Just Believe - Solvalla Photo by Kurt Einevag
JUST Believe's Inter Dominion title defence has been dealt a blow with a key lead-up race being scrapped.
The superstar trotter was to return from a spell at Melton on Saturday night, but there weren't enough acceptors under HRV's guidelines to go ahead with the race.
After two trials, trainer Jess Tubbs said Just Believe really needed the race to kick-start his preparation for the Brisbane Inter Dominion, which starts on December 1.
"It's really frustrating," Tubbs said.
"It's the second time now a crucial lead-up race for him has been scrapped."
The other was before Just Believe left to take on some of the world's best trotters in Sweden in May.
Under HRV rules: "A race cannot be run with five acceptors or less."
Just Believe hasn't raced since finishing a mighty second to Sweden's buzz trotter Francesco Zet in Boden, in the north of Sweden, on June 17.
"There's no substitute for racing, and we need some before Brisbane," Tubbs said.
"We planned to have this race and probably another before heading up."
"We may have to look to take him to Sydney (Menangle) next week, where there's a trotters race, so we can be sure of getting a run."
The other option is Friday week's Breeders Crown Open Trot, where Australia's other top trotter, Queen Elida, is slated to race next.
"Imagine if that doesn't go ahead, too. Then we're really up against it," Tubbs said.
Just Believe is $2.40 favourite to successfully defend his Inter Dominion crown from Queen Elida at $3.40.
The $7 third favourite Ollivici continues his preparation as the lone 30m backmarker in tomorrow's Yarra Valley Trotters' Cup.