Aussie News - November 19
By Adam Hamilton
Just Believe has picked up where he left off.
The seven-year-old was Australia’s champion trotter, largely through wins in the Inter Dominion and Great Southern Star, before heading to Sweden in the middle of the year.
He was checked and broke on the home bend in a heat of the Elitlopp, then ran two fantastic placings at his other two subsequent runs in Sweden.
Despite being first-up since the last of Swedish runs at Boden on June 17, Just Believe was brilliant winning the $30,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot at Bendigo last Friday night.
Just Believe sat parked outside star mare Queen Elida for much of the 2150m race and powered past her in the home straight to win by 3.8m in a track record 1min55.6sec mile rate – taking 0.3sec off the previous record.
“It’s thrilled us how well he’s come to hand at home. We felt he was at least as good, if not a bit better than he was before he went away,” co-trainer and driver Greg Sugars said.
“He had a couple of trials and has been working well, but you think he’d have to be improved again by this run.”
Just Believe’s firmed from $2.50 into $1.80 to successfully defend his Inter Dominion crown at Albion Park next month.
The Kiwi-owned Queen Elida was far from disgraced in just her second defeat from her past 13 starts.
Brent Lilley’s mare had to spend plenty of early petrol from an outside draw to find the lead from Mufasa Metro and fought on well for second.
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In a shock move, champion trainer Emma Stewart won’t have any runners in the Inter Dominion pacing series.
Stewart, who had four of the 12 pacing finalists in Melbourne last year, had seven of the top 16 ranked pacers for the Brisbane series at one stage.
Hunter Cup winner Honolua Bay has ongoing hoof issues, Victoria Cup winner Act Now hasn’t fired in his two runs since and glamour mares Encipher and Amore Vita have been ruled-out, too.
The surprise omission is the in-form Mach Dan, who followed a Geelong Cup win with victory in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 3 Breeders Crown Pacing free-for-all at Bendigo.
“It’s great to have him back winning, he’s a real favourite of ours, but he’s had a long season and we’ve decided against Brisbane,” Stewart said.
In contrast, Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs are excited about another Inter Dominion tilt with their dual Group 1 winner Better Eclipse.
The five-year-old, who won a heat of last year’s series and ran seventh in the final, looked terrific covering extra ground and winning easily at Bendigo last Friday night.
“He looked the class horse of the race and I drove him accordingly. It was just the sort of performance we were looking for ahead of Brisbane,” Sugars said.
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Star NSW four-year-old My Ultimate Ronnie heads to Perth on Monday to chase WA’s two biggest four-year-old features.
Trainer Jarrod Alchin sharpened him up with a trial at Menangle last Wednesday.
“He finished just behind them, but we didn’t want to pull him. He felt super. He’s ready,” he said.
My Ultimate Ronnie will tackle the $125,000 4YO Classic at Gloucester Park on December 1 and the $200,000 Golden Nugget at the same track on December 15.
Waiting for him will be former Kiwi gelding Star Casino, who scored an upset win in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 3 4YO Championship at Gloucester Park.
Just a week after his dramatic WA Pacing Cup win with Magnificent Storm, trainer Ray Williams won the feature again with Star Casino.
The son of Bettors Delight was superbly driven by Dylan Egerton-Green and just held-off the fast-finishing Alcopony to score by a head.
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Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave returned to winning form in last night’s $40,000 Group 3 Breeders Crown 4YO final.
In doing so, he made it three wins from as many clashes with one-time buzz pacer Captain Ravishing, who sat parked and finished 19m away in second spot.
“It looked his race on paper and it’s good to get back in the winner’s circle,” driver Kate Gath said.
“He’ll go to the paddock and have a little break because there isn’t much in Victoria for him for a while now.”
Catch A Wave will return for races like the Hunter Cup and a Miracle Mile defence in February/March next year.
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Former Kiwi mare Rakero Rebel enjoyed continued her golden campaign with an easy Menangle win last night.
The four-year-old, who beat Ladies In Red on October 14 then ran second to her in the Group 1 Queen of the Pacific last outing, pounced on the front for driver Greg Sugars and always looked in control at Menangle.
After dictating terms, she dashed home in 26.2sec for a 1min53.1sec mile.