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Oakleigh Plate next for Free Of Debt

free of debt (r)
Free Of Debt (r) will not run in the All-Star Mile and will be kept to sprints for the time being.

Lightly raced Free Of Debt is out of the running for the All-Star Mile and will be kept to short-course racing for the rest of his three-year-old year with the Group One Oakleigh Plate his next start.

Connections of the Adelaide-trained colt had been chasing a start in the All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield but withdrew him on Monday to concentrate on sprint races.

Voting for the All-Star Mile closes on Sunday with the top 10 vote getters gaining a start in the $5 million race on March 14.

Free Of Debt had been 14th in voting order.

Leading Tasmanian rider Craig Newitt, a dual winner of the Oakleigh Plate aboard Snitzel (2006) and Lankan Rupee (2014), has been booked for the ride .

“He’ll get in on the minimum with 50 kilos in the Oakleigh Plate so it looks a good option for him,” trainer Chris Bieg said.

“He’s nominated for the Newmarket Handicap so I guess that would be the next stepping stone.

“At at some point I think he will race beyond 1200 metres, but we’ll let him tell us when that’s ready to happen.”

Free Of Debt had his first run in just over 10 months when run down by Super Seth in the Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 1.

Bieg was delighted with Free Of Debt’s second after a lay-off because of a ligament issue in a hind leg.

“He went enormous after so long off and he only had one quiet jump-out at Morphettville in the lead-up to that first-up run,” Bieg said.

“There was a lot of improvement to come from that run and I think with 50 kilos, back to the 1100 metres, it should see him run a great race in the Oakleigh Plate.

“Beyond the Newmarket we can come back to Adelaide and I’d love to give him another shot at Morphettville and we’ve got the Goodwood in the autumn.”

Bieg said since the Manfred, Free Of Debt had spent some time on a water walker at Mornington and had returned Gemma Reilly’s Caulfield stable on Monday.

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