Free Of Debt in top Oakleigh Plate shape

free of debt (r)
Free Of Debt (r) is among the 3yos trying to add his name to the Oakleigh Plate honour roll.

South Australian trainer Chris Bieg does not see a lack of race experience counting against three-year-old Free Of Debt in the Oakleigh Plate.

Free Of Debt will be having his sixth start in Saturday’s 1100m-scamper at Caulfield, but that is offset by the minimum weight of 50kg.

A ligament issue to a hind leg kept Free Of Debt out of the spring but he showed he had returned in good order with his second to Super Seth in the Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 1.

“It’s only his sixth start, his third Group One, so it is a tough ask,” Bieg said.

“But he’s proven time and time again, in the Blue Diamond last year and in the Manfred, that he is up to that level and with 50 kilos, he’s got to be a chance.”

Bieg said Free Of Debt would relish a fast pace in the Oakleigh Plate, sitting behind the speed and hopefully pouncing late.

Free Of Debt was in front until the 50m-mark when third behind Lyre and Lankan Star in last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes.

He was also leading before Super Seth swept past him in the Manfred Stakes.

Bieg said Tasmania’s leading jockey Craig Newitt was already down to 50kg ahead of Saturday’s race.

Newitt is a dual winner of the race aboard Snitzel in 2006 and Lankan Rupee in 2014.

Following Free Of Debt’s first-up assignment, Bieg sent the colt to Fulmen Park on the Mornington Peninsula for a week on the water walker and he returned to Caulfield last week.

He had a quiet week on the track before his work was stepped up on Tuesday.

“He worked with one of Mick Price’s and sat a couple of lengths off it,” Bieg said.

“He really worked through the line and got his head in front, nice solid work and what I wanted to see from him.

“But just past the line, in true Free Of Debt style, he did a bit wrong. He jumped a shadow and pulled up quite quickly.

“He’s still a playful colt and so well within himself and fresh at the moment, but I’m happy to see that.”