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Plenty of talent will pass through Jodi Quinlan’s hands at Ballarat tonight, as the champion reinswoman continues to flourish amid challenging times. For Quinlan, the covid-19 restrictions have come with their own silver lining as greater opportunities have presented under region-based racing, first in the Inner West region and now West. Major Times, Mirragon, Error and Rocknroll Ronnie are but a few of the talented types Quinlan has piloted to victories since April 2, but she has begun to pull the reins on her hectic workflow as her body still battles the fall-out of being kicked by a horse on Christmas Eve in 2018. “I started off fairly slowly,” Quinlan said of her return to racing in November after almost 12 months out recovering from a lacerated kidney and spine fractures. “I was only driving a couple of horses and at a couple of meetings, but covid threw me into the deep and I was driving way more than I expected. It probably did get a little too much for the body – the doctor still hasn’t cleared me to go full-time.” Some 111 of Quinlan’s 197 drives this season have come since region-based racing started a shade over 10 weeks ago, in which time she has produced 21 of her season’s 29 winners. “It has really tested me regional racing, I started driving three times a week and it’s a little too much,” she said. “You have to make hay while the sun shines, but I have started to take a step back. “I have post-concussion syndrome and a bit of pain in the back. I have struggled getting into the American karts and at home have to have a sulky that’s been modified for me. I went to a specialist three weeks ago and they said it could be two years to get back to where I was, but I could never get back there too.” Having said that, the trainer-driver is merely treading warily as opposed to relinquishing the reins, as evidenced by tonight’s attack on Bray Raceway. She has trained three and will drive four starters tonight, her numbers slightly reduced after Illawong Barmah was scratched from the Elements Mind & Body 2YO Trotters Handicap. “He was not 100 per cent so I have pulled him out and he’ll go to the paddock,” Quinlan said of the Muscle Mass gelding, who had won his last two starts. She had been eying Maryborough’s Redwood Classic, but that’s since been delayed until November 1 and so he’ll be freshened for that 2YO trot and the Vicbred Super Series to follow in December. Asked if she sees him as a contender for the forthcoming Group 1s, Quinlan responded “I do, definitely”. “I always thought he was the better of the two, Craig has a different opinion.” The other half of the two is Illawong Moonbeam, who with Illawong Barmah’s scratching will be the stable’s only representative in tonight’s fourth race, which streams on Trots Vision at 6.32pm. Illawong Moonbeam, a Love You filly, will be first up from a spell tonight, with Quinlan taking the reins. “She’s a funny horse Moonbeam. She’s not as mannered as (Illawong Barmah), she doesn’t give you a hell of a lot at home, but when you take her away she takes the next step,” Quinlan said. “Her last win at Kilmore surprised me, she showed good bottom and is more of a dour horse than a speed horse. Being first up tomorrow I would like to think that she can win. Whatever she does she will improve on, hopefully her ability carries her a fair way.” Four of Quinlan’s five involvements tonight are for Martin and Kaye Hartnett’s Illawong clan, with Quinlan to also steer Illawong Kismet in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (7pm) and stable star Illawong Stardust in the Ballarat Tree Works Trotters Handicap (8.42pm). “(Illawong Kismet’s) last run was terrific. I had a little trouble getting her going (this campaign), but her last run hopefully showed she is back on track, because last season she was competing against the better ones.” Priced as a $12 chance by Craig Rail, with Emma Stewart’s American Alli dominant in the market, Quinlan said it looked “good" value. “She probably can’t beat Emma’s but she can probably run a place,” Quinlan offered. Illawong Stardust on the other hand may well start in the red with, with the prodigiously talented Muscle Hill filly out of mare Lunar Landing showing similar characteristics her half-brother, Quinlan’s enigmatic trotter Illawong Armstrong ($230,652, pictured above). “She is probably the best horse I train. She is a very good horse, her manners let her down, but she is getting better. “She gives me a lot of headaches, but when she does it right she is pretty good. Obviously her mother was a bit hot-headed, because they all have their quirks but they also go good.” Tonight’s the first time Quinlan will drive her from a standing start, a race type she hasn’t contested since her second career start and fingers will be crossed, with the three-year-old “taking a little bit to get into rhythm”. TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Ballarat, R4 N3, Euryphaessa May 8: The pleasing part about the performance of EURYPHAESSA was she concentrated throughout the entire trip after having several indiscretions when being a long way in front over the past few weeks. REPORT May 1: Is an extremely talented filly but she has done a bit wrong at her past two trial attempts. She wanted to pull up and head back to the stables turning out of the front straight when a long way clear. She may concentrate better when there are horses around her. At her past two trials she has stepped quickly and established a big lead before making errors mid-race. REPORT & REPLAY February 14: Jumped in front but galloped one hundred metres after the start and lost approximately 40m. She did a lot of chasing and finished a game third. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard  

Despite still suffering from injuries received in a freak accident nearly 12 months ago, there's absolutely no stopping champion Victorian harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. The Parwan-based horsewoman showed her brilliance with a well-timed run to storm home and claim the 2019 Group Two $60,000 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup on Saturday night-her fourth victory in the prestigious event. Quinlan was driving six-year-old Emma Stewart-trained Phoenix Prince (Somebeachsomewhere-Classic Cathy (Classic Garry) for the first time but overhauled some of the gelding's more fancied stablemates in the run to the wire. "He didn't handle some of the corners all that well. He sort of rolled about a bit, but I made sure he was balanced up when we went into the final corner," Quinlan said. "Gee he sprinted hard over the final stages when he hit top gear. It probably wasn't a complete surprise because he was always travelling well." Phoenix Prince won by nearly three metres from Tam Major and Code Black. Then followed Hurricane Harley and Maraetai - unbelievably that gave Ballarat trainer Emma Stewart all of the first top five placings. Quinlan was sidelined up until a month ago after being kicked by a horse that took fright in the float parking area at Tabcorp Park Melton last Christmas Eve. She suffered three fractures to her spine, a lacerated kidney, muscle damage on her left-hand side and other injuries. After extensive rehabilitation, Quinlan said she was still finding it harder to do things that she once took for granted. "I'm still building up my muscle strength as well as my overall fitness. I sometimes wonder if I'm improving, but my doctors think I'm going great so that's the main thing," she said. Quinlan said with her partner Craig Demmler away in New Zealand competing in the Inter Dominion series with My Kiwi Mate, the workload at the stables had increased. Jodi Quinlan "There's now a few more horses to do, so my longtime foreman David Punch has been very busy and we also have another worker who comes in to help out," she said. Quinlan has previously won the Cranbourne Cup with Our Millers Road, The Warp Drive and Sting Lika Bee. "I actually had my first-ever trials drive on the Cranbourne track. I grew up at Drouin so I guess I classified Cranbourne and Warragul as my 'home' tracks," she said. "My parents were into the gallopers. Dad died when I was only very young, and mum kept going with them for a while." Quinlan's interest in harness racing stems from two uncles in Gary Quinlan and Geoff Walker, both competent and successful horsemen. "I'm not pushing myself and doing all that much driving. I have now landed two winners on my return so I'm pretty excited with that. To be honest I'm just happy poking along the way I'm going," she said. "But in saying that it was nice to pick up the drive on Phoenix Prince for Emma. I haven't driven for her for a while. Probably the previous time was several years ago." Quinlan is now hoping the success rolls on to next Saturday night when My Kiwi Mate, who has drawn the pole for Demmler in the $500,000 Inter Dominion Final. "Craig's desperate to have me over there. He reckons some of my luck might help him out big time. I'm still thinking about it, but there's so much work to be done at home. We'll see when the time gets closer!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

One of our country's greatest harness racing horsewomen Jodi Quinlan is back on the track doing what she loves - albeit with due care and caution. Quinlan is based at Parwan, near Bacchus Marsh, with her partner Craig Demmler and returned to race driving recently after being sidelined by injury for nearly 11 months. "I really wasn't nervous at all. I thought I may have been, but I guess it's just like getting back on a bike," Quinlan said. "But I can say that I've lost some of my strength and fitness and that was a bit surprising. So I'm going to have to work on that!" she said. "I've still got on-going physio and osteotherapy once a week. But I'm using muscles now that I haven't used for 11 months so it will take time to build those up again." Quinlan suffered severe injuries when she was kicked by a horse that took fright in the float parking area at Tabcorp Park Melton last Christmas Eve. She received a lacerated kidney and three fractures to her spine along with muscle damage on her left-hand side. "It has certainly been a long road back with the rehabilitation. There's also been a fair amount of frustration along the way, but I've learnt that I just have to preserve myself through proper management," she said. "As part of my rehabilitation and to work towards getting back to the races, I've been driving some horses at home. It's only been a few here and there, probably more like when I feel up to it!" Quinlan had her first drive back at Melton 10 days ago in the Allied Express Sokyola Sprint finishing 7th on 7/1 chance My Kiwi Mate, prepared by Demmler. But a comeback win appears not far away with a third at Yarra Valley with Hezatoff before Quinlan finished second on Illawong Armstrong at Melton on Saturday night. Quinlan said she was training a team of 26 prior to being injured. "Craig had his own team up and going and then found himself filling the gap with about six of mine being lobbed onto him," she said. "I really felt for him because it's hard work. There was also a number of babies that were having their early preparations. "If I decide down the track to increase the stable numbers, I'll have to put on other staff that's for sure." Quinlan said she hadn't really thought much about returning to race driving while recovering. "I probably wasn't brave enough to look that far ahead - anyway it was up to the doctors to make the call. When I got through the period when pain was a big issue, I didn't know if I wanted to drive, but some of my owners sort of inspired me," she said. "Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, who have been fantastic over the past five or six years, kept encouraging me. All my owners have been supportive. It was then I started pushing myself. "Martin's own health has been up and down a bit. So I thought okay let's do this and get back at the track and drive their team of trotters." The energetic horsewoman makes no secret she has high hopes for the Hartnett's three year old Illawong Stardust who will be set for the rich Vicbred and Breeders series as well as the Oaks. The Quinlan-Hartnett combination has tasted Group one success in the past with talented Illawong Armstrong and Illawong Byron. "Firstly, I'm happy just to be back, and secondly I'm happy to stick with the square gaiters at the races," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A much needed sprinkle of Stardust could be just what the doctor ordered for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, whose long road back from injury could be met with a timely pick-me-up. Illawong Stardust, the half-sister to Quinlan’s prodigiously talented but trying trotter Illawong Armstrong, produced an eye-catching 17-metre victory in today’s Tabcorp Park Melton trials, reaffirming the filly’s talent that it’s hoped will soon translate to the race track. “She seems to be pretty faultless, but she has to prove it on race day,” Quinlan said of Illawong Stardust, who has broken at both her starts, belying the good temperament she has shown at home to Quinlan and partner Craig Demmler. “Craig did all the work early days because I was hurt and liked her from day dot,” Quinlan said. “Being from that family, they all seem to do things wrong. At home she seems fairly faultless but at the track she has galloped both times.” She hasn’t raced since her April 3 sixth placing after a paddock fall led to a cut knee “and so we had to back off her”. Today’s Tabcorp Park trial of seven two-year-old trotters marked her track return and she couldn’t have been more impressive in cruising to the lead and dictating throughout, crossing the line 17 metres ahead of Brent Lilley’s Magical. The latter has had two starts, breaking on debut and then running second in her second start on April 3, the same race Illawong Stardust started favourite and broke. “For her trial she was only about 75 per cent but she went quite well,” Quinlan said. “She’s probably not trotting 100 per cent, but she is pretty good. Ability wise her performance (in the trial) didn’t surprise. If she has half the ability of her brother and more brains it will take her a long way.” If she pulls up well Quinlan will direct her to the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for two-year-old trotting fillies at Maryborough next Thursday (May 9), which feeds into a $50,000 final at Melton on May 18. Strong performances would be a timely fillip for Quinlan, who’s still on the comeback trail from a horrific injury suffered when she was kicked in the side by a horse on Christmas Eve. Quinlan was left with a lacerated kidney, spine fractures and a long road to recovery. “I’ve been back to the doctor’s yesterday and am into hospital for a day on the 9th of May with a few pain-related issues,” she said. “I’m at the four months mark, I was hoping to be back, but because my internal organs have had so much trauma they are relating to me as a car crash victim. They’ve just said I’ve got to be patient. “I’m quite stiff and scratchy from the spinal challenges, but am getting around a hell of a lot better than what I was.” She has purposefully scaled back her operation from 23 horses to 10 and praised her owners, “who have all been so supportive. I’ve been very lucky”. And she has left the door open to returning to the sulky, driven mostly by the want to again guide her trotters to glory. “I like to think someday I will (drive again), especially to drive my trotters. At some stage I’d like to, but I’ve got to look at the big picture.” In the meantime she will continue to ride the bumps from the sidelines with owner Dr Martin Hartnett as both Illawong Stardust and her big troublesome brother Illawong Armstrong try to transform their potential into prize winnings. Quinlan said Illawong Armstrong, who hasn’t raced since December 29, would trial next week ahead of what looms as the seven-year-old’s final campaign. “It will be his last hurrah,” she said. “He’s getting to the end of his tether, but he is up and going and his next month will tell me what he has left. He has had fantastic ability, but not the brain span unfortunately.”   Michael Howard  for Trots Media

Star Victorian harness racing reinswoman and trainer Jodi Quinlan is learning to be patient, as she continues on the road to recovery from a freak accident at Tabcorp Park Melton on Christmas Eve. Quinlan, based at Parwan with partner Craig Demmler, was kicked in the side by a horse that took fright in the float parking area. She suffered a lacerated kidney and three fractures to her spine, as well as other minor injuries. “I thought I was doing just fine a while ago, so I got out there and helped with the feeds, then spent the next two days recovering in bed as a result,” Quinlan said. “It just gets so frustrating at times, but I’m fully aware now that you can’t rush rehabilitation! “Probably the most important thing is the doctors are happy with my progress.” Quinlan said there was a great deal of scarring on her kidney which was “split” by the impact. “That was the part that really scared the hell out of me and also caused substantial bleeding,” she said. “The concern now is that if I happened to get a knock to the back or kidney, I’d be in big trouble. So that means nothing to do with horses at all at the moment.” On a positive note, Quinlan said her doctors were surprised with how quickly her injuries were healing. “I spent time in hospital recently where I had numerous tests and x-rays and they were thrilled with my recovery, especially the bad breaks in my back,” she said. “The pain has improved heaps and I can slowly walk again – I love it that I can get up and just potter around.” Quinlan said during the first few weeks of being home and under strict orders to rest she had an electric wheel chair to get about the property. “I’ve been a bit of a handful for Craig and my mum (Cheryl), but without their care I probably wouldn’t be progressing much at all,” she said. “Mum has had to be stern a few times and put the handbrake on with me.” Quinlan said she had received overwhelming support from family, friends, industry participants and others. “I was only speaking with (Ballarat trainer) Anton Golino recently and he stressed the importance of listening to the medical experts. Anton hurt his back very badly and knows first-hand all about rehab,” she said. Although Quinlan is going through a tough patch, she’s certainly experienced some of the sport’s highs, with more than 2300 winners in a sparkling career over 28 years, including the 2004 Miracle Mile on Sokyola. Jodi Quinlan driving Sokyola to victory She’s obviously anxious to get back to helping around the stables and, ultimately, back to training, but said it was up to the doctors to make that call. “I feel for Craig because I had over 20 in work when I got hurt, and he got lobbed with all of those on top of his own team,” she said. “To be honest I haven’t thought much about when I might be okay to get back race driving.  I haven’t ventured that far ahead, but I do know that it’s a fair way off. “I’m not that stressed.  I was finding it harder to get in the car and hit the road to drive to meetings anyway. “I really believe that traveling for drives is behind me now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but I think I’ll be sticking to meetings close to home. “It’s thankfully only the first time I’ve been badly hurt off the racetrack, although I’ve been smashed up plenty of times in races.” Quinlan said her talented trotter Illawong Armstrong, who went to the spelling paddock virtually “the same time I did when I got hurt”, was back in training. “I’m looking forward to seeing him back after a well-earned rest. He’s such a talented horse, who could be anything if he wasn’t so rattle-headed!” Illawong Armstrong has won 18 races from 67 starts for over $214,000 in stakes. “It could well be much more if he just behaved,” Jodi said. “His owners Dr Martin Hartnett and wife Kaye are lovely people and they enjoy seeing him go around. “They are such fantastic stable clients and Martin has been terrific if ever I want to know something about my health problems.” And while Quinlan, like most in the industry, is hoping there’s another good one just around the corner, she joked her next big decision was when to go on holidays to New Zealand. “Natalie Rasmussen is a good friend and she’s been at me to take a break over there.  I reckon it sounds just about ideal for the next step in my rehab!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

An incredible $12,000 was raised at Ballarat and District Trotting Club last night when it hosted its annual Girls Night Out fundraiser. The event has long raised much-needed funds for charity groups that either support or raise funds to fight breast cancer and this year’s supported the Love Your Sister Charity founded by Gold Logie winning actor Samuel Johnson and his beloved late sister Connie. Samuel made a special trip to be on-course on the night, which added a personal touch to an already popular evening. Once the details of the event were released the 380 available dining packages were sold within weeks. The night was a huge success with the $12,000 raised on-course on the night through raffles, sponsorship of races, live auctions in addition to the trotting club donating $10 from every dining package to the cause. Club spokeswoman Belinda Eden said the support of local businesses and the response from the community was a key reason the night was such as success. "The local businesses that either donated prizes or gave up their time to offer their services on the night was such a big reason this fundraiser was such a success and puts into perspective on why clubs play such an important role in our community," she said. Samuel played a key part in the night, entertaining the sold out event with stories, book signings and photos. His energy and passion for the cause was infectious. He also tried his hand at harness racing, participating in the HRV pony trot challenge where he raced against leading reinswomen Kerryn Manning, Kate Gath and Jodi Quinlan, who are also Team Teal ambassadors, the Harness Racing Victoria fundraiser for Women’s Cancer Foundation.   The Trots Victoria

The count towards harness racing reinswoman Jodi Quinlan's mighty milestone - 2000 winning drives - initiated more than two decades ago with a swoop down the straight on the first day of winter. It was June 1, 1992, when trainer Gary Quinlan’s six-year-old gelding by Windshield Wiper led a concession driver on to Cranbourne’s course to tackle the Sky Channel Stakes. Zephyr Lad had placed only once in his last eight starts and was a 20/1 pop, having drawn the outside of the front row, with the 2/1 favourite Five Ply, trained and driven by trots legend Ted Demmler, among those on his inside. For some it was just another manic Monday, for Zephyr Lad’s 17-year-old reinswoman it was a nerve-racking opportunity. “I used to get terribly nervous when I first started,” Jodi Quinlan said. “The first winner was very nerve-racking. I think I was sitting in the one-one and just happened to get out around the turn at Cranbourne and sprint home. It was a really close finish.” A short-half-head separated Zephyr Lad from Lord Of Rohan, but it was enough for Quinlan to break her duck in just her fifth start. “I was that nervous, it was all a bit overwhelming at the time.” It was the only victory Zephyr Lad would produce in his last  23 starts, despite also passing through the hands of renowned drivers Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Brian Gath, Ross Sugars and Matthew Harding. Also notably, Zephyr Lad was not only trained by Quinlan’s uncle Gary but part-owned by her grandfather Alby, an insight into the outstanding family support that gave her an initial leg up. “Mum and dad had gallopers and I lost my father just before I turned 15 and went into trotters because that was what was available to me,” Quinlan said. “My uncle Geoff Walker took me under his wing early on and carted me all over the country side to drive Highland Bomber. “Geoff was the one who was prepared to put me on early doors. He was a very good horseman, really good at breaking them in. He was the one who stuck up for me early on.” And Quinlan is also quick to credit uncle Gary, who gave her opportunities on key drives, exposure that would fast-track her career. That included Our Millers Road, who Quinlan said “really ran for me”. “(Our Millers Road) was the first one who got me out there at the Valley. My two uncles and mum have been the backbone of where I got too today,” she said. “I obtained a lot of outside drives from (Our Millers Road) and that helped me outdrive my claim. As much as Geoff started me off and got me going, my time as the stable driver for Gary for many years gave me that next step and led to me moving to Melton and starting out on my own.” Quinlan’s opportunities enjoyed a steady incline, peaking in 2002-03 when she would drive 990 starters for 162 winners and 258 placegetters. Her greatest win would come in the following November when she piloted Sokyola to the $550,000 SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile for trainer Lance Justice.  “I look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Quinlan said. “(Owner) Colin Croft was the reason I drove Sokyola, he promised one day that he would put me on a good horse and it just happened to be Sokyola. You have to pinch yourself even now to think that I’ve won a Miracle Mile.” They are now milestones amid a milestone, having carried Quinlan to 2000 wins last Wednesday when steering her three-year-old colt, Somebeachshadow, to victory by a head at Kilmore. It was a formidable achievement some 25 seasons in the making. “Im proud of the achievement that I’ve been able to do that,” Quinlan said. “I’m very lucky to have had so much support. I’m the one who gets all the accolades and the one who drives them, but it has taken a lot of dirt and tears to get to this stage and you need the support of a lot of people in the industry.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

HOW fast can our two-year-olds go? The mind boggles after watching Shane Tritton’s latest buzz juvenile Divine State smashed the clock in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Sapling Stakes (1609m) at Menangle. The son of former star Kiwi pacer Tintin In America worked his way to the lead and scorched a 1min51.6sec mile to thrash a strong field. He left the previously unbeaten Thisbeachrighthere, who trailed him, 12.8m away in second spot. The splits were 27.3, 29.1, 28.3 and 26.9sec and that was after and during the rain coming down. Divine State’s mile took 0.5sec off the previous Australasian 2YO mile race record held jointly by Lettucerockthem and Heavens Trend. “There was lots of talk about how good a few others were in the race, but I told everyone I’d be devastated if anything beat us because I know how good he is,” Tritton said. “I worked him the other day with Katy Perry, who is going well and very quick, and she couldn’t get near him.” Divine State is being set for next month’s Bathurst Gold Crown. THE intimidating shadow of Dream About Me looms large, but her stablemate A Piccadilly Princess could not be going better heading into next Saturday night’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile. Of all of A Piccadilly Princess’ big wins, her most impressive came in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Classic (1609m) at Menangle. That’s because she never stopped working and still thrashed a good field. A Piccadilly Princess was out three-wide for much of the first half, which the leader Millwood Liberty ran in a blistering 54.9sec. Purdon worked around to sit parked and never panicked before pushing the button and zooming away from her rivals at the top of the straight. They came at her late, but the win was awesome in a 1min51.5sec mile … and during driving rain. This Ladyship has plenty of depth with the A Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me joined by the likes of Cyclone Kate, Frith and others. It will just another highlight on what promises to be a magical Miracle Mile night. FORMER Kiwi pacer My Kiwi Mate scored the most important win of his career in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m). It’s not the biggest race he’s been in, but it marked his leap from exciting talent against his own age group to a serious open-class force. The previous week co-trainer and driver Jodi Quinlan tried to lead throughout on My Kiwi Mate in the Terang Cup, but was nabbed late by a rejuvenated Flaming Flutter. My Kiwi Mate and Quinlan turned the tables at Bendigo. This time it was Flaming Flutter who sat parked, raced to the lead, but was unable to hold-off My Kiwi Mate’s big finishing burst in a very sharp 1min56.2sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. “Gee he deserved that one,” remarked co-trainer Craig Demmler after the win. My Kiwi Mate’s greatest asset is his sit-sprinting ability and, judging by Bendigo, it is going to take him a long way in his open-class career. The logical next step is the Cranbourne Cup on March 3. Flaming Flutter showed his Terang Cup was a genuine return to form by doing all the work and fighting on gamely for second at Bendigo. The disappointment was heavily-backed former topliner Guaranteed, who did some work at times, but faded late to finish 15m from the winner in sixth spot. A big plunge on former Kiwi pacer Messini ($41 into $7.50) went astray when he led, but was spent on the home turn and only beat one rival home. CLASSY Kiwi trotting mare Sunny Ruby is loving her time in Australia. And trainer Sam Smolenski’s decision to leave her in Victoria after a slashing third in the Great Southern Star paid immediate dividends with victory in the $50,000 Group 2 Maori Mile at Bendigo last Friday night. She’s raced here three times this trip for two wins, a third and earned $87,000. Sunny Ruby, now in the care of Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt, took advantage of hot favourite Glenferrie Typhoon’s enigmatic manners to win at Bendigo. Glenferrie Typhoon, winner of the Great Southern Star, was crunched from $1.90 into $1.50 and led, but never looked as though he was trotting comfortable. Driver Kate Gath nursed as long as she could in front, but he broke stride coming to the final bend and lost all chance. Anthony Butt drove with great poise and patience and Sunny Ruby did the rest, storming home to win without being extended by 2.3m in a slick 1min56.1sec mile. IT was a good ripping night at the office for the Greg and Skye Bond barn at Gloucester Park last Friday. They combined with stable driver Ryan Warwick to cause a minor upset in the $50,000 Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) – a key WA Derby lead-up – with Rock Diamonds, a son of Rocknroll Hanover. In a driving finish, Rock Diamonds beat a gallant Maczaffair by a whisker in a 1min57.7sec mile rate. The disappointment was hot favourite Im Rockaria, who did plenty of work and sat parked, but tired late to beat only two rivals home. Team Bond also won the fast-class race, the $50,000 RWWA Cup (2536m) with classy former Kiwi pacer Our Jimmy Johnstone, who landed a big plunge ($3 into $2.40). The race was effectively over once Our Jimmy Johnstone found the lead and he cruised to 7.3m win over Bronze Seeker. The other buzz horse in the race was Im Full Of Excuses, but he just battled into fourth spot. Team Bond won four races on the night, the other two coming with Bettor Offer in race five and Our Regal Ideal in the eighth event. LOST in the wash-up of another huge weekend was yet another win by the remarkable old fella Destreos. The Ken Rattray-trained former Kiwi pacer lifted after looking beaten numerous times to post his 92nd career win – from a staggering 419 starts – at Albion Park last Tuesday. And he led throughout for driver Kelli Dawson to pace a slick 1min53.3sec mile rate for 1660m as well. Destreos is nicknamed “King of the Creek” because his amazing record at Queensland’s harness home, Albion Park. He raced there 306 times for 69 wins. COULD Clover Mac be the new K D Muscles? Just as K D Muscles struggled for wins in NZ and thrived when she came to Andy and Kate Gath’s Aussie barn, Clover Mac has started the same way. Clover Mac ran second at her first Aussie run, but has since won three on end. It was the seven-year-old’s latest win at Melton last night (Saturdau) which looked most exciting. Kate Gath extricated her from a pocket before the home bend and once in daylight she exploded past the leaders to win running away by 8.2m in a slick 2min0.2sec mile rate for the 2240m standing start. She left classy trotters like Conon Bridge and My Tribeca standing. Adam Hamilton

Pending RAD Board Hearing – Rohan Hillier - Harness Racing Victoria Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Rohan Hillier under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Ryley Major was presented to race at Melton on 7 July 2016 by Mr Hillier when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Jodi Quinlan HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Ms Jodi Quinlan under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Sky Majesty was presented to race at Bendigo on 22 June 2016 by Ms Quinlan when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Andrew Gath HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Andrew Gath under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse K D Muscles NZ was presented to race at Horsham on 14 March 2016 by Mr Gath when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.  

Classy trotter Illawong Byron is due for a spell, probably overdue, says harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. But the Parwan horsewoman also says she’s never trained a horse with his constitution and she is hopeful the Redwood Classic winner can produce another grand performance on Breeders Crown Day. has installed Illawong Byron $1.60 favourite to win the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown Final on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings from gate two after his impressive heat win at Maryborough last week. “He was definitely not right in the Vicbred Final (when finishing second) and he took a couple of weeks to get over that,” Quinlan said. MARKETS: ILLAWONG BYRON IS $1.6 FOR THE BREEDERS CROWN AT TAB.COM.AU “He bounced back with a really good run in the Redwood and then he was probably even better in the heat last week. I just hope he didn’t run his race a week early. He'll go for a good break after Sunday.” Quinlan makes the point Illawong Byron has had a long season, literally given he ran in the very first two-year-old trot of the 2015-16 season. “I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like his.” Raced and bred by Martin and Kaye Hartnett, Illawong Byron – by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush – has won seven races from 11 starts and looks a shoe-in for Victorian two-year-old male trotter of the year. Quinlan has repeatedly expressed her appreciation for the Hartnetts, who she says are very loyal and supportive. “They’ve been fantastic supporters of mine through good times and bad and they put a lot of money into the game, so they deserve every success they get,” Quinlan said. VIDEO: ILLAWONG BYRON WINS THE REDWOOD CLASSIC AT MARYBOROUGH Mark Purdon-trained Custodian ($2.90 with TAB) has drawn barrier nine and will trail Illawong Byron out. “With Custodian following me I’ll probably have to do a bit to hold the front,” Quinlan said. Quinlan also puts the polish on three-year-old trotting filly Sky Majesty in the Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Final (Race 1) on Sunday. Raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto, Rob Merola and Sam Godino Sky Majesty has drawn gate six and is a $61 outsider according to “She has had a fantastic year but she just can’t snag a decent barrier in a big race. From the draw Wilmas Mate looks unbeatable on paper, but they are three-year-old trotters so anything can happen.” Already a Breeders Crown winner in the sulky behind Ladyinred in 2005, Quinlan said the day held a special place in her heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Breeders Crown as a driver. If I could win one as a trainer that would definitely be special.” BOOK NOW: SECURE YOUR BREEDERS CROWN DINING PACKAGE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016

Harness racing trainer / driver Jodi Quinlan and two of her biggest fans, Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, picked up the win they wanted most today at Maryborough. In front of a huge crowd Quinlan guided two-year-old gelding Illawong Byron to a memorable victory in the $50,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. “This is very special to be standing here on this stage,” she said. “I’ve always said with this horse that this is the race I wanted to win.” Illawong Byron’s owner, Dr Hartnett, whose wife Kaye bred the horse, concurred. “This is the one we always wanted. We’re very pleased with Illawong Byron,” he said. Illawong Byron (Muscle Mass-Illawong Blush) began like a pro from the 2190-metre stand start to lead from outside the front row. Once in front Quinlan rated the Tatlow Stakes winner and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series runner-up a treat, Illawong Byron notching a 63.3 first half before taking the sting out of her rivals down the back (28.8secs). It was a winning move. “His manners today were the best they have ever been. We ran that quarter down the back and  got them off the bit,” Quinlan said. Illawong Byron then held off a late challenge by Mark Purdon’s odds-on favourite Custodian, digging deep to score by a half-neck with Quinlan drawing a rapturous applause from the crowd. The final quarter was trotted in 29.3secs for a mile rate of 2:04.4. Our Regal Love for Nicole Molander and Chris Alford ran third, beaten 15m, while Lance Justice guided Carnera to fourth at huge odds ahead of Truscott Hall. Quinlan mooted a long-range plan for one of Australasia’s rising star squaregaiters. “He’s very immature and with a bit of extra size about him in 12 months I hope we’re back here at Maryborough for the Derby,” she said. Quinlan also thanked Illawong Byron’s owners for their ongoing support. “Martin and Kaye have always been fantastic support for me. They’re 100 per cent behind me no matter what.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Check out the winning harness racing drivers’ immediate reactions after their success at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Jodi Quinlan and Lauren Tritton both picked up a winning double, while Michael Stanley continued his run of form with two-year-old fillies by taking out the Tatlow Stakes aboard Soho Angel. Rodney Petroff won the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final aboard Our Twentyten, the dual Breeders Crown winner defeating Blue Sky Commander and Sky Petite, who are both talented four-year-olds. See the winning driver interviews here Trots Media

The rise of exciting four-year-old My Kiwi Mate continued at Tabcorp Park Melton last night when the Craig Demmler-trained gelding captured the harness racing Decron Winter Championship Final. Working hard to find the front for the first 600m of the 1720m contest, long odds-on favourite My Kiwi Mate eventually arrested the lead off plucky polemarker The Dapper Don. Tonight’s 7.1secs lead time was 0.2secs above average and the first quarter of the final mile was a sharp 28secs, followed by a 29.4secs second split. My Kiwi Mate’s last half-mile was trekked in 55.4secs (28.4secs and 27secs) and his winning mile rate was 1:52.2 (1.4secs off Cold Major’s track record). The victory was the first leg of a winning double for Parwan reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, who later guided Lucky Lombo home in the Ride the Redwood Rattler Pace for trainer Graham McDermott. My Kiwi Mate’s first place cheque of $20,048 took his stake earnings in excess of $213,000 and, given the quality of Victoria’s four-year-old ranks – highlighted in the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series by Ideal For Real, Tee Cee Bee Macray and Menin Gate, some ripping clashes await. The Group 2 male four-year-old Breeders Crown Championship on Super Sunday August 28 could be a marketer’s dream should the stars align. Meanwhile, the second placegetter behind My Kiwi Mate last night, The Dapper Don, looks a good thing in an M0 in the not-too-distant future. Irymple trainer Boris Devcic quite simply has this four-year-old Julius Caesar gelding flying and to get within a half-neck of a proven Group 1 performer in 1:52.2 – and with momentum up at the line – punters will be queuing up to back him if he lobs a good draw in a similar class race next time. Third placegetter Pepe Bromac from the Isabelle Walsh camp chased hard for third while Macha did all the work from his back-row draw and was only beaten 11.8m in fourth. VIDEO: Re-live My Kiwi Mate taking out the Decron Winter Championship Final  Cody Winnell

Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.”   Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland  13: Imahe Man (ODM)   Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell

Illawong Armstrong produced an extraordinary run in last year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old final for harness racing trotting colts and geldings. Twelve months have passed since the son of Dream Vacation/Figment blew the start and was tailed off in the Vicbred final before making enormous ground late to finish third, and trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan has the gelding absolutely flying. Illawong Armstrong, a member of owner Dr Martin Hartnett’s ‘Illawong squad’, romped home in his Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Maryborough yesterday, defeating runner-up Belts by 23.5m in a mile rate of 2:04.5. And the news only got better for the Illawong team tonight with Armstrong drawing the pole for next Friday night’s Final. He has to be hard to beat from there. In driving rain yesterday Illawong Armstrong looked every bit the professional, Quinlan going easy on the prodigious talent who, but for his poor manners last season, arguably could already boast two Group 1 wins – producing two of the biggest runs you’ll ever see in defeat in the Vicbred and Breeders Crown finals. “He had a good run. His manners were really good,” Quinlan said of his most recent outing. “He got a lovely, easy trip out front and I expect him to do that, he is an above-average horse. “He’s probably the best horse I have put a bridle on. Unfortunately it hasn’t been an ideal preparation because he got really sick, but we have made the most of the time we have had.” Quinlan said Illawong Armstrong’s Maryborough win will have him peaked fitness-wise for next Friday night’s Group 1 final. “He really needed the (heat) run,” she said. “He’s not really a natural leader, and has an exceptional sprint, but if he draws to run at the front then he can do that.” John Meade-trained Sparkling Success won the other Vicbred four-year-old trotting males’ heat, defeating fast-finishing Kyvalley Boomerang by a short half-head. Sparkling Success (Great Success/Diamond Insitu) has drawn right alongside the expected favourite in gate two. Driven by Gavin Lang, Sparkling Success enjoyed the perfect run behind leader Eljaykay Phoenix and got the better of that horse when it galloped halfway up the straight. Kyvalley Boomerang flashed home late, while Save Our Pennys picked up third from last year’s Vicbred two-year-old reigning champion Eljaykay Phoenix.   Draw for Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires/Geldings Final 1: Illawong Armstrong 2: Sparkling Success 3: Wake Up Wilbur 4: Eljaykay Phoenix 5: Akotiri 6: Save Our Pennys 7: Kyvalley Boomerang 8: Well Deserved 9: The Third Son 10: Spud 11: Belts 12: Bring The Action (ODM) 13: Fabrication (ODM) EM Cody Winnell

The big names in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings trotters' division have drawn the front row and are en route to a formiddable showdown in next Friday night's harness racing final. At Tabcorp Park Melton on the Super Series semi-final night for pacers, the trotters' barrier draw saw Deltasun claim the pole mark and Illawong Byron draw barrier six, giving a relatively direct route into their next big showdown. Fillies heat winners Yankee Redback (barrier two) and Illawong Shimmer (barrier five) also both drew the first row. Illawong Byron’s standing was only reaffirmed at last Tuesday night's heats at Ballarat when the two-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush dominated and won by 41.6m. Showing gate speed from barrier six, the result was never in doubt for Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. “I am very happy with him,” Quinlan said. “I was a little disappointed that he overraced, but he has always shown above average ability and I couldn’t be happier with him on that score, he is a classy animal.” Quinlan partly attributed Illawong Byron’s overracing to the gelding coming to the end of a very impressive campaign. “He is still quite green. He is a fairly reliable two-year-old trotter, but he probably overraces and in an ideal world he would probably go to the paddock, but he has a few important races to run yet,” she said. The other colts and geldings heat was won by Deltasun (Tennotrump/Deltasu), a $1.04 favourite who took the honours by 14.6m for Ararat trainer Terry Young and Bacchus Marsh driver Gavin Lang. “There’s no doubt the horse to beat is Deltasun and the barrier will be important," Quinlan said. "But (Illawong Byron) is a good, versatile horse and can also run well from behind.” While it could be argued the colts and geldings shapes as a two-horse race, the two-year-old fillies presents as much more open. Ross Sugars’ Illawong Shimmer (Muscle Mass/Shining Sun) was impressive in leading and winning the first heat by 3.4m from Maree and John Caldow’s hope Valsue. But heat two proved more open, particularly once Anton Golino’s $1.60 favourite Sval Queen broke in the running. Yankee Redback, the only horse in hobby trainer Michael Scandolera’s Kilmore stable, took advantage, with driver Michael Bellman drawing her off leader Kyvalley Kyrie’s back to win by 7.7m. “She had a lot of luck. I thought she was about the third or fourth best horse in the race, but the others galloped and she didn’t,” Scandolera said. “She has beautiful manners. She’s just a natural. “When we broke her in she had a lot of fire, and still has a lot of fire. She’s a very intelligent horse and I let her do her own thing.” Scandolera said if things fell Yankee Redback’s way in the final she could take advantage. “She goes away very quick and very safely, and if she leads she can make her own race, but if she doesn’t and has to go back she can still go all right.”   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings 1: Deltasun 2: Prosthesis 3: Bootleg Bert 4: Kheiron 5: Me Pat Malone (emg) 6: Illawong Byron 7: Endsin A Party 8: Needabacardi 9: Aldebaran Pirate 10: Carnera 11: Just Oscar 12: Red Rustler (ODM)   Two-year-old fillies 1: White House Sweet 2: Yankee Redback 3: Ten Spanners 4: Watts Up Rainbow 5: Illawong Shimmer 6: Star In Sight 7: Downtown Miss 8: Kyvalley Kyrie 9: Derrie Aire 10: Midnightpinevale (ODM) 11: Myrniong Rainbow (ODM) 12: Betty Hall (ODM) 13: Valsue (ODM)

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