STAR trotter Just Believe’s Inter Dominion title defence gets serious from Monday.
Co-trainers Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars have been focused on just one thing – the title defence – since Just Believe returned home from his fantastic three-race Swedish campaign in late July.
Just Believe’s last run was a remarkable second to one of the world’s most exciting trotters, Francesco Zet, in Boden, Sweden on June 17.
The gelding has since had quarantine stints in Germany and back in Melbourne before a well-earned spell back at the Myrniong farm of Tubbs and Sugars.
“He looks great and is doing everything well,” Sugars said. “He’s ready for a trial now. I’d say he’ll have a couple of trials and then we’ll look for a race.”
Sugars said it was likely Just Believe would have two lead-up runs before heading to Brisbane for the opening round of Inter Dominion heats on December 1 at Albion Park.
“The Breeders Crown (trotting) free-for-all on November 17 will probably be his last run before heading up, but we’ll find a race for him a couple of weeks before that to kick him off in,” he said.
Sugars knows the enormity of the challenge ahead, primarily from brilliant trotting mare Queen Elida.
“Oh yeah, she’s absolutely flying,” he said. “It’ll be terrific to get ‘Harry’ back and we should have some great racing ahead.”
Sugars said there was a chance Just Believe could return to Sweden again next May.
“We just want to get him back racing and through the Inter Dominion before we think about next year, but there’s no doubt he earned a lot of respect with his runs over there. If he was going really well and they came to us with an attractive offer, we’d certainly have to consider it,” he said.
Queen Elida will be chasing her 11th win from her past 12 starts when she starts favourite in Saturday night’s Group 1 Bill Collins Trotters’ Sprint at Melton.
She finished third in the race last behind Just Believe before also finishing third to him in the Inter Dominion final and fourth in the Group 1 Great Southern Star final.
Queen Elida faces a challenge on Saturday as the lone back row runner, especially with fellow key Ladbrokes Inter Dominion hopefuls Ollivici (gate one), Arcee Phoenix (three) and Mufasa Metro (four) drawn well on the front line.