him to stay. His performances have been great and we to hope to see him back again.
“Thanks to him, never has the interest in Australian racing been higher.
“With a star like Just Believe, I’m sure the Australian trotting industry will get more highlighted and that’s bloody fantastic.
“Thank you to Greg Sugars, Jess Tubbs and all the owners for letting Sweden borrow your star for some time. We hope to see you again soon.”
Just Believe was knocked down in his first Swedish run in an Elitlopp heat, then ran a slashing third in Ostersund before last week’s massive second at Boden.
Given the timing, he will have a break when he finally gets back to his Myrniong stables before being set for a defence of his Inter Dominion title at Albion Park in December.
* Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp