Greg Sugars and Better Eclipse’s Quest for Inter Dominion Glory

Superstar driver Greg Sugars won’t concede this Inter Dominion pacing series is a two-horse showdown.

Betting markets have Leap To Fame ($2) and Swayzee ($3.50) way ahead of their nearest rivals like Rock N Roll ($9) and Better Eclipse ($11), who will be driven by Sugars and is trained by his wife, Jess Tubbs.

“Sure, they are the standouts, but there is a lot to play out yet,” Sugars said.

“I think Better Eclipse has a chance of winning (the final). He’s that sort of horse, he’s capable of winning any race on his day with the right run.

“I also think he’s at least as good as he’s ever been. All his form, this campaign, except the Victoria Cup run, have shown he’s going great this time in work.

“The way he won at Bendigo last start really struck me. I know it was an easier race, but the ground he covered and the times he ran were quite sensational. I think that’s as good as he’s ever gone and it was ideal going into a series like this.”

Sugars rates recent NZ Cup hero Swayzee as the horse to beat, just ahead of Leap To Fame.

“On current form, I’d lean slightly to Swayzee, but Leap To Fame is an amazing horse and he’s so good in his own backyard. A horse like Rock N Roll Doo, isn’t far behind them either, he can make his own luck to a certain extent,” he said.

Better Eclipse, who has already been to Albion Park and won the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint last year, has settled well since arriving with champion trotter and stablemate Just Believe at Shannon Price’s stables outside of Brisbane on Monday.

“I can’t fault them both,” Sugars said.

“We’re looking forward to getting into the first round of heats.”

Sugars and Tubbs had a taste of Inter Dominion glory when Just Believe won last year’s trotting final in Melbourne.

Just Believe will be out to defend his Inter Dominion Trotters title. Picture: Stuart McCormick

Just Believe is back to defend his title, while Better Eclipse is out improve on his seventh in last year’s pacing final.

Despite an extended and successful trip to Sweden for three races in the middle of the year and all the travel associated with that, Sugars is adamant the rising eight-year-old Just Believe is better than when he won last year’s final.

“I do believe that. He’s always had a great will to win and love of racing, that’s his strength, but his attitude at home is better,” he said.

Just Believe turned plenty of heads when he returned or his first start since finishing second in Sweden on June 17 to beat glamour mare Queen Elida at Melton last Friday week.

“I thought he could win, but also knew whatever he did he would improve on having not raced for so long and with only two fairly easy trials under his belt,” Sugars said.

“What surprised me was the way he did, how easily he did. He cruised up to them and won so easily.

“The run has brought him on, as you’d expect and I’m really happy where he’s at going into Friday.

“He’s drawn the pole and gets out quickly. It really looks an ideal way to start the series.”

By Adam Hamilton