Trainer Jason Perch is confident that Free Of Doubt will continue his excellent form when he steps up to a mile in the Comedy King Handicap (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Free Of Doubt started his summer campaign with an impressive win at Kyneton in November and finished an unlucky second in the Sweeney Can Do Agents Handicap (1200m) at Moonee Valley before recording his first race win in almost a year in the Chanteclair Handicap (1420m) at Flemington.
The Not A Single Doubt gelding was forced to carry the top weight of 58kg in the Equinao Speed Yearling Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday and fought home well to finish third behind Pillar Of Creation and Final Jest.
“It was strong effort at Flemington,” Perch told Racing Ahead this morning.
“He was probably lucky to win that with Anlon being knocked over in the race but it was a strong win, with a strong run to the line.
“It was probably his best effort over 1400 at Caulfield last time.
“He got out of the gates well but had to work hard to get across with 58 kilos and being a small horse he isn’t a great weight carrier.
“He really toughed it out to the line and I thought that his effort was really good.”
Free Of Doubt drops back down in weight to 54kg in the Comedy King Handicap this weekend and Perch believes that the four-year-old will get a lovely run into the race from barrier four with Vlad Duric on board.
Perch said that he has been looking forward to giving Free Of Doubt another opportunity over a mile since he started his preparation but admits that the tough gelding will need to be at his best to beat David Hayes-trained Backstedt.
“The barrier is a big help and he comes down four kilos in weight, so that is a massive bonus,” Perch said.
“He has always given me the indication that he would be a good miler, this preparation in particular, and Vlad got off him the other day and said straight to the mile now.
“We tried him over a mile at Cranbourne at the end of last preparation and his run was very good.
“Backstedt is obviously going to lead in the race and his win the other day over 1700 at Flemington was very good.
“We should get a lovely sit just off them and if he can get something to follow into the race he can generally finish off strong but Backstedt is going to be very hard to beat.”
Backstedt ($3.20) is currently a clear favourite in Comedy King Handicap betting markets from Free Of Doubt ($4.80), Chile Express ($4.80) and Amaethon ($5).