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Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Talented young reinswoman Ellen Tormey will fly out of Melbourne on Monday bound for the US and Canada where she will spend six weeks honing her skills. Tormey, 24, will first land with leading Canadian trainer Blair Burgess in Canada where she will gain invaluable experience near the famous Mohawk track in Ontario. Tormey will then have the opportunity to visit the Little Brown Jug Carnival in Delaware, Ohio, before joining the Linda Toscano stable – based in New Jersey – and travelling with Toscano’s team to the massive carnival at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Tormey’s trip came about after she was awarded the 2014 Leigh Plunkett Scholarship. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation was inaugurated in 2013 as a harness racing charity that would raise money for charitable organisations as well as providing an international scholarship for a young participant. In year one the charitable organisation selected was the Leukaemia Foundation, with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation able to deliver a $50,000 cheque to the foundation. The foundation wishes to thank everyone around Australia who donated their time and money to such a worthy cause. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation will be launching again soon and young participants who want to experience what Tormey has been afforded should start thinking about their application. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Trainer David Lewis says Abettorpunt cannot afford another setback if he is to contest this year’s New Zealand Trotting Cup in November. Lewis said Abettorpunt had recently fallen victim to a virus which flattened the majority of his Hamilton stable, but the six-year-old is now back in full work and a $31 shot for the NZ Cup with tab.com.au. “We had a little hiccup unfortunately. Most of my horses had a virus so I had to lay him down for a few weeks and we missed the Breeders free for all. That had been the aim,” Lewis said. “Now I’m hoping to get a couple of runs into him in Melbourne before I go and hopefully everything goes right between now and then, because if he’s not 100 per cent he won’t be going.” Lewis said Abettorpunt was still an “85-90 per cent” chance of contesting the NZ Trotting Cup but said the son of Bettors Delight couldn’t afford any more mishaps. “Plan B might be to take him to Queensland for a feature race there, then it’ll be up to Sydney,” he said. “The Inter Dominion is the plan in the New Year and I’d like to go back to South Australia for the SA Cup and work my way back through Victoria for some country cups. A bit similar to last year, I was happy with the pattern we went with.” Lewis said fans were yet to see the best of Abettorpunt, who finished his last preparation with a Group 1 triumph in the Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at Menangle. He also won last year’s Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton and ran an unlucky fourth in the Del-Re National Hunter Cup. Brett Cox, who works for Lewis, will travel with Abettorpunt if he heads to New Zealand while Matthew Craven will take the reins. “He loves the stand start and distance races so it would certainly suit him,” Lewis said. Terror To Love is $4.40 favourite for the NZ Trotting Cup, just ahead of Christen Me at $4.60, with Smolda ($5.50), Im Themightyquinn ($6.50), Adore Me and For A Reason ($10), and Locharburn ($12) next in the market. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

John Hallam’s in-form rig Karkarooc should prove hard to beat in Friday night’s Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final (Race 3) at Tabcorp Park Melton. The son of Courage Under Fire and mare Phichai, a half-brother to Hallam's Group 1 winning mare Wyperfeld, has won three straight races, his most recent in 1:58.4 when 11.8 metres too strong for A Bit Ruthless at Shepparton. “He’s as promising a horse as I’ve had for a while,” Hallam said. “He’s very inexperienced. He hasn’t had a lot of trialling. He’s got blistering gate speed, which he won’t be able to use from the second row, but I’m not really fussed about that. “I don’t care where he settles. If they go too slow up front he’ll go up and around them and if not I don’t mind if he comes with one run at the end.” Hallam, who trains from Kialla, said as Karkarooc progressed through the grades to higher class races he would become more of a sit-sprinter. “When he gets in against those better horses I think that will be his forte." Nathan Jack has driven Karkarooc at two of his past three wins and will steer him again on Friday night. Jack and Hallam will also combine in Race 1 with Million To One mare Ezee Duzit Lombo. The six-year-old has been in ultra-consistent form of late without winning, finishing second at her past two starts at Swan Hill and Shepparton. “You certainly couldn’t get much closer than that she’s been getting of late,” Hallam said. Ezee Duzit Lombo ran on powerfully two starts back off a slow speed up front to finish second at Swan Hill before another runner-up effort last time out when beaten a head by Stunning Grin. While she has been settling back in the field in her recent starts, Hallam said Ezee Duzit Lombo was likely to be driven more proactively from gate three on Friday night. “Over the 1720 metres at Melton if you’re getting too far back you might as well not come,” he said. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria will pay out Vicbred bonuses totalling $46,000 to the winners of eight races at Maryborough this Thursday. The Maryborough Harness Racing Club will host a non-winners day for Vicbred eligible horses, with horses who are yet to record a win in their career racing for bolstered prizemoney thanks to HRV and race day sponsor Harness Breeders Victoria. Harness Breeders Victoria has contributed $250 towards the stake money for each race, while every successful owner on the day will receive a free winning photograph courtesy of the Maryborough club. HRV CEO John Anderson said the day provided owners and their maiden horses an opportunity to race for lucrative prizemoney. “These owners have paid up to be part of the Vicbred series however they haven’t won a race in the lucrative Super Series or received their first win bonus. By conducting this ‘maiden’ meeting connections now have the opportunity to race for substantial prizemoney,” Mr Anderson said. “The racing is sure to be ultra-competitive and we’re thankful also to Harness Breeders Vic for pitching in $250 to the stake money for each race, and the Maryborough club who will donate a photograph of the winner to each successful owner. “These bonuses are a great initiative and a very popular way to support our owners, who are the lifeblood of our great sport.” Maryborough club secretary/manager Les Chapman is looking forward to the “maiden race day”. “It’s wonderful to be able to give the owners of these horses, who are yet to win, the opportunity to win a race that carries significant prizemoney and provide them with a winning photo to hang on the wall and mark the occasion,” Chapman said. “This is the fourth time we’ve had the opportunity to run this meeting and it has always been very well supported. “It will be a very competitive day’s racing.” Great Western trainer/driver Michelle Wight says the non-winners day is a great initiative. “Absolutely brilliant,” she said. “It’s another opportunity for owners to pick some great prizemoney and being a Vicbred bonus it’s great to reward home-bred horses.” Wight will put the polish on three-year-old trotter Somebuddylikeyou, which broke several times on debut but still ran fourth at Maryborough first-up, and pint-sized filly Ithappensinvegas in the two-year-old pace. “I bred and own both horses so potentially it could be a huge pay day,” Wight quipped. “It’s a great initiative.” Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Champion trainer Chris Lang has announced he will retire from harness racing once his property is sold at auction on October 17. The leading trainer, a pioneer in in the Australian trotting industry, has made the decision to concentrate on his health as he battles Raynaud's Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels affecting his hands. Lang, 54, told Harness Racing Victoria media this morning he was shattered to have to step away from the sport, but said he was making the tough call for the betterment of his long-term health. “Basically it’s a decision that was forced upon me,” Lang said. “I’ve had a few minor health issues over the last few years, with pneumonia and a lung infection, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and basically I have little ongoing issues that are minor now but because of the lifestyle I lead can lead to far more major issues later on. “I have Raynaud’s Disease, which affects the circulation in my hand, especially during the winters. “At the present time it’s very minor but it has the potential to develop into a far more life-changing condition if I don’t go and try to get it fixed now.” While shattered to have to make the call, Lang said he was determined to pull the pin while he still had some say in the matter and said he won’t rule out returning to training in future. “I’m going to make the decision while it’s still my decision to a degree rather than wait until I’ve got no other option,” he said. “This is possibly just a hiatus for me rather than a retirement. “If I’m able to go away now and get this sorted out then who knows what will happen in the future?” Lang has informed his owners of his decision and stressed it was “business as usual” until his property in Nagambie is sold at auction. Lang, who has developed his property from bare land to a state-of-the-art harness racing training mecca, said he was disappointed to be selling the venue. “When we shifted there about 21 odd years ago it was a bare paddock and to build it into something that Sharon and I are so immensely proud of, I always envisaged being carried out of there in a wooden box to be honest. “We’ve always said though that we want to do the right thing and we feel this is the right thing as hard as it is.” Lang has been an indomitable force in Australian trotting circles for many years. He won the 2009 and 2010 Inter Dominion finals with the glorious squaregaiter Sundons Gift and consequently earned an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. “That was an amazing achievement, really,” Lang said. “Going over there (to Sweden) was in my opinion the greatest experience because it was life-changing. “We brought a whole lot of knowledge back with us from that trip.” Lang, whose other stable champions have included Kyvalley Road, Skyvalley, Let Me Thru, National Interest, Jauriol and Lester Scot, said he remembers attending the Shepparton trials with his trotters and being the only trainer there with squaregaiters. “Now 40 to 50 per cent of horses at those trials are trotters,” he said. “It’s actually amazed me how far trotting has come since then in Australia. I’d like to say I sat back and could see it happening, but that wouldn’t be true. It really has amazed me.” Lang will continue training and driving horses until his property has been sold and said he would likely remain in the sport as an owner afterwards, but he was yet to make a decision on that. He said it would be up to his individual owners to decide how they wanted to handle the transition. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Since settling into her new digs at Shepparton, rising-star reinswoman Amanda Turnbull has notched two Group 1 wins at Tabcorp Park Melton in just a couple of months. The 24-year-old followed up a Vicbred Super Series win last month with a Breeders  Crown triumph yesterday, steering Just Cala to a 1.2-metre win in the Bettors Delight @  Woodlands Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old fillies. Turnbull, who grew up driving hundreds of winners a season while based in Bathurst,  would have especially enjoyed that yesterday’s winner was trained by a New South  Wales country horseman in Dennis Picker. “It’s all going really well,” Turnbull said of her transition to Victoria. “We’re going to wait until next season before we get some more (horses) in but we’re  going on a holiday to Hamilton Island first and then when we come back it’ll be all go.” Just Cala, a filly by the indomitable Art Major out of a Kiwi mare named Lilsistar, found  the front yesterday from barrier one, showing far more speed off the arm than she had  in her previous two starts. “I thought Spicy Stride would cross me before the race but once I was able to hold her  out I was lucky enough to be able to be in front, which worked out really well,” Turnbull  said. Turnbull handed up to the challenge of Nike Franco, who was set alight from the rear of  the field early, grabbing the spot behind the Luke McCarthy-driven race favourite. As the field headed towards the home turn McCarthy was starting to ask Nike Franco for  more and Turnbull had to decide whether to wait for the sprint lane or ease across the  heels of the leader and death-seat horse Quick Draft to make her run wide. She took the latter option, which in turn allowed Tasmanian filly Barynya to storm  through on the inside after a three-back-the-pegs trail. “Luke was asking for his filly to show a bit more while Chris (Alford) was sitting quietly  on his,” Turnbull said. “I was travelling really well at that stage so I decided to go to the outside of them. “She let down like she has the first two times I’d driven her. “It was a great feeling to win it.” Turnbull has already driven 1041 winners in just seven seasons in the sulky, a remarkable achievement for someone so young. This season she has driven 133 winners from 660 drives. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing needs its pin up stars and there’s no bigger star at the moment in Australasia than Follow The Stars. Punters backed Follow The Stars into $1:10 after a brilliant semi final win at Ballarat last Saturday. One punter dropped $50,000 on Follow The Stars at that money and he would have had few worries during the running. The Mark Purdon trained son of Art Major was at his brilliant best today at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Final for two-year-olds. Working straight to the lead despite an outside-front-row draw, Follow The Stars controlled the race like he has done nine times before (from 10 career starts -- and his only defeat came in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand when he got knocked over, so he arguably he should have a perfect record). Follow The Stars cruised home by 4.9 metres over stablemate Kept Under Wraps for Greg Sugars, while My Field Marshall, from the Tim Butt stables, made it a trifecta for the Kiwis. While the Kiwi trainers dominated the race, there was a strong Australian connection with the winner – with Lauriston Bloodstock having bred the winner. Follow The Stars recorded a winning mile rate of 1:56.7, finishing off with a smart 55.7secs for the last half-mile. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

Harness racing driver Mark Purdon has paid tribute to Brent Lilley after winning the Pegasus Spur @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Final with Our Twentyten. The Kiwi horseman, who has driven three Group 1 winners today at Tabcorp Park Melton, said Lilley had done a super job with Our Twentyten, who is by Muscles Yankee out of Regal Volo. “Credit to Brent,” he said. “He’s got him absolutely spot on for today and he’s done a fantastic job.” Our Twentyten started $1.70 favourite on the tote but had his work cut out for him rounding the home turn when pole marker and pacesetter Bad Habbott, who ran a mighty race, kicked clear. Purdon took Our Twentyten back behind the leader at the final bend before peeling out again and overpowering the Russell Commens trained son of Sundon in the last 150m. “He tested me on the corner and I dropped in but by the time we straightened up he felt good again,” said Purdon. Lilley said he was thrilled to notch the Group 1. “He’s done a super job since we’ve had him. I’m grateful to Mark for the opportunity,” he said. “He’ll go for a well-deserved spell now.” Asdenro ran third for Haydon Gray, while Master Hugh was fourth for Chris Svanosio. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Gun up-and-coming harness racing reinswoman Amanda Turnbull combined with New South Wales trainer Dennis Picker for Group 1 glory today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Turnbull steered the Picker trained filly Just Cala to victory in the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old fillies over the runner-up Barynya and third placegetter Quick Draft. Turning for home Just Cala eased off back of the two leaders, Nike Franco and Quick Draft which allowed Tasmanian Barynya access to the sprint lane. While at first glance punters may have thought it was the wrong move by Turnbull, the young gun driver’s decision paid off in spades as Just Cala thundered down the outside to edge out Barynya at the line. “In the run she was hanging a bit so I was a bit worried about her going into the sprint lane,” Turnbull said of her home-turn decision post-race. “She was travelling pretty good though and she really found the line.” Just Cala went a 1:58.6 mile rate and scored by 1.2 metres. Quick Draft battled on well for third after sitting parked. Nike Franco, which ran to the front early from a back-line draw for Luke McCarthy, got away with a cheap first half (63.6) but isn’t finishing her races off like we know she’s capable of. She ran fifth behind fourth-placed Tuscan Breeze. Picker said it was the biggest win of his career. “Definitely the biggest win I’ve ever had anything to do with,” he said. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Vince Vallelonga’s three-year-old Art Major gelding Major Crocker made it five wins in a row by taking out the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown Final for 3YO geldings today at Tabcorp Park Melton. In what became the race of the day, Greg Sugars took the in-form pacer to the lead early and held out a fierce challenge from Simone Walker on Hectorjayjay. Once Major Crocker had found the markers first he then had to fend off another challenge, this time from Nathan Hurst aboard Saloon Passage, which galloped at the start but quickly got going again. A quick lead  time of 43.8secs was followed a first quarter of 29.5 before the on-pace runners finally got some reprieve when Bling It On ran to the front and was followed into the race by his co-favourite Our Sky Major. A second quarter of 30.1secs was the calm before another storm as Bling It On took it up a notch down the back, ripping out a 27.2secs third quarter. Our Sky Major appeared to be travelling well coming to the turn while Sugars and Major Crocker were cruising up behind. In the straight Sugars took Major Cruiser up along the sprint lane and overpowered Bling It On stride by stride, eventually getting his head in front right on the line. Queenslander Alleluia ran on powerfully from the back of the field to finish third for Grant Dixon, while Our Sky Major battled on gamely for fourth. The mile rate was a slick 1:55.0. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness racing may not be as glamourous as the music industry but Katy Perry is a genuine star in both. Since touching down in Australia, the New Zealand bred filly Katy Perry hasn’t looked like losing and she continued to roar today in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final. The daughter of Bettors Delight out of the In The Pocket mare Karen Donna found the lead early after crossing Soho Tokyo, and in the finish proved too strong for Joanne’s A Delight by a head, with Cyclone Kate in third making it a New Zealand trifecta. Victorian Niki No No ran a huge race to finish fourth after working hard in the run. Trained by Cran Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn, Katy Perry churned out sectionals of 30.8secs, 29.7secs, 28.8secs and 28.5secs to hold off the late challengers, clocking a mile rate of 1:58.7. Katy Perry took out the Tatlow Stakes before landing successes in a Breeders Crown heat and semi-final before today. She has now won seven of her 10 races and could end up being more recognisable than her pop star namesake. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

New South Wales trained Marty Monkhouser has made it two straight wins with an all-the-way triumph in the Empire Stallions 4YO Breeders Crown colts and geldings’ final today at harness racing headquarters at Tabcorp Park Melton. Lauren Panella delivered the perfect drive aboard the Shane Tritton trained son of Village Jasper, whose second quarter of the last mile – 32.5 – had to have played an important role in the victory. Marty Monkhouser found the lead early from gate six despite there being plenty of talk about the front line’s gate speed pre-race, though she had to work for it. Race favourite Bit Of A Legend worked around the field to the breeze but did have to put in some hard yards out three-wide early. Turning for home the final time, Marty Monkhouser kept on kicking, holding off all challengers to score by 1.4m over Bit Of A Legend and Dexter Dunn, with Majestic Mach finishing third for Grant Dixon. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.6. It was an ultra-gutsy performance by Marty Monkhouser, who has now won 10 races from 35 starts. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

A month ago mighty mare Spidergirl made it a clean sweep of harness racings Vicbred Super Series with a brilliant win in the four-year-old trotting division. She’d won the Vicbred finals at age two and three but had come up short in the previous Breeders Crown finals. But today the daughter of Yankee Spider netted the Breeders Crown win that had so far eluded her, taking out the four-year-old trotters’ final. Trained by David Aiken – bringing up a race to race Group 1 double for the Avenel horseman – and driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, Spidergirl led easily in the 2240-metre race from pole before proving too tough for runner-up Glenferrie Typoon, who had a great trip leader’s back in the run, and tough trotter Blitzthemcalder, who sat parked. Paris Pepperell finished fourth. Spidergirl’s winning mile rate was 1:58.7 and the margins were 2m x 10m. “Getting to drive great horses like her makes it easy to get out of bed each morning,” winning driver Alford said post-race. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Eljaykay Phoenix completed the Vicbred Super Series/Breeders Crown harness racing double with a strong win in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ final today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite strong backing coming late for second favourite Shared Interest, which defeated Eljaykay Phoenix last time out, the David Aiken trained son of Sundon assumed the front early and never looked back. No one wanted to take on Eljaykay Phoenix mid race, allowing driver Josh Aiken to thoroughly control the pace. Shared Interest sat behind the leader, while the stablemate of the winner, Hadrians Phoenix, worked to the breeze. Late in the race Primz Luck and Illawong Armstrong made their moves out wide, but the pacemakers had had things too easy up front and they were always going to kick on. Eljaykay Phoenix scored by 3.5m over Shared Interest, who used the sprint lane late, while Kyvalley Boomerang ran third for Chris Lang. “It’s just great to see. It’s a great way to finish the season,” David Aiken said. The winner’s mile rate was 2:04.7 with a last half in 58.5 seconds. Aiken has the long odds-on favourite in the next race, the 4YO Breeders Crown Trot Final, Spidergirl. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing has a new star as the best two-year-old trotting filly in Australasia My Arya scored a dominant win in the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Melton today. The Mark Purdon trained and driven daughter of Angus Hall worked to the front early before getting headed by Meadow Valley Road and Chris Alford from gate 11. Purdon wasn’t having a bar of losing the lead though, the New Zealand superstar horseman yanking his star filly away from the pegs and cruising back to the front. From there she simply dictated the terms with sectionals of 32.5, 32.5, 29.1 and 29 to romp to a 16m victory over Meadow Valley Road, which ran a big race, and pole marker Glenferrie Burn. It could be a big day for Purdon, who also has Follow The Stars, Big Lucy and Our Twentyten all still to come in finals today. David Aiken trained the runner up, while Jodi Quinlan drove the third horse for Parwan trainer Geoff Walker. The winner paid $1.20 on the tote. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

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