East Tyrone Wins Narrowly

As the season progresses the start of nurseries sees more opportunities for the 2yo’s. With many having had their qualifying runs under their belts, the handicapper has released their marks and they can begin to run in handicap company. East Tyrone needed to get back on track and he did just that as he won the 6f John Smiths Nursery Handicap at York.

The son of Mehmas had made a striking debut when finishing runner up, showing signs of inexperience that day. It seemed as though a win was inevitable but unfortunately next time he couldn’t quite build on his debut, maybe with the race coming a little too soon after run 1. East Tyrone’s third run was very disappointing, travelling well he didn’t look to go through with his run and subsequently was gelded. Gelding East Tyrone meant that he would have the recovery time as a break before the nurseries began.

Starting on a mark of 67 seemed fair and when the nursery at York came up it looked an ideal option. It would be the first time racing over 6f and he would be lining up against 12 rivals, all unexposed like himself. Shane Gray got the leg up and would have to earn his riding fee. With rain softened ground the field would race towards the stands side rail. Then along by the favourite, East Tyrone settled into midfield but toward the far side of the group.

There was no hiding place for the 2yo’s as the favourite took them through the race. East Tyrone had raced in easy going previously and looked to handling the ground with no problem here. He would need to show he stayed the 6f but through the first half of the race he travelled nicely behind the pace. Just hitting a little flat spot around the 3f marker, Shane had to niggle for a few strides to maintain their position.

Moving into the final 1/4 mile the leader looked to kick from the front and got the rest chasing, having travelled supremely well. Around half of the field were out of the contest and East Tyrone was working hard to keep tabs on this around him. He made steady progress, not losing his position but not gaining either. It did look to be a real test for the 2yo’s and they would need to dig deep.

Still holding sway on the rail, the favourite was now starting to look in trouble passing the 1f marker. The race began to develop more towards the centre and East Tyrone was continuing to find for pressure, on the girths of the new leader. It looked as though East Tyrone would pick up and take the lead but he came up against a brave opponent. Every time Shen looked like he made the move to go by East Tyrone didn’t really knuckle down. The race looked there for the taking but East Tyrone would only just get there in the nick of time, securing the win in the dying strides on the nod.

Now he has got his head in front this might be the building blocks for East Tyrone to go on from. He saw the trip out well but it did look as though he is holding something back, which suggests there could be more to come from him. There are some big nurseries back on the Knavesmire so it would be great if East Tyrone can continue to improve and maybe head back there for the Ebor meeting.

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Sisyphean Bolts Up At The Knavesmire

The horses are in fine form with the winners flowing over the past few weeks. One division that has been impressive all season are the 3yo’s, who have been progressive throughout the season so far. Sisyphean is a horse who was always going to be a work in progress, getting better with time and racing. He certainly showed he had an engine when he destroyed the field by 5 lengths in the 1m George Blades Memorial Handicap at York.

It was on the Knavesmire where Sisyphean started his career, running in the convivial maiden. He wasn’t going to be best as a 2yo but more of a work in progress, developing with time. He showed a decent level of form in three runs before returning as a 3yo and securing a first career win on the the all-weather. Unfortunately he couldn’t build on that when tackling handicap company but was subsequently found to have a wind issue which was immediately dealt with.

Sisyphean had been awarded a friendly mark of 80 and that is what he rained on when heading to York. His home work has always suggested that he would be better than this but the question mark would linger over the wind op just done, would it be the thing hindering him or not. Tom Eaves was on board the 3yo as they took on 8 rivals.

Racing in second, Sisyphean chased a steady early pace after being nudged up to sit in second place. Tom was keen to utilise the colt’s long stride and allow him to stretch. When the leader left a gap up the rail Tom moved up to take over at the front, entering the bend. It wasn’t a crazy pace set as they swung left handed and headed for the home straight.

Rain had been falling all week which eased the ground conditions and left Tom with a decision to make. As they made their way into the straight, Tom made a deliberate move to come towards the stands side rail, where the better ground would be. The field followed suit as they raced down to the last 3f. Sisyphean was striding out in front and began to wind the tempo up. Those in behind started to work their way through to get a crack at the leader.

Entering the final 2f Tom got into his drive, the last jockey to do so. Sisyphean continued to hold the lead but had a swarm of rivals lining him up. Tom now asked for his mount to go and put the race to bed but the colt didn’t immediately do so. The pair were inching their way clear of the field but once they hit the 1f pole, Tom gave him a flick and Sisyphean took off. Within a few strides the advantage doubled and there was no stopping Sisyphean. Quickening and lengthening all the time, Sisyphean powered clear and bolted up by 5 lengths.

This performance was no surprise at all and it is clear that the wind op has done the trick. Sisyphean has always looked a smart horse and he has shown that there is a lot of potential in him. Obviously the handicapper will not take this result lightly and Sisyphean will have to shoulder a big hike in the handicap. On this showing he has definitely given the impression that bigger and better targets could well be within reach.

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Sergeant Wilko Marches To Succes

Progressive 3yo’s are not only an important part of a yard but thoroughly enjoyable to watch. You can never be sure how horses progress from their juvenile season to their adolescent stage. There are some top handicaps on offer for the 3yo generation, over every trip and with great prize money on offer they are ultra competitive. Sergeant Wilko made it 3 from 4 for the year when winning the 6f Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap at Newmarket.

From day one Sergeant Wilko was an imposing horse, built like a sprinter and muscle bound. Despite his size, Wilko was an early 2yo and won on his second start, which led to King Power Racing purchasing the colt. Following that win he was set some stiff tasks in pattern company, and in hindsight it looked as though he was not quite the finished article, maybe a bit more raw than he looked from the outside.

Starting this year off a mark of 78 looked very fair and Sergeant Wilko immediately set about building that up. Winning on his return, over 6f, Wilko showed that he had done well over the winter and also showed he could stay the 6f. Unlucky next time out when carried out at the start, he would bounce right back at Leicester. Winning King Power’s own race, Sergeant Wilko continued on the upgrade and booked his place at Newmarket.

The 13 strong field were a varied bunch, progressive like Wilko or dropping down from a higher grade of race, showing the strength of field. Oisin Murphy rides many of the King Power trained horses and was in the saddle, looking to be positive from the outset. With the field splitting into two groups, Sergeant Wilko led the near side one racing towards the centre of the track. The two groups were racing like tram lines but little separated the leaders as they set a very strong gallop.

By halfway Sergeant Wilko had really stretched the field and as he free wheeled, the pace matinee around the 40mph mark. Oisin was actually one of the first jockeys to start working away as he wound up Wilko passing the 3f pole. Just getting him to lengthen and stretch, Oisin was lining up his run for when they hit the rising ground for the finish.

Continuing the run down into the dip the field were well spread out but it was still Sergeant Wilko who held the advantage. There were plenty of chances as the challengers now started to come through with their runs. Oisin was getting a good tune out of his mount but he really committed for home passing the 2f marker. With rivals looking to strike, it did seem as though Wilko could be a good target for the closers.

He was never passed but Sergeant Wilko had been joined on the far side. Now meeting the riding ground he clocked his rivals and began to edge left handed to maintain his run. Upsides his rival Sergeant Wilko found more and changed his legs to quicken up again. The leading pair had a clear lead but it was Sergeant Wilko who was finishing the strongest. He had been there to be shot at throughout the contest but still proved to be finishing the best. Striding out he took the win by a length.

Sergeant Wilko was impressive here, not only by the way he raced but he also showed a great attitude to repel all challenges and quicken off a very strong gallop. He really had to do it the hard way and in the end he won with a little bit in hand. It is likely that he will get a good rise in the handicap for this and the top heritage handicaps will likely be his future. Sergeant Wilko does hold an entry int he Stewards cup and that may well be under consideration after this display.

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Room Service Back On Track

Successful juveniles don’t always progress as expected but sometimes it just takes a little more time. Room Service always looked to be the type who may progress as a 3yo, with his size and scope. Having had an impressive 2yo season, Room Service was back winning again as he took the 6f Northern Commercials Iveco E-Daily Handicap at Pontefract.

The son of Kodi Bear had just four runs last year including his final winning run at Doncaster in the big Wetherby’s sales race. Run over 6 1/2f, that win suggested that Room Service may get further in the future, which included an entry in the Irish 2000 Guineas. With that in mind he began this season by racing in the Greenham stakes over 7f. Tacky ground didn’t suit but he would drop in trip for his next run, a listed event over 6f. Again he ran well but couldn’t quite land a blow.

Pontefract looked like a track that should really suit Room Service with its stiff finish. The 7 runners were of varying ages, the first time Room Service would be taking on his elders. Drawn in stall 8 didn’t look great but with a deluge of rain it looked as though the track may ride different with a chance of  the field coming away from the far rail.

Tom Eaves took the ride and was immediately asked to work for his fee, with Room Service slowly away and having to be rousted along to join the rest of the field. Racing in the rear of the 7 runners, the 3yo finally got into his rhythm although was carrying his head slightly awkwardly. With a strong pace set the field raced through the first couple of furlongs in a fast time already racing down the back straight and towards the home bend.

Room Service was always just behind the bridle and had to niggled along to keep in contact with the rest of the field. Moving through halfway they race left handed and still Tom was working away but they did move up a spot along the rail. The leaders chose to ignore the rail and started to come more towards the centre of the track as they entered the home straight. Room Service had a clear run up the inside and whilst he was maintaining his position he couldn’t land a blow just yet. Passing the 2f marker Tom got serious and really asked for everything from his mount. For the first time in the race, Room Service began to make some headway but still had the majority of the field ahead of him, albeit closely bunched.

The race was wide open heading down to the final furlong and the long time leader continued to hold sway. Room Service was starting to hit his stride and was gaining momentum as the ground raised up to the stiff finish. Eating up the ground the colt moved up to join a pair of rivals battling for the lead. Now he was at the peak of his run and was finding more the further they went. Initially edging his nose to the lead, the final 50 yards was his best and Room Service pulled clear, securing the win by 1 1/2 lengths.

It is always pleasing to see a smart 2yo get their head back in front as a 3yo. Room Service was set a couple of big tasks and had legitimate excuses for not quite being at his best. This was by no means an easy contest and he came through with flying colours showing that he is a horse who is bordering that handicap/pattern company. You wouldn’t rule out 7f again in the future but he does look like a horse who enjoys a hard run 6f where he can finish, especially when it’s a stiff test. The top handicaps are tough for 3yo’s but that will be his remit for the rest of the year and he should continue to progress in the future.


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Venture Capital Is A Sprinter

Plans have to be adaptable in this sport as horses progress at different rates which means that what suits them can change throughout their career. Venture Capital enjoyed a fruitful autumn/winter, winning a couple of races over 7f and shaping as though he could be one for the handicaps over that far or potentially further. After some good runs, it became clear that the opposite was true and dropping in trip would actually suit. That proved to be the right call as he took the 6f JKR Industrial Cleaning Ltd Handicap at Ayr.

Venture Capital was a slow burner as he took time to really mature into the horse that would be wining races. He did look quite a sharp 2yo lasts season, but his debut run showed that he needed time to mature and develop in his frame. He wouldn’t run again until the autumn, where he would compete on the all-weather. All subsequent runs came at Newcastle and Venture Capital was placed on his return, before going on to win two novice events at the track. Given a break before the 2024 turf season, he looked quite a nice type for competitive 3yo handicaps.

Venture Capital ran well on the turf but it was his latest run at Thirsk which suggested that he may well be a sprinter. Horses can get quicker as they strengthen up and that looked the case with him. Dropping down in trip, it would be the first time that he would be competing against elder rivals. Venture Capital looked the most likely improver in the field, trying the trip for the first time and being far more lightly raced than the older horses. Shane Gray was back in the saddle having partnered him to the previous wins.

Showing bright early speed, Venture Capital took the lead from the off and led the 6 runner field. He was hassled all the way and this led to a fast early pace as they raced through the first furlong. It was good to see Venture Capital being able to lead more experienced sprinters and he was doing son his own terms, travelling in a lovely rhythm.

Little changed as they raced down past halfway but the pace never ceased. Despite having the extra stamina it is hard to know whether that reserve is still there having had to race quicker than they are used to. Racing down to the 2f marker the race changed as those who chased the pace started to struggle. Venture Capital continued to pour it on from the front and was still travelling well. Shane gave his mount a squeeze and looked to capitalise, trying to stretch clear from the front. He got the response he wanted and the pair opened up a clear lead.

Out in front Venture Capital was on his own and passing the 1f marker he held a goof advantage. Shane was asking for everything and was getting all from his mount. There was a late challenge coming from the rear of the field and with Venture Capital just hanging a little, it gave his rival a sniff of victory. Venture Capital was probably just looking for a little bit of company, having been out on his own, and as he sensed the challenge he went again. Finding plenty for pressure, Venture Capital galloped through the one, securing a first turf win by 1/2 length.

It was great to see Venture Capital back in the winner’s circle and he certainly looks a sprinter now. Dropping in trip is not easy and he managed to lead the field from the start. Setting a strong gallop he then managed to quicken off that before battling late on. With this being his first run over this trip, there could be plenty more to come as Venture Capital learns how to be a sprinter.

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Beauty Queen Could Be Quite Special

The Bronte Collection’s colours have become a regular fixture in the winners enclosure over the past few years. In conjunction with Clipper, the syndicate has seen many nice horses, especially in the juvenile division. Having had some success for them, Kevin may have found a classy filly in Beauty Queen who made an impressive debut when running away with the 5f Busstop 70s Disco After Racing EBF Fillies Novice Stakes at Beverley.

Beauty Queen is a daughter of Soldier’s Call and her full brother was  winner for the yard over the winter. Having been prepped for racing before being sent to Kevin, the filly looked the part as soon as she arrived. Immediately it became clear that she also had the ability to match up with her physique as she impressed in her home work.

Starting her career at Beverley, Beauty Queen would line up against 8 rivals. This included a couple of winners, with one of them. being the Hilary Needler debutante winner. Shane Gray was booked for the ride and had a nice draw in the stall 3. Beauty Queen bounced out and was into her stride, although she did take a keen hold early on. It was the experienced runners who took the field along but Shane tracked them through and got his filly settled with cover.

The field quickly raced past halfway and were into the home straight. As they straightened up the ground begins to rise up and passing the 2f marker the leaders looked to stretch clear. With eh tempo increasing the less fancied runners been to struggle and it was the favourite who moved through the lead. Closely followed through by Beauty Queen it was the latter who was going the strangest. Shane switched to the outer and made good headway, with the filly moving up to challenge for the lead.

Beverley has a stiff final furlong and as the race progressed to this part it was clearly a two horse race. Shane had cajoled his filly to this point but now asked for her challenge. Initially she just rolled in a little bit but Shane quickly straightened her up and got her balanced. Beauty Queen now quickened up and opened up an advantage. With her head in front, Shane now kept educating the filly as she stretched clear. The further they went the stronger she was and Beauty Queen won by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths.

Beauty Queen has shown plenty at home and she converted that to the track for her debut. Whilst this performance was expected it is always difficult on their first run. She traveled like the best horse and quickened up well, beating a good yardstick. It looks as though 6f will suit and Beauty Queen looks like she will be taking a step up in grade. With the Group 2 Lowther at York next month, she will be aimed at that and certainly looks like an exciting prospect for that race and the future.

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Jehangeer Takes Local Feature

Pedigrees are very important in racing, they done’t guarantee success but generally a good mare can produce good progeny multiple times. Spasha has been a great mare, producing multiple stakes performers, including the star sprinter Hello Youmzain. His full brother has been progressing with every race and took the feature 6f Wetherbys Global Stallions App Handicap at Thirsk.

Full brother to Hello Youzain, Jehangeer has always been a different physical model. That said he did mange to win on his second start as a 2yo, which lined him up for a crack at pattern company. The Gimcrack maybe came too soon but he rounded off the season with a very goof third place in listed company. He had shown ability throughout his 2yo campaign and always looked likely to improve with time and possibly a touch further.

Returning to action at Newmarket, Jehangeer produced a pleasing run to finish third. Following that run he was gelded and had a minor wind op, keeping him from the track until July where he would head to Thirsk. The 6f contest would see him taking on his elders for the first time and Jehangeer was the unexposed horse battling veterans of the sprint division. Tom Eaves has been flying recently and he was booked for the ride.

Jumping well, Jehangeer was up with the leaders through the early doors. The stalls had been positioned in the centre of the track but with the softer conditions, the field tracked over to the stands side. Jehangeer had a good sit but would come under pressure very early on. After only a couple of furlongs, Tom was beginning to work away on his mount just tom maintain his position.

Having to work hard from so far out wold usual spell disaster but Jehangeer was still in the race as they moved past halfway. Although he had edged backwards, Tom had been pushing along and started to get a response. With the rest of the field beginning  to race Jehangeer could make some progress up the rail. He had maintained a decent spot which meant that he would have a clear run.

The long time leader was maintaining his gallop and very little was getting into contention. Jehangeer was beginning to make ground now, really hitting his top stride. Moving through the field, he was closing along the rail as many began to move backwards.

Jehangeer caught the leader as they moved inside the final furlong, something which looked difficult just 2f ago. Having come through to challenge, he had all the momentum and was really using his long stride. Taking the lead, Jehangeer now started to stretch and pulled away from his rivals. You could see the stamina kicking in and his best part of the race was the final furlong. Pulling clear he took the race by a clear 1 1/2 lengths.

Winning didn’t look a high prospect early in the race but once Jehangeer got into his stride he was powerful in the latter stages. Whether the pace of the race was what caught him out, the performance here looks as though 7f should be no issue in the future. This win was off 92 so it looks as though the top handicaps will be in line for the rest of the year.

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Against The Wind Breezes To Success

Racing can take a bit to grasp, especially for 2yr olds. They are babies taking their first steps into competition and it can be hard. Against The Wind had taken couple of runs to learn but made no mistake at the third try when winning the 5f Winners Wear Slopes Menswear EBF Novice Stakes at Newcastle.

By first season sire Earthlight, Against The Wind had always shown bright promise at home and was one the earlier runners of the season. Starting out at York says exactly what was thought of him but that day he proved too professional. Pinging the lids he raced too well, going a few strides quicker than he really should. Although it wasn’t a win there was definite signs of promise but a step up in trip next didn’t particularly suit.

Northumberland Plate day always offers a good 5f 2yo novice and so that was planned for his next run. Tom Eaves has been in great form of late and was in the saddle once again. The 9 runner field attracted stables from far and wide with a winner also lining up. It was the winner who would take them along in the early stages, but they were always pressed by Against The Wind. The chestnut settled into a lovely rhythm, showing bright speed but in a much more controlled manner.

The leading pair were always in control and they started to get the rest into trouble passing halfway. As the leader looked to stretch the field, Against The Wind went with but with far more authority. Moving away from the favourite, the leading duo opened up a little gap but it was seeing Tom motionless which really caught the eye.

Sitting and waiting, Tom was a statue on board Against The Wind as they bared down on the final furlong. It was a new position for Against The Wind as now he had to quicken up and try to finish the race. The colt edged his nose into the lead and passing the 1f pole, Tom asked him for his effort. Shaken up the pair moved 1/2 length up and Tom now really asked for his effort. Against The Wind took a few strides but the further they went the stronger he looked. With 110 yards to run he began to hit top stride and showed his power. Striding out the colt went further clear and secured the win by 2 lengths.

It was great to see this performance as Against The Wind had been doing so at home. He looks as though racing has really helped and he has matured mentally to Cath up with his physique. Always showing bright speed, the final 1/2 furlong was arguably his best and shows that there is more to come. Now qualifying for a mark, Against The Wind has plenty of options in the coming weeks. Having always shown ability at home, this win could be the building block to bigger things now.

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Bergerac Takes The Gosforth Park Cup

The Northumberland Plate meeting is Newcastle’s biggest of the season and the 3 day festival has plenty of competitive racing. The evening meeting that is sandwiched between two day meetings, offers an array of different races across the card. Bergerac enjoyed a good winter on the all-weather and was back on the surface to take the 5f Jenningsbet In Shiremoor Gosforth Park Handicap.

Having enjoyed a fruitful spell before the turn of the New Year, Bergerac just found his form dropping as he tackled the turf season. He is a horse who enjoys a sound surface so the early season weather may have just hampered him a little. There was an unlucky run at York which suggested a return to form and the all-weather was the perfect option.

Lining up against the same sort of rivals you would expect in this contest, Bergerac was partnered by usual accomplice, Tom Eaves. Breaking from stall 11, Bergerac was always prominent down the near side. Returning to blinkers, the 6yo was racing enthusiastically through the early stages.

With plenty of speed on show, the field blitzed through the first half of the race. Spread across the track there was very little to separate the veteran sprinters as they passed halfway. They got racing at this point and Bergerac me under a drive from Tom as he continued to hold his pitch at the fore of the field.

The race was wide open inside the 2 and Bergerac was making good headway down the near side with the race developing more towards the centre. He has always had the extra stamina, being a winner over 6f, and he was starting to delve into that. Tom knows this as well as everything and had yet to really go all out.

Moving into the final furlong, Tom now asked for maximum effort and he got that in spades. Bergerac took the lead as the central runners gave way. He was up by a length and whilst rivals were closing, they couldn’t overcome the deficit. Galloping all the way to the line, Bergerac kept up his advantage and went on to score by 1/14 lengths.

These races always see similar types coming up against each other and Bergerac has been a mainstay in the class 2 events. When he is on song he is a good sprinter and there are plenty more races for him in the summer months. Having won at York previously, that will certainly be a big target. He has been there and done it so there would be no surprise to see Bergerac land another big prize at some stage this season.

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I Got Soul Bolts Up For First Win

The yellow silks with the black cross of Lorraine will always hold dear memories for the yard when Palace Episode won the Racing Post Trophy back in 2005. Success has continued to follow for the Marnane family, both in the sales ring and on the track. It has been a while since the colours have been carried for the team but I Got Soul shed her maiden tag in fine fashion when running away with the 5f Hampton By Hilton Park Hotel EBF Restricted Fillies Maiden.

Con Manrnane has long been seen as one of the very best breeze up consignors and was one of the first to really set into motion what the sale has become. This year the weather was a big reason as to why the sales saw many unsold lots, with purchasers playing it safe, unable to really judge horses on their merit. I Got Soul is a filly by the red hot sire Havana Grey and she was one who didn’t make the money on which she was valued.

Having been through all her prep she came into training a very professional filly. Making her debut at Wetherby, she showed bright speed over the extended 5f. Dropping back to the minimum trip, she then ran a promising race at York, again showing natural speed but maybe showing signs that the slower ground was not to her liking.

With the two runs under her belt, I Got Soul headed to Hamilton for her third start. Fresh off a Royal Ascot winner, Callum Rodriguez took a first ride for the yard as the pair lined up against 6 rivals. It was an open looking race but soon after leaving the gates, I Got Soul took control. Racing on quick ground for the first time, the grey filly skipped down the hill and immediately went to the front.

There was plenty of pace on throughout the race but I Got Soul was always going best of all, Callum had let the filly bowl along and she happily took him down to the 2f pole. Last to come off the bridle, I Got Soul responded once she got he hurry up from her jockey. Showing her lovely attitude, the filly easily moved through the gears and edged away from her rivals. Callum had yet to ask fro everything but the pair held the advantage and were moving away from the rest.

Holding a length lead running into the final furlong, Callum now asked his filly and with a couple of flicks she pulled clear. Scooting away from her rivals, I Got Soul easily kicked clear and found the uphill finish no problem at all. With the minimum of fuss, I Got Soul secured her first win by an easy 3 1/2 lengths.

It was nice to see I Got Soul get her head in front, she is such a sweet filly who tried very hard and horses like her deserve to win races. Being her third run she will now be eligible for a handicap mark but on this showing, she may well be worth thinking about something a little higher. The win was also very poignant for Kevin, who has been friends with the Marnane family for a long time. The colours used to be carried for Mrs Theresa Marnane who sadly passed away and are now under her daughters Amy and Olivia, who are a major part of the operation. This makes the win all the more important and brings back some wonderful memories from down the years.

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