Global Trotting Sensation ‘Just Believe’ Defends Inter Dominion Crown: A Worldwide Following

SUPERSTAR trotter Just Believe is taking this Inter Dominion to the world.

As many Swedes sip on their morning coffee, they will be watching or listening to Just Believe – or “Harry” as he’s called around the stable and by many of his fans – try and successfully defend his Inter Dominion crown at Albion Park on Saturday night.

Plenty will be tuning-in from the US as well.

Just Believe’s global fan base stems from his daring and largely successful three-race Swedish trip, which included tackling the world’s most iconic trotting race the Elitlopp at Solvalla in Stockholm, back in May/June this year.

The man who made that trip possible, Solvalla’s Sports General Anders Malmrot, will be ashamedly cheering as loudly as anyone from the other side of the world.

“Harry has set Australia on the trotting map here in Sweden and he has a big number of fans who follow him every race,” Malmrot said. “Harry, Greg (Sugars, driver) and Jess (Tubbs, trainer) were fantastic ambassadors over here and made a great impact on everyone.

“After seeing him in his comeback races, I would say he seems even stronger and faster than before, and we hope for the best (this week) so maybe we can see him again in the Elitlopp.

“From all our harness fans here, we keep our fingers crossed and wish Harry all the best on Saturday.”

Just Believe winning the Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final in 2022. Picture: Stuart McCormick

Although Just Believe didn’t win in Sweden his last two runs were placings in elite company including a phenomenal second to one of the world’s best trotters, Francesco Zet, in Boden in the north is Sweden on June 17.

“The fans here didn’t want him to go home,” Malmrot said. “But it was time and now we hope Greg and Jess win with him on Saturday and think about bringing him back here again.”

Despite almost 100 hours of travel to Sweden, around it and back home, Just Believe has unequivocally returned a better horse.

That doesn’t surprise rival trainer Chris Lang, who had the same experience when he took Sundons Gift to the Elitlopp in 2009.

Just Believe with trainer Jess Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars, proudly displaying their well-earned trophies. Photo credit: Stuart McCormick.

“This is history repeating itself,” he said. “Sundons Gift was a good trotter and won the Inter Dominion before he left, but he came back a beast and was pretty much unbeatable for the next months.

“Sundons Gift was dominant when he defended his Inter Dominion crown after coming back from Sweden and Just Believe is the same.”

Lang saw it firsthand when he chased home Just Believe with his rising star Ollivici, who was unbeaten in this Inter Dominion before meeting Just Believe.

“When you win a couple of heats you start to get a bit cocky, but I got put right back in my place last Saturday. He (Just Believe) toyed with us. He’s on a different level,” he said.

Just Believe has already created history by winning seven successive Inter Dominion races, the three heats and final last year in Melbourne and his three heats in Brisbane.

His dominance combined with in ideal barrier (gate four) have him a commanding $1.15 favourite for Saturday night.

“There’s no question he’s better than last year. I was a bit lost for words with how easily he won last Saturday. He did it in second gear. He’s a very special horse,” Sugars said.

And beyond this final, what about pleasing those international fans and returning to Sweden?

“It’s an option, we had such a great time over there and were treated like rock stars, but we just want to get through Saturday night and into some big races in Melbourne early next year before we think seriously about Sweden again,” Sugars said.

By Adam Hamilton