He’s changed the perception of trotting in this country while opening doors that will benefit many others in years to come, and now he’s finally back home from a truly epic three-month journey overseas.
Just Believe won the hearts of European and Australian harness racing fans alike for his deeds in Sweden through May and June, with an unlucky run in his Elitloppet heat at Solvalla followed by brilliant placings in races at Östersund and Boden.
The horse’s long trek back to his base in Myrniong was finally complete on Wednesday and trainer Jess Tubbs says “Harry” will be left to decide when he feels like coming back into work for his next racing preparation.
“When he’s starting to wait at the gate for us, we’ll know it’s time to bring him back up,” Tubbs said. “But at the moment he’s down in one of the foaling paddocks next to a broodmare.
“He’s happily down the back of the paddock and having a good rest.
“We’ll keep an eye on him, and he’ll tell us when he’s ready to come back up and he can re-join the racing stable.”
Defending the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship he won last year is top of the agenda, with the 2023 series to be staged in Queensland during December.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully heading up there with him and Better Eclipse,” Tubbs said.
“It’d be lovely to try and go back-to-back – it’s not going to be easy that’s for sure – but that would be definitely our main aim.
“He may find some other targets before then, but everything’s based on that long goal.
“It’s only if he’s feeling like it that we will see him sooner.”
Tubbs said while sending Just Believe to Sweden came at a huge cost for the stable and ownership group, there was a desire to return in 2024 if the opportunity presented itself.
“If he was in the same sort of form, fit and well, and the Solvalla team invited him, I think it would be hard to say no,” she said.
“It would be a lot less daunting this time, I think, to go again.
“That would be pretty phenomenal to think that a second invite would be issued, so we won’t be counting any chickens in that department.”
HARRY IS HOME!!!— Larajay Farm (@LarajayFarm) August 16, 2023
After three long months and many thousands of kilometres travelled, he’s safely home at Larajay.
Thank you to everyone who looked after him along the way - it really did take a village! #justbelieve #elitloppet2023 pic.twitter.com/UTLPFifAI5