December 10, 2023 Paul Courts
REIGNING champion Just Believe left no doubt he is ready for the final stage of his title defence with a scintillating victory at Albion Park last night.
Successful during the first two rounds of heats, Just Believe completed a clean sweep of the qualifiers with a record-breaking performance to remain the only unbeaten trotter from the series.
As such, the Jess Tubbs-trained gelding is a short-priced favourite for next Saturday’s Inter Dominion Final.
Just Believe’s TAB Fixed Odds quote has tightened to $1.35, with Queen Elida considered the main danger at $3.80 in pre-draw markets.
Working to the lead from barrier three, Just Believe cruised to an eight-metre win from Ollivici, with Adelle four-and-a-half metres away third.
With Tubbs’ reinsman-husband, Greg Sugars, in the cart, Just Believe rated 1:57.5 over 2680 metres to slash 2.1 seconds from Queen Elida ‘s track record set less than an hour earlier!
“He’s a special animal and it’s a privilege to have him in our stable,” Sugars said. “He did it comfortably and had plenty in reserve on the line.
“I still had so much horse left at the top of the straight that he felt like he was only in second gear.”
Runner-up during the first two rounds, Queen Elida registered an overdue win when she led throughout to account for a game Plymouth Chubb and Sir Fahrenheit.
Trained by respected Victorian horseman Brent Lilley, Queen Elida covered the last half in a breath-taking 55.2 seconds.