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The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued against licensed trainer Alison Chisholm under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1), that states:  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Jimmy The Editor NZ’ after it won Race 10, the ‘tab.com.au Pace Final’, at Tabcorp Park Melton on 16 April 2016. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a level of 285 micrograms per litre (µg/L), which is above the allowable threshold (at the time) of 200 µg/L in urine.  The HRV RAD board considered statements of Investigative Steward Mr Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Mr Paul Zahra and Veterinary Pharmacologist Professor Paul Mills. Mrs Chisholm pleaded guilty to the charge, before the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on penalty from the HRV Stewards, Mrs Chisholm and Mrs Chisholm’s representatives, Kevin Chisholm and Dr Kip Gabriel. In determining penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mrs Chisholm’s 20-year involvement in the industry with an excellent offence record overall despite a single relevant prior prohibited substance offence; both specific and general deterrence; and consistency of penalty in relation to cobalt cases. In considering all of these circumstances the HRV RAD Board imposed a 12-month suspension of Mrs Chisholm’s trainers licence. The HRV RAD Board ordered the suspension to commence at midnight on Monday 29 May 2017. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Jimmy The Editor NZ’ be disqualified from Race 10 at Tabcorp Park Melton on 16 April 2016 and that the placings be amended accordingly. ................................................ The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences  

On 19 May 2017, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards commenced an investigation, which resulted in a stable inspection being conducted in the presence of licensed trainer Mr Andrew Jordan and owner Ms Gaita Pullicino at the relevant stable address.    During the stable inspection, despite being directed by Stewards to do so, Ms Pullicino failed to produce an item, which had been located by Stewards whilst conducting an inventory of equine medications stored in a shipping container located at the aforementioned property. Following this, Ms Pullicino then failed to comply with a clear direction provided by Stewards for her to remain on the property to enable Stewards to conduct further enquiries, rather she elected to be deliberately obstructive to the Stewards in the course of their duties, by concealing the aforementioned 'item' from Stewards and immediately vacating the property. During the stable inspection a number of interviews were conducted with both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan regarding, amongst other matters, the treatment regime of horses part owned and trained by Mr Jordan and also owned by Ms Pullicino. In considering the evidence provided by Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan during such interviews, the Stewards have serious concerns in relation to the compliance of both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR), particularly regarding the husbandry practices currently being undertaken. HRV Stewards have given consideration to the serious nature of the investigation and the evidence obtained during the stable inspection on 19 May 2017 and in accordance with AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k) have determined to bar from racing, all horses owned by Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino being trained from the relevant stable address until such time as urine and / or blood samples obtained from such horses are free of prohibited substances. On 22 May 2017, HRV Stewards re-attended the relevant stable address where Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan were informed of the decision of the HRV Stewards to invoke AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k). HRV Stewards conducted further interviews with Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino and samples from all relevant horses were obtained for further analysis. At the completion of this process, HRV Stewards will then consider the entirety of the evidence obtained during this investigation, including the relevant conduct of both Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino.   Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board yesterday heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 against licensed driver Mr Michael Honson.  These charges related to a stable inspection conducted by Stewards in Mildura on 4 August, 2016 where Mr Honson was present with licensed trainer Mr Matt Schembri. During the stable inspection Stewards spoke to Mr Honson and observed two horses tied to a vehicle within a close proximity of a horse float. These horses were identified as “King of Dreams” and “Bronze Destiny” who were engaged that evening to compete at the Mildura Harness Racing meeting. Stewards inspected the horse float and shed where they located equipment and ingredients that could be used to stomach tube a horse. When interviewed Mr Honson admitted to owning and being in possession of the equipment. Mr Honson pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges before submissions by legal counsel engaged on behalf of HRV Stewards and Mr Honson were heard. The HRV RAD Board considered Mr Honsons’ guilty plea and co-operation with Stewards throughout the investigation, his good offence history and his personal and financial situation and general and specific deterrence. The HRV RAD Board imposed the following penalty: AHRR 193 (1) -         Fined $3500.00 AHRR 192 (1) -         Fined $500.00 AHRR 194      -         Fined $500.00           The charges against licensed trainer Mr Schembri for AHRR 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 were withdrawn yesterday by Stewards before the HRV RAD Board.  VIC - RAD Board Hearing – Michael Honson 

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have today found licensed driver Simon Jardine guilty of breaching Australian Harness Racing Rule 248, which states: A person shall not say, publish or write or cause to be said, published or written anything malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper about the Controlling Body, its members and employees or the Stewards or anyone else associated with the harness racing industry. The charge related to a series of Facebook posts published by Mr Jardine on or about 5 May 2017 that in the opinion of the Stewards were improper and malicious towards Harness Racing Victoria and the Stewards. Mr Jardine was fined the sum of $500 of which, $250 is suspended for a period of 2 years on the condition that Mr Jardine does not commit a similar offence during this period. Stewards Inquiry – Simon Jardine

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing of trainer and driver Howard Taylor at the weekend. Howard featured on Len Baker’s Harness Review program on January 23. Click here to listen to that program (the interview begins 52mins 59secs in). Howard was renowned for driving winners at many tracks across Australia, mentioning in his January interview on radio that he drove winners “at 84 different tracks around Australia”. Today Howard prepared trotting mare Celtic Rose to run in Race 3 at Tabcorp Park Melton and the horse will race under his name for driver Josh Duggan. HRV will advise funeral details of Howard when they come to hand and extends condolences to friends and family. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria was saddened to learn the passing of Denise Demmler last Saturday evening. Denise was the former wife of World Driving Champion Ted Demmler amid the halcyon days of their Carrum Downs stable from which several premierships were won.  During this era, they became the proud parents of both Craig Demmler and his older sister Tracey, also a successful driver in her own right during the 1990s. Denise had battled ill health for the past few years and our deepest condolences go to her extended family and friends at this sad time. Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria Own the Moment website currently has five horses being advertised to potential racehorse owners. The Own the Moment website is an online space to promote ownership to people wanting to get involved in the exciting world of trots ownership, and also, importantly, is a site for trots trainers to advertise legal syndication opportunities and to promote their business at no cost. Terang’s Matthew Craven is the first trainer to take advantage of this service offered by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), syndicating a Rock N Roll Heaven/Localize yearling colt via the Available Horses page, as well as an Art Major/Soaring Franco yearling colt. Additionally, horses are available to be raced with Long Forrest trainer Andy Gath (a Bettors Delight/Shes Artistic yearling colt), Avenel’s Josh Aiken (a Western Ideal/Christa yearling colt) and Cranbourne’s Mick Hughes (a Lucky Chucky/Karamboo yearling trotting filly) all with the Raceapacer syndicate. “I encourage trainers to take advantage of this free service to enhance their business and attract vital new owners to our industry,” HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister said. “We will actively promote this service through social, digital and traditional media marketing. And importantly if trainers work with us to develop these syndication opportunities they can rest assured that they are not breaching any Victorian syndication laws.” Full product disclosure statements (PDS) can be viewed by clicking through to the Own the Moment website. Click here to view the Available Horses section Trainers wishing to get involved in syndicating a horse can contact HRV’s Tori Glenister on 03 9214 0699 or email tglenister@hrv.org.au Owners who want information on how to get involved in trots ownership can visit trotsownthemoment.com.au or contact Tori. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Another fresh face will be a regular at Victorian tracks after Montana McStay was installed as Harness Racing Victoria’s second participant intern. Coming after 2016 intern Michelle Phillips blazed a trail through the industry’s leading stables to hold the reins of some of the sport’s finest, McStay has begun a lengthy stint with Kerryn Manning’s Great Western stable. HRV people and culture manager Isabella Galati said the program provided a pathway into the trots. “There are many challenges for new entrants to the trots industry, including the need to obtain practical experience and build industry networks at the beginning of a career,” Ms Galati said. “Attracting new trainers and drivers to the industry and ensuring these individuals are well trained, capable professionals is vital to ensure a sustainable industry for future generations. New entrants to the industry are the trots ambassadors of tomorrow.” McStay advanced from Gippsland Harness Training Centre courses to be chosen for the opportunity, and centre manager Jenni Lewis said the 19-year-old had quickly found her feet. “Montana came through the VET in Schools program, having had no idea about the trots previously,” Ms Lewis said. “Her maturity has shone out as has her ability to work with young horses. She’s proven that she can show initiative and has great caring qualities.” McStay said she was introduced to standardbred horses through family, and when a window opened to make a career of the sport she drove in. “My Aunty, Angela Ward, raced a couple of trotters and pacers in New South Wales when I was younger and she would try to get me into standardbreds,” she said. “I would help out, but didn’t have a lot more to do with them until I came down to the college. Then I discovered the course was hands-on and not just bookwork. You get to experience the practical side of it.” And, now that the course has evolved into an internship, McStay can’t wait to delve into the industry’s many sectors. “I will get to experience a lot of the industry and see how various trainers work, you get to see what it all works towards,” she said. “I reckon it’s going to be a great opportunity. I just love working with horses and getting to see all the different techniques that go into getting a horse to perform to its ability will be terrific.” Ms Lewis said she would be a great asset. “She’s got the love and passion for it,” she said. “She went from never driving a horse in her life to, at the end of last year, passing her trial driver’s assessment. So she can pursue that career path, but she is more likely moving towards the training side of the sport.” Michael Howard   The following was written by Montata McStay during her time at HRV headquarters, part of her internship: After one drive of jog work in a single-seater sulky I knew that I had to see all that was on offer in the trots. My name is Montana, I’m 19 and studying Certificate IV (Racehorse Trainer) at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre in Warragul, and I am the second Harness Racing Victoria intern. I grew up with a passion for horses and always found myself wanting to pursue a career doing what I love. I was around many people that didn’t enjoy their jobs and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t going to be me further down the track. My aunty was involved with the trots in NSW at her uncle’s stud, where she was always trying to get me into the sport. For a few years I worked at an equestrian centre close by and, although I loved it, I couldn’t see myself doing it in the future. It was in year 11 that I decided to see what was on offer at the harness centre. During school on Wednesdays I would travel to Warragul and spend the day at TAFE. I came into this course not knowing anything about the trots, just holding basic horse skills. The course was great because we were more hands on than I’d expected. Horses would be worked first thing in the morning and from that I learnt how to gear a horse for jog work, put a cart on and then drive the horse while in the double-seater sulky. After one drive doing jog work I switched to a single sulky and from that moment I knew I wanted more. When I finished high school I decided to do full-time studies at the training centre. I had only enrolled in a small amount of work from Certificate IV (Racehorse Trainer) as I was heading to South Australia to volunteer in a remote Aboriginal community for 10 weeks, where I had no access to internet, no phone reception and relied on books taken with me to gather information to complete the set work. During 2016 I heightened my knowledge, learning more about the different training methods for each horse. I visited Rhiannon Park in Congupna, which is owned by respected breeders Dean and Blanche Poole. I was lucky to witness the birth of a healthy foal, learn the artificial insemination process, identify the difference through ultrasound for when a mare was ready to breed and what needed to be done when the foal was born. From my first day in at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre in 2014 I have developed so many skills that will stay with me forever, met so many incredible people along the way, passed my trials assessment in November 2016 and, most of all, worked with amazing horses who helped me get to where I am today. I wanted to explore my options this year, one of which was Harness Racing Victoria’s internship. I successfully applied and hope to travel to different stables, attend some of the trots big events and gain insight into the hard work and dedication from all levels of the industry.

On 7, 8 and 9 February 2017, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr Daniel Neagoe in regard to the decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board of 22 July 2016 to impose a six-month disqualification upon Mr Neagoe for a breach of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1). The VCAT simultaneously heard the review of registered owner Sloys Company Pty Ltd regarding the disqualification of ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from Race 5 at Tabcorp Park Melton on 30 August 2015. The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 22 July 2016 can be viewed here. Background In December 2015, HRV Stewards issued a charge against licensed trainer Daniel Neagoe alleging a breach of AHRR 190(1), being that he presented the horse ‘Hot Shot Woman’ to race in the ‘Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Series 18 (2YO Fillies) Final (Group 1)’ at Tabcorp Park Melton on 30 August 2015 when not free of the prohibited substances amphetamine, hydroxyamphetamine, methamphetamine and hydroxymethamphetamine.   Following a HRV RAD Board hearing conducted on 27 May 2016 and subsequent penalty hearing on 22 July 2016, the HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification on Mr Neagoe for a period of six months with immediate effect, and acting under AHRR 195 also disqualified ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from the relevant race. VCAT Hearing In August 2016, Mr Neagoe made application to the VCAT for a review of the HRV RAD Board decision to impose a disqualification. Mr Neagoe did not apply for a stay of proceedings and as such served out this particular period of disqualification prior to the hearing. Sloys Company Pty Ltd, the registered owner of ‘Hot Shot Woman’ at the relevant time, also applied to the VCAT for a review of the decision to disqualify ‘Hot Shot Woman’ from Race 5 at Melton on 30 August 2015. On 7, 8 and 9 February 2017, both applications were heard by VCAT Senior Member Gerard Butcher. VCAT Decision On 2 May 2017, Senior Member Butcher released his decision in relation to the review applications. The VCAT decision can be found here. In affirming the decision of the HRV RAD Board to impose a disqualification on trainer Daniel Neagoe for presenting ‘Hot Shot Woman’ to race not free of prohibited substances, Senior Member Butcher said that a breach of this rule ‘has consistently been found to be one of absolute liability’ and saw no reason to diverge from that approach. Senior Member Butcher also highlighted the mandatory provision of AHRR 195 which requires that ‘Hot Shot Woman’ be disqualified from the relevant race following a finding that the horse was presented to race not free of prohibited substances. As such the decision to disqualify ‘Hot Shot Woman’ was also affirmed. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced Acting Legal Counsel John Briffa and Acting General Manager – Commercial Ryan Stanaway have been appointed to their positions permanently. Stanaway, who has been in the GM Commercial role since November last year, has an extensive industry background in the wagering and racing space. Briffa has been in the General Counsel role since November last year has been influencing a range of matters at HRV, including club governance. “Ryan and John are important members of the HRV team and I am looking forward to continuing to work with both of them as we guide the industry into the future,” HRV CEO David Martin said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February.  The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.”  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board has announced all Group 2 and 3 Victorian country pacing cup races will be run as preferential barrier draw (PBD) events in season 2017-18. Wagering analysis of the 2016-17 country cups circuit revealed a 3.9% increase in wagering on pacing cups compared to the season prior. This increase came despite a 24.7% YoY decline in wagering for the Shepparton Cup, which transitioned from a standing start handicapped event to a non-handicapped random barrier draw (RBD) race. Hectorjayjay started a $1.20 favourite for the Shepparton Cup. In October 2016, the HRV Board agreed to discontinue standing starts in pacing races for a six-month trial period. Analysis of wagering data indicates a widening gap between mobile starts and standing starts, with mobiles now generating 30% more wagering per race compared to a standing start. That gap expands when comparing standing starts to mobile starts for two-year-old races and lower class $3500 races. Based on this analysis, the HRV Board made the decision to keep all country cup pacing races as mobile start events but with PBD handicapping applied to all Group 2 and 3 races. This is to reduce short-priced favourites and maximise revenue returns to the industry. Speaking on RSN’s Gait Speed this week, HRV CEO David Martin said: In regards to country pacing cups, “There’s been quite a degree of debate between standing starts versus mobiles and really what it comes down to is you’re moving from a handicapping system to a non-handicapping system. I think with the introduction of preferential barrier draws across all Group 3 and Group 2 cups we reintroduce a handicapping system in a different form.” Click here to listen to HRV CEO David Martin’s extended interview on RSN’s Gait Speed Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr Boris Devcic.  ARHR 190(1) reads as follows:     A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Devcic related to a post-race urine sample taken from the horse ‘Noble Julius’ after it won Race 7, the ‘Weightman’s Packing & Stationary Pace’, at Mildura on 23 November 2016.  Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain the prohibited substance caffeine.  The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. Mr Devcic pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Devcic. Further evidence was also heard from RASL Scientific Manager Mr Paul Zahra.  In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Devcic’s guilty plea and co-operation throughout the investigation, Mr Devcic’s record in regard to prohibited substance matters where a previous offence was some 17 years prior, both general and specific deterrence, consistency of penalty and the absolute liability nature of the offence. Mr Devcic was subsequently fined $6000. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Noble Julius’ be disqualified from Race 7 at Mildura on 23 November 2016, under ARHR 195, and that the finishing places be amended accordingly. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have completed an inquiry into the whip use of George Schembri, when the driver of Surf On By, during the preliminary of Race 3 at the Kilmore meeting conducted on Friday, 24 March 2017. The inquiry was initially adjourned to allow Stewards the opportunity to source further footage and information regarding this incident.  Veterinary examinations conducted on Surf On By approximately thirty (30) and sixty (60) minute post-race did not reveal any significant findings. After hearing further evidence from Mr Schembri at today’s reconvened inquiry HRV Stewards issued two (2) charges against Mr Schembri under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). Charge one (1) was issued under the provisions of AHRR 168(1)(e) which states: A person shall not before, during or after a race drive in a manner which is in the opinion of the Stewards:-                                    (e)  improper The particulars of the charge being that during the preliminary Mr Schembri drove in an improper manner by raising his whip hand above head height and using the whip with severe force on 5 occasions. Charge two (2) was issued under the provisions of AHRR 156(2) which states: (2)  A driver shall hold a rein in each hand at all times unless he or she is adjusting approved gear. The particulars of the charge being that during the preliminary Mr Schembri used the whip on 5 occasions free of the rein when not adjusting approved gear. Mr Schembri pleaded guilty to both charges. In assessing penalty Stewards were mindful of: Mr Schembri’s guilty plea; Mr Schembri’s prior offence record; Mr Schembri’s personal circumstances; The nature of this incident, which is clearly in contrast to industry standards; The incident was visible to those persons on-course and also captured by the Sky Racing International coverage. The following penalties were subsequently imposed: Charge one (1) – Three (3) month suspension of Mr Schembri’s licence to drive in races and a $1,000 fine. Charge two (2) - $500 fine. In total a three (3) month suspension of Mr Schembri’s licence to drive in races was imposed, along with fines totaling $1,500. This suspension was ordered to commence midnight 17 April 2017. Harness Racing Victoria

With respect to the criminal investigation conducted by Victoria Police, which resulted on 11 January, 2017 in criminal charges being served on harness racing participants Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: These criminal charges have been adjourned to Shepparton Magistrates Court for a further mention hearing on 19 October, 2017.   This matter has also been booked in for a contested hearing commencing 27 November, 2017. HRV is unable to make any further comment in relation to the Victoria Police investigation.  Harness Racing Victoria

In late 2016, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board engaged an external consultant to identify opportunities for efficiency improvement and to create new revenue streams.  Following on from that and his own appointment in January 2017, HRV CEO David Martin has continued to consult the industry in order to establish its strategic direction through the challenges faced.  One of those challenges is HRV’s increasing costs and declining revenues, which are impacting profitability and HRV’s ability to fulfil its role in the industry.  Therefore, HRV recently made changes to reduce operational costs and align the organisation’s resources with the key strategic themes. “As the governing body, it is vital that HRV has a sustainable financial model by which it operates.  HRV lost money in 2015/16 and will do so again this year, so the Board and I needed to make some difficult decisions.  We are very mindful of the impact of these changes on individuals and have offered support wherever possible,” Mr Martin said. Going forward, HRV will focus on a combination of ‘functional strategies’ such as Marketing & Wagering, Finance, People, Racing, Legal and Integrity, and concurrently work with the industry on ‘Stakeholder Strategies’ for each of Owners, Breeders, Trainers & Drivers, Clubs, Punters and Government & Public.  In all areas, decisions need to be based on putting the industry first. Mr Martin advised that: “The intent is for the two sets of functional and stakeholder strategies to be integrated, jointly owned and reviewed as implementation occurs.  Within this framework we have identified four key strategies that are vital for improving the future of our industry, namely Racing Product, Race Programming, Major Sponsorships and the Melton Masterplan.  We have already seen an uplift in field sizes and races per meeting as a result of changes to race programming and handicapping.  We have a long journey ahead to build the industry we all want, so it is important that we work together through difficult times to overcome the external challenges the industry faces.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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