By Tim O’Connor (HRV)
W/e – Sunday 11 June
The heartbreak of Elitloppet has quickly been replaced by overwhelming joy for champion Victorian reinsman Greg Sugars and connections of Just Believe after the Australian squaregaiter produced a slashing run for third in the Jämtlands Stora Pris during the early hours of Sunday morning AEST.
The Jess Tubbs-trained trotter bounced back from his luckless performance at Solvalla two weeks earlier with an eye-catching run behind Hail Mary and Click Bait in the feature in Östersund.
From a wide front row draw, Sugars eased back with Just Believe and found a spot three back in the running line before the son of Orlando Vici sprinted quickly in the home stretch to grab third.
“I’m so excited. This is much better than last time,” Sugars told Instagram’s @travfamiljen in the moments after the race.
“It’s really good and it’s fantastic that so many people here have already said ‘well done’ and said ‘the horse went super’.
“I’m very proud of him. He did a great job, he tried so hard and I’m very happy. Hopefully we get a better draw for next time.”
That “next time” has been confirmed as the Norrbottens Stora Pris at Boden on June 17, with Sugars quick to tweet confirmation that the seven-year-old would head further north and tackle a third Swedish assignment.
“He has pulled up a treat!! To say I am proud of the performance is a huge understatement. Thank you to everyone who took the time to tune in and cheer for us. Bring on Boden,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tubbs set the alarm and woke up for the race back home here in Victoria, cheering on her horse through the early hours of the morning.
“I was very excited,” she said. “It really did feel like he won. I was that proud of him.
“Obviously the barrier wasn’t great, but just to see him do that – compete with some of the world’s best trotters – is pretty cool.”
After the race in Boden, Just Believe will undertake a long quarantine process both in Germany and Victoria before returning to Tubbs’ Myrniong stables.
He will then be set for the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship in Queensland, where he will look to defend the title he won at Melton in December last year.