Just Believe impresses again, right-handed this time

By Michael Guerin

Just Believe may have handled Alexandra Park like he had been there 100 times before on Friday night but his driver Greg Sugars admits he is still getting used to it.

The champion pair gave punters no reason for concern at the $1.25 win quote when they rolled straight to the lead in the $60,000 Lone Star Lyell Creek Stakes and cruised clear of trailer Oscar Bonavena in the 2200m mobile Group 2.

It was Australia’s Trotter of the Year vs NZ Trotter of the Year and for the second time in a fortnight the Aussies cleaned up.

Just Believe will try and make it three unbeaten starts in New Zealand in the $110,000 National Trot next Friday after which Sugars expects to confirm he will stick around for the Rowe Cup on May 24 for which he is already the $1.35 favourite.

“We won’t make that decision until after next week’s race but I can’t see a reason we wouldn’t stay because he handled it (the right-handed track) so well tonight,” says Sugars.

“We didn’t gear him up or shoe him any differently from usual and it wasn’t an issue at all.”

While Sugars says Just Believe took Alexandra Park in his stride the driver himself is still getting comfortable there, even though he won the Northern Derby there with Sushi Sushi as far back at 2011.

“I am still getting used to it,” he smiles.

“I know it sounds weird but everything feels different right-handed even though I drove here last year.

“It is like you use a different side of your body, you are looking out for things out of the other eye than you are used to.

“Back home I will be looking left for an inside gap if one comes and it is really hard to get used to looking right for one.

“The track is great, I have just spent so much time driving left-handed.”

Just Believe makes those choices largely redundant as he is good enough to lead or win sitting parked and while he will have Muscle Mountain returning for compeition in the National Trot next week he looks set to complete an unbeaten autumn here.

He was the easiest of the short priced feature race winners on Friday, with Paramount Kiwi and Youretheonethatiwant winning their big stake races but not without some nervous moments.

Paramount Kiwi defended the NZB Standardbred Harness Million title he won at Addington last year over Princess Sadie, with only a few traffic concerns in the trail at the 400m mark.

The son of Father Patrick made it five wins from six starts, his only defeat fresh up against the older horses, yet goes into the draw for next Friday Sires’ Stakes Trot as only the $3.80 second favourite behind Empire City.

Youretheonethatiwant remained unbeaten in three starts when she came out of the rail to beat a very brave stablemate Won And Only in the $65,000 Gallagher Insurance Delightful Lady Classic.

She doesn’t seem to win by much and there was plenty to admire from the fourth place performance of Im Sandra Dee after her early gallop but the winner is just that, a winner, and added to a great night for trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan.


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