He’s the outsider of Saturday’s Group 1 Blue Diamond field but that doesn’t matter one bit to Chris Bieg and the connections of their undefeated colt, Free of Debt.
Bieg and his owners are well and truly debt free thanks to the son of Unencumbered and Stagerush. The colt only cost them $30k from the 2017 Adelaide Magic Millions Sales and in his two runs has returned them a very handsome $138k in prizemoney and bonuses already.
It was an easy purchase for Bieg who was a big wrap on him heading into the sales that year. “He was a cracking type of colt, had a good attitude and a beautiful effortless action,” says Bieg.
He first stepped out in a trial at Morphettville in early December last year, finishing third behind Phillip Stokes’ Éclair Breeze and Ryan Balfour’s Lil Kontra. While he started his debut race at $31, Bieg was optimistic that his colt had what it took to win first up. “Going into his first start we were very confident, he had been working very well against some older horses on the track. He also trialled really well in the lead up to his first start.”
Not a trainer who is scared to take his horses across the border, Bieg decided to throw the colt in the deep end and took him over to run the Flemington straight. The horse was better respected by the bookies that day jumping at $8 and really taking charge of the race from the early stages under the guidance of Jake Toeroek.
“Heading to Flemington we were very confident but at the same time very mindful of the step up in grade. It was also his first time down the straight so there were a lot of unknown factors to take into consideration. On the day he was a true professional apart from being a bit wayward and racing greenly over the concluding stages.”
After that win, Bieg knew he had a horse on his hands and spoke to his owners about having a crack in the Blue Diamond Prelude and if he measured up in that race would they consider paying the late nomination fee of $55k for the Blue Diamond.
Bieg and the owners didn’t have to think about their decision too long, when Bruce Clark acting on behalf of Aquis Farm contacted him the day after his win at Flemington and said that Aquis want to go into partnership with Free of Debt.
Part of the deal with Aquis Farm coming on board was they would pay the late nomination fee and gave Bieg and the colt the option to skip the Prelude and head straight to this Saturday’s Blue Diamond.
While Aquis Farms now have the major share in Free of Debt, (which will head to their stud when he’s done racing) it’s still a massive thrill for Bieg and his 16 other owners as they race for a $900k winners cheque on Saturday.
“As you can imagine we are very excited heading into Saturday, however we’re very focused on the job between now and then. To be honest, I’m looking forward to the time after the race on Saturday night where we can all sit back and relax and take it all in.”
Not many racehorse owners will ever get the thrill of having a Group 1 runner in their lifetime and the connections of Free of Debt are making the most of this weekend.
“The majority of the owners are heading over throughout this week and we’re attending a luncheon together on Friday and then probably head to the Moonee Valley races on Friday night.”
While Bieg is quietly confident of causing an upset on Saturday; win, lose or draw this week has been one of the biggest in his short career and he is savouring every moment. What the future has in store for the horse, will depend a lot on what he can produce on the weekend.
“His future post Saturday’s race will be fully determined based on the result of the race and more importantly how the horse pulls up.”
After his success over the years at the Adelaide Magic Millions Sales, Bieg will be back there again in March, full of confidence hoping to find his next Free of Debt or Excites Zelady. His record speaks for itself at the sales when buying cheaper yearlings. His first horse Dashitude started it all off back in 2011. She only cost him $5.5k and ended up winning over $400k in prizemoney, while three time Murray Bridge Cup winner Excites Zelady only cost him $19k and won over $560k.
“We’re a family friendly stable and welcome visits to the stables to come and see what the team at Chris Bieg Racing is all about. Whether you’re new to ownership or looking to add to your stable give me a call on 0406 992 766.”