Hallelujah !

20 May

The Class 3 6f Handicap for fillies at Ripon this afternoon sees Hallelujah return to the track to see if she can maintain her 100% record to date. She is up against Pearl Blue from whom she receives 5lb, however she has already had two races to date this season so has race fitness advantage. The going is currently Good to Soft, soft in places but it is a drying day.

It promises to be close between the two and the Fanshawe stable commented on their website “HALLELUJAH is a powerful filly who has won both her two starts. She was one of the last fillies to come back in and will stick to sprinting and appreciates a cut in the ground. Hopefully she will be running at the begining of June” and in the Racing Post Weekender stable interview “She has raced twice and won twice and is a really nice filly. She really  improved from her first run to her second run but then she had to have some time  off. She’s a strong, attractive sprinting filly and has a really good  temperament. She just wants a bit of sun to really thrive. I’ve heard some  people say that’s nonsense but if you saw how some of these fillies improved for  better, warmer weather you’d see that it is important. She’ll be out when that  comes along”. 

In respect of Pearl Blue Chris Wall commented on his website on 1st May 2012 “I was very pleased with PEARL  BLUE’s effort in the 5f handicap. Badly drawn and on ground that was also too  quick for her, she did very well to finish a close 5th. She has  subsequently stepped up on that effort when running out a ready winner at  Doncaster last Friday. The ground conditions were in her favour on that occasion  and she was very brave when sticking her neck out in the final 100 yards to run  out a ½ length winner under another well-judged ride from George Baker”.

Although Pearl Blue has the fitness edge I’m drawn to the Trainer and Jockey combination of Hallelujah and she clearly has no problems winning first time up so that’s who I will be going with today.

 

Im putting all of my posts up on my blogger page now so if you switch to that you will find more assembled information.

http://sprinterstogo.blogspot.co.uk/

Hallelujah !

20 May

The Class 3 6f Handicap for fillies at Ripon this afternoon sees Hallelujah return to the track to see if she can maintain her 100% record to date. She is up against Pearl Blue from whom she receives 5lb, however she has already had two races to date this season so has race fitness advantage. The going is currently Good to Soft, soft in places but it is a drying day.

It promises to be close between the two and the Fanshawe stable commented on their website “HALLELUJAH is a powerful filly who has won both her two starts. She was one of the last fillies to come back in and will stick to sprinting and appreciates a cut in the ground. Hopefully she will be running at the begining of June” and in the Racing Post Weekender stable interview “She has raced twice and won twice and is a really nice filly. She really  improved from her first run to her second run but then she had to have some time  off. She’s a strong, attractive sprinting filly and has a really good  temperament. She just wants a bit of sun to really thrive. I’ve heard some  people say that’s nonsense but if you saw how some of these fillies improved for  better, warmer weather you’d see that it is important. She’ll be out when that  comes along”. 

In respect of Pearl Blue Chris Wall commented on his website on 1st May 2012 “I was very pleased with PEARL  BLUE’s effort in the 5f handicap. Badly drawn and on ground that was also too  quick for her, she did very well to finish a close 5th. She has  subsequently stepped up on that effort when running out a ready winner at  Doncaster last Friday. The ground conditions were in her favour on that occasion  and she was very brave when sticking her neck out in the final 100 yards to run  out a ½ length winner under another well-judged ride from George Baker”.

Although Pearl Blue has the fitness edge I’m drawn to the Trainer and Jockey combination of Hallelujah and she clearly has no problems winning first time up so that’s who I will be going with today.

 

Im putting all of my posts up on my blogger page now so if you switch to that you will find more assembled information.

http://sprinterstogo.blogspot.co.uk/

Up a bit, down a bit

13 May

We start off this week by looking back at what happened the week before because I took a little time out last week in the Lake District.

On the 23rd April at Pontefract Seal Rock beat Mirza by a length over 6f in the Class 2 handicap with the veteran Tajneed back in third. With the gorund being so soft its hard to know what to make of any form at the moment and it’s going to be difficult picking winners over the following weeks. In behind there were drops in the handicap for Nicholls Victoire De Lyphar down 4lb to 95, Wildcat Wizard down 3lb to 85 and Nasri down 2lb to 95. Nicholls has said that none of his are firing at the moment and we will just have to wait until he comes into form but in the meantime watch their handicap marks get reduced.

At Epsom on 25th April it was heavy going and the fast 5f Class 3 handicap was won by Cadeaux Pearl by a length from Taajub with Taurus Twins a further length back in third. The winner was raised 7lb to 90 and recorded a topspeed figure of 89 in the process, whilst the second was raised 3lb to 92 and recorded a topspeed figure of 92 from his poor draw in stall 1. Certainly the second, if he gets a better draw, could be capable of a good show in the dash in June.

At Kempton on the AW the 4yo Mon Amie Jolie beat Twice Red by a length and in doing so recorded a topspeed figure of 80 from his handicap mark of 69 and as a result he has been raised 6lb to 75 so should still be ahead of the handicapper.

On the 27th Pearl Secret showed that he is a decent horse in the making by winning Class 3 handicap at Doncaster by 4 1/2 lengths from Lupo D’oro and he now looks set to run in all the big 3yo sprints. The handicapper was certainly impressed as he has been raised 16lb to 101.

 

This last week started off with Bartolemue winning a Class 4 handicap at Wolverhampton by 3 lengths from Stoute’s Pivotal gelding Uprise with a head back to the third Homeward Strut. The winner who is trained by Marco Botti was put up 9lb for this performance and there is every chance he can continue to improve from his new rating of 89. Later in the week his trainer commented “He has ability and won a Lingfield maiden over 7f, although he ran a bit free so we  are dropping him back to 6f as he has a lot of natural speed. His rating of 80  looks a fair mark and we wanted to avoid the heavy ground”.

At Kempton on 2nd May Gusto took the Listed Pavillion Stakes which was rerouted from Ascot. He managed to do so by 3/4 of a length from Bannock and the handicapper reviewed the race as follows :

The hard work put in by the BHA Racing Department in rearranging Ascot’s flooded off fixture to Kempton saved what turned out to be an above average renewal of the the Blue Square Ascot Pavilion Stakes says Stewart Copeland.
It looked a strong race beforehand as the average winning rating of the race over the last decade has been 106 and three of the field had already surpassed that level beforehand. Indeed those three fought out the finish with the admirable Gusto trained by Richard Hannon claiming his third Listed success this year and his fourth in total.
The race itself was a somewhat messy affair as a modest early gallop meant a position close to the pace was probably crucial. Gusto was well positioned throughout and despite being headed a furlong out by Bannock, he dug deep and rallied in fine style, coming home just under a length clear of that rival. Rated 110 going into the race, Gusto’s defeat of the 109 rated Bannock at level weights is worth 111 thus giving a minor adjustment to his rating as I believe Bannock replicated his fine effort of 109 in the European Free Handicap.
However it is worth highlighting the run of the third, Burwaaz, given that little went right for him on the day. Too keen early off the modest pace, he then suffered trouble in running in the straight, before finishing strongly into third.
It was an even more meritorious performance when you consider that the bit slipped through his mouth which hardly helped his cause.
Burwaaz was rated 109 after some excellent efforts in Pattern Races as a two year old. Although his performance at Kempton was only 104, he looks sure to be capable of 109 or better later in the season. As for Gusto he is reportedly being aimed at the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. As he has already shown winning form at 7 furlongs this season, it seems a logical target to aim him at.

 

At Doncaster on 5th May Farlow got his season back on track by winning the Class 3 handicap over 6f by beating Summerinthecity by half a length with a further half length back to Beckermet. The winner has been raised 3lb to 89 for this and his trainer Ralph Beckett commented since “He had plenty of boot at two and three but was immature and has done well physically from three to four. He didn’t look obviously well handicapped but won at Doncaster on Saturday, where he got a really good tow into the race and was always going to be hard to pass once he got to the front. I’d love to think he would make up into a Wokingham or Stewards’ Cup horse, but he’ll need to win again”.

Out the back were Marine Commando and Ginger Ted and both were dropped 2lb apiece to 88 and 83 respectively.

In the maiden beforehand Roger Varian’s Shahzan won over the same course and distance in a time o.43 seconds faster than Farlow and he was carrying 12lb more in weight and in doing so recorded a topspeed figure of 90 so it will be interesting to see what mark he is eventually alotted. In second a half length behind was Rae Guests Milika.

 

Over at Newmarket Mayson continued his rise up the sprinting ranks by taking the Palace House Stakes by 3/4 of a length from the proven mudlark Definightly with Brian Meehan’s Elusivity back in third. Going with the latter first he reocrded a topspeed figure of 109 and therefore he has been raised 12lb from 95 to 107 and he can obviuosly hold his own in this company. The winner clocked his best ever effort and he looks open to further improvement having won with a bit in hand. Afterwards Fahey said Today’s 5f is a bare minimum for him and he will be back up to 6f from now on. He’ll definitely go for the Duke of York and I’ll enter him for the July Cup, but he’ll have to win at York to go there. But how did he get beat in the Ayr Gold Cup ? I thought he was a certainty there off a mark of 100, but he was probably a bit fresh and it went pear shaped”.

Caledonia Lady ran another good race in 6th and once again ran on when meeting the rising ground. Astrophysical Jet is down 3lb to 94, Stepper Point down 2lb to 106 and Jonny Mudball down 3lb to 102.

Up a bit,down a bit – 26th April 2012

26 Apr

With the flat season only just getting going and there being plenty of wet weather about its going to take a few weeks to get to grips with the form, however we shall carry on with our weekly look at the sprint races.

Fisrt up is the Class 5 Betdaq Mobile Apps Handicap over 6f at Kempton on the AW which was won in taking fashion by Henry Candy’s Larwood by 4 1/2 lengths from Auntie Mabel. The winner was rated 67 for this and a result of his win has been raised 12lb to 79, he clocked a topspeed figure of 83 in winning easily and his trainer commented afterwards “He´s had two wind operations and a gelding operation since his last run. Even when he won at Bath last year his head was a bit high and he was just finding it all a bit tough. He still races in a cross-noseband but he hasn´t stopped smiling since he got here tonight. His ears were going back and forwards and he´s a much happier horse now. I thought he looked incredibly well handicapped”.

At Newmarket on 18th April the Tattersalls Millions 3yo Sprint over 6f went to Jeremy Noseda’s Valbchek who was having only his second start. He beat the running on Swiss Spirit by half a length with a further 1 3/4 lengths back to Tidentime back in third. Pre race Noseda had said that Valbchek was working nicely and that he felt he would perform well and his only concern being whether he was mentally ready for this type of contest. Well he definitely was and afterwards his trainer commented “I took him to Lingfield to get a run into him over six furlongs, specifically for this. For an inexperienced horse, this was a good performance to go and win a race like that. He has plenty of potential but is going to have to step up in class now – he could run in the Carnarvon at Newbury, a Listed race the day before the Lockinge. Sprinters can take longer than others to find maturity and he will get there in time. I had half a mind he could be a Jersey (Royal Ascot) horse and Ryan said he was a 6f horse who might get a bit further but we´ll stick at six for now”. The second Swiss Spirit finished strongly out wide and pre race Elsworth had said that although they had aimed him at the race their horses were a little behind. Ken Pitterson in the Weekender reported that he looked far from feady in his coat and his overall performance suggested that the run would have put him spot on. The winner has yet to receive a rating but his topspedd figure here was 95, the second remains on 98, whilst the third goes up 1lb to 93.

The afternoon ended with the 6f Class 2 Handicap which was won by Mark Johnston’s improving Es Que Love by 2 lengths from Sans Loi with a neck back Heeraat in third. The winner was following up his win at Pontefract and is now 3-3 on stiff tracks having also won at Beverley and he has been given a couple of Group 1 entries. His trainer commented afterwards “He was difficult being a free-runner last year, often falling in a hole late in his races. We went to Pontefract last week over six furlongs thinking about going a mile after but Silvestre [De Sousa] said drop him back to five. There weren´t any races for him so we came here under a penalty wondering if he would see it out. It´s going to be difficult now for him as he has won off 92 effectively”. The second did well having been held up in the rear and then making his move towards the stand side and he looks capable of winning a decent prize.

The Listed Abernant Stakes at Newmarket over 6f saw Mayson (100) win by a convincing 3 1/2 lengths after running on strongly up the hill. In doing so he beat the 8yo Jimmy Styles (105) with Internationaldebut (101) a further 1 1/2 lengths back in third. The pace of the race was slow and did not play to the strengths of Genki and Sirius Prospect who finished behind, whilst the winner was able to settle and quicken at the business end being just off the leaders throughout. Richard Fahey commented in his column “It’s the first time he has relaxed in his races, I’ve been raving about him for a while now and he hasn’t had many races still. When things go right he’s pretty sweet and he’ll go to the Duke Of York now. We wanted to take a bit of cover but Newmarket was a bad place to try it as there wasn’t much early pace. Paul (Hanagan) said he fell out of the stalls and quickly relaxed, it was like a little hack canter for him through the early stages. Hopefully he’ll improve again for this”. Roger Charlton commented the following day on Genki ” Nothing really went right for Genki yesterday at Newmarket with the heavy showers of rain, the ground had become rather loose on top. He does not seem to mind soft ground or fast ground but if he starts to slip and lose his footing, he then loses his confidence, this has happened in the past particularly at Ascot after heavy rain. The slow early pace made the race a bit of a muddle and it would appear that they went faster over the first two fences in the Grand National than they did over the first two furlongs in the Abernant. Hopefully the race won’t have done him any harm and he could run either at York or Newcastle”. Also behind was High Standing for Jeremy Gask and he commented “High Standing ran a good race running out of room as he made his run up the hill. It was very pleasing to see him show some spark late and we’ll sit down and come up with a plan now that he looks as if he retains some interest”.

BHB Handicappers Blog

GO ON MAYSON! Even though understandably the Classic trials took centre stage at last week’s Craven meeting there was some decent sprint action on show, with the 6f listed Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes being the pick of it, writes Stewart Copeland. The race itself was a somewhat unsatisfactory affair, with a modest early gallop probably compromising the chance of some of those held up, which included the favourite Genki, making his seasonal reappearance and trying to follow up his success of last year. He failed to land a blow from off the pace, but given the race wasn’t run to suit, too much shouldn’t be read into it in my view and he remains on his rating of 114. The spoils however went to the four-year-old colt, Mayson, trained by Richard Fahey. Always travelling well up with the pace, Mayson quickened clear in taking style over a furlong out and came home a comfortable three and a half lengths clear from the pacesetting Jimmy Styles. This represented a marked turnaround in form from their placings in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster last time out, and in my view a career-best performance from Mayson. I’ve credited him with an improved rating of 110, which is roughly on par with the average performance we’d expect for an Abernant winner over the past decade. Mayson’s next port of call is apparently the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes at the Knavesmire next month, and on this effort he’s well worth his place in that field. That race often produces a winning performance in the mid-teens though, and probably explains why recent winners of the Abernant don’t have a great record in it. In fact we have to go back to 1995 to find the last horse to complete the Abernant/Duke of York double in the same year. That was no less a horse than the top-class Lake Coniston, who subsequently romped home to an impressive success in the July Cup at Newmarket.

At Ripon on 19th April Fast Shot stayed on strongly to win the 6f Class 4 Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths from Trade Secret with a further 1 1/4 lengths back to Toby Tyler. The winner was rated 81 and recorded a topspeed figure of 90 and has been raised 6lb by the handicapper to a mark of 87. Granted the same conditions he should be capable of following up.

Beyond Desire continued Roger Varians good run by winning the 5f Listed Fiilies Stakes beating the fast finishing Caledonia Lady by a head. Pre race hertrainer had said “She’s in good form and has done really well over the winter and looks stronger for another year. The ground is a bit of a concern” after winning he said she will be suited by a sharper course than this as she has got quicker as she has got older. She also holds a Group 1 entry. Pre race the second was said to have wintered well and that the ground would be no concern and although she would come on for the run she had a fighting chance.

At Newbury on 20th April Mirza won the 7 runner 5f Class 2 Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths from Blue Jack with the same distance back to Lui Rei. Commenting afterwards Rae Guest said ” He loves the ground and that´s why we came here. We wanted to run over six [furlongs] but there are no races for him. He´s in at Pontefract on Monday so we´ll see how he is before deciding. He´s a decent horse but has to have this ground”. At Pontefract on Monday he finished 2nd of 17 to Seal Rock in a Class 2 Handicap on soft over 6f.

Thursday Racing

18 Apr

Thursday sees Sirius Prospect return to the track at Newmarket in the Abernant Stakes over 6f and connections will he hoping that he performs better than he did first time out. He is said to be have been showing all the right signals at home and he is the horse with the most potential for improvement in the race and the course and distance should bring out the best in him. Last years winner Genki usually comes to hand early and Mayson and New Planet will also be on the scene having both already run well this season. However I feel that we must stick with Sirius Prospect to come good.

Also tomorrow we have Swilly Ferry running in the Class 4 handicap at 3.20 at Ripon on his second start for Dandy Nicholls. He is open to improvement with the sprint maestro and its a fact that Timeform have not been slow to notice as he has been included in their 50 to follow for the season. The race itself doesnt look as though it will take much winning.

Later in the afternoon Lucky Numbers has his first start for David O’Meara having been switched from Paul Green, 6f is his best distance and with the going reported as Good to Soft it should play to his strengths. He has in the past gone well first time out and with De Sousa riding he shouldnt lack for assistance from the saddle.

At Wolverhampton in the 6.05 Andrew Balding’s Black Cadillac has his 9th start having won by 3 lengths at Kempton last time out. He looks the improver in the field and with the stable in good from he should be able to overcome his 9lb rise inthe weights.

 

Grand National review 2012

15 Apr

Having lived close to Aintree all my life, I have become as staunch a supporter of the Grand National as you could get and therefore I feel obliged to make some comment on events yesterday.

For me it was truly a fantastic finish to the race with Neptune Collonges just inching out Sunnyhillboy by a nose in the very last strides, even though all my selections were long out of the race it didnt stop me enjoying what was happening. Neptune now heads into a very honourable retirement having won the greatest race in the world.

Although the race was the closest finish and most thrilling we had seen for sometime the reports of the race were mainly focussing on the two fatalities during it. One of the fallers the Gold Cup winner Synchronised had got loose prior to the start having jinked under the starting tape when heading down to view the first fence. He was of course not affected by this and returned to view the fence with McCoy back on board having been looked over by the course vet which is normal practice in any race.

Once again however the jumps have come under close scrutiny because of the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete and Becher’s Brook just happened to be the fence were both horses fell.

Synchronised, who many pundits pre race had expressed the view that his jumping ability may have left him wanting, skewed the fence when jumping Bechers just as he had done at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup when winning that race, this of course led him to fall. He carried on though without his jockey, running loose, before suffering his fatal injury at or near the 11th fence.

According to Pete was brought down on the second circuit at Becher’s having jumped it well, his fall was caused by the inexperienced On His Own who had fallen in front of him and he could do nothing but collide with that one on landing. On His Own had only been in six other races over fences prior to this and one wonders whether there should be a more stringent qualifying criteria to get into the race as regards experience. He was also an 8yo and I note that from the  eight 7 and 8yo in the race yesterday six either fell or unseated. The last winner of the race aged 8 was Bindaree in 2002.

Both of the fatalities could quite easily have happened at any jumps track in the country, not just at Aintree. In my opinion Becher’s Brook didnt really have a direct part to play in either of the fatalities.

What was alarming for me though was the speed at which the horses travelled during the early part of the race and this of course is directly down to the jockeys and has nothing to do with the course. There appeared to be a large amount of youthfull exuberance pre the tapes going up for the start which caused the initial false start. The jockeys then repeatedly ignored the starter before the race eventually commenced in earnest at a fast pace. The time of the race bears out that they were going too fast as although it was on Good, Good to Soft in places, they managed to beat the standard time by nearly 5 seconds. I suppose in the back of the jockeys minds they know alterations have been made to the jumps and therefore there is less chance of their horse falling so they they think they can go quicker and that it was thay have done here. It only takes one to do it and all the others follow.

Unfortunately you will always get people forming their own opinions of what has happened in the race, just like I am here, but some opinions are often misinformed and are based on insufficient information being provided. I happened to bump into a neighbour of mine after the race who hadnt seen it but her first comment was about Synchronised having got loose prior to the start and a vet having to be called because he was already injured, I naturally told her what had really happened. Of course it’s easy to get  accounts wrong, page 3 of the Racing Post today has Jon Lees reporting that “According to Pete one of the two horses to be put down, which caused the 20th Fence to be bypassed”, that of course isnt correct as the 20th fence was bypassed because of an injured jockey on the track not a horse. On that subject I’m not sure why they have to put up a screen for an injured jockey, surely that just adds further flames to the fire as nobody knows whether it’s a horse or jockey that is injured and most people would naturally assume it was a horse as did Jon Lees.

Although I am a staunch supporter of the race I realise that the race has to evolve as we go along from year to year, however we cant make it like an ordinary race as the hundreds of millions of people who watch it throughout the world wouldnt watch it anymore if it was similar to 3 mile chase at Bangor and also the local economy around Liverpool would also suffer.

For me the changes that I would be looking to do would be reduce the amount of runners to 30, the Topham and Foxhunters are no less of a spectacle for having that amount of runners and neither would the Grand National be. Tighten up the qualifying criteria to get into the race, the race needs horses that are sufficiently experienced to compete whether by amount or types of races they have run in. Limited jumping experience is just not good enough in what is a primarily a jumping test. The jockeys too need to be brought into line as it is they who control the speed of the race and also any congestion around the jumps, such as happened at the Canal Turn on the first circuit, were several horses were affected. Perhaps stronger warnings or penalties need to be given to them.

I hope whatever happens the race continues for many years to come.

Up a bit, down a bit

5 Apr

Only one race to cover this week and that is :-

New William Hill iPhone App Cammidge Trophy (Listed Race)

The pace was on the stands´ side  and the first three came out of the four highest-numbered stalls. The time was  just 0.31 outside the standard.

THE CHEKA (108) was soon chasing the  pace after a slightly slow start, but picked up inside the last to win a shade  readily. This was his first run over a sprint trip  on what was his 20th racecourse appearance.

Last  year´s winner Jimmy Styles (100) travelled well and took over entering the final furlong, but could  not hold off the winner and was beaten 3/4 length.

Mayson (100) showed bright pace alongside the  rail but had to give best at the furlong pole and finished 2 lengths behind the second.

Royal  Rock (112), sixth in this last year, ran on late, he did best of those who came from off the pace and  also of those drawn low.

Sirius Prospect (110) won his last four races of 2011,  culminating in a victory over Mayson in this grade over C&D in November, and  improved his official rating by 30lb during the year. After proving a little  reluctant to enter the stalls, he failed to spark and was never seen with a  chance, but he was running on late when it was all over. He remains capable of improvement.

Waffle (102) did not get a clear run when trying to  pick up heading towards the furlong pole but is not the type to make too many  excuses for and he generally performs better in bigger fields of runners. Entered at Musselburgh at the weekend.

Bannock (108) was a smart 2yo(placed twice in Group 2 company and won a Listed race at York in October) and was fit from a  run at Lingfield, but he ran poorly here from what looked a favourable berth  against the stands´ rail. Entered at Cork at the weekend.

QUOTES:  Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of The Cheka: “What a star he  is to us; that´s three times he´s won first time out. I was always tempted to  drop him back to 6f, but some of the jockeys who rode him felt he might not have  the pace and to be fair, there was never quite the right opportunity last  season. He will now go for either the Duke of York Stakes or the Victoria Cup.”

With no racing on Good Friday Saturday is the next port of call at both Musselburgh and Cork.

Musselburgh stages a Conditions Stakes run over 5f and some of those entered are Hamish McGonagall, Shoshoni Wind, Borderlescott, Captain Dunne and Excel Bolt.

Hamish McGonagall’s best run last season was when he was second to Margot Did when beaten 3/4 length in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York in August. He then finished the season by running third to Prohibit in a Group 3 at Longchamp and on that occasion he was beaten 1 3/4 lengths, its those sort of runs that bring him into this as the top rated on 114. He goes well here having won 4 times from six starts and at this stage he looks capable of increasing his strike rate here.

Captain Dunne will also be returning from a break but like last season he may need his first run back.

The current going at Musselburgh is Good to Soft.

Over at Cork we have the Listed Cork Stakes and Dermot Weld’s Croisultan gets the chance to follow up his win at the Curragh on 25th March. Entries who may be making the trip across the Irish sea are Jeremy Gask’s High Standing and Medicean Man and Mark Johnston’s Bannock.

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