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TALK OF THE DAY

BY MAZEPPA.

*#* The St. Clair Park Company has been successfully floated, and a start was made on Monday morning with the formation of a cinder track. When completed, this will, I understand, be let to the Dunedin Amateur Trotting Club (the body that instituted racing at the Carisbrcok ground). Thus we shall have three racing clubs for the immediate district of Dunedin. The track is to be the third of a mile in circumference, or a little larger than that at Lancaster Park. The site is a very suitable one — on the tram line and within a stone's throw of the bsach.

* # * The Forbury course "proper, or, rather, the outer circle of it, being thrown open to trainers on Tuesday morning, some fair work was got through. Shortly after 5 o'clock Loughlin led off by giving Rothamsread and Hanlan a smartish run over- the seven furlong distance, the former having no difficulty in holding bis own without stimulus. Gitano and Pique did a pretty fasb six furlongs. The colt was smartest in gettiDg under way, but Pique set to work earlier than is her wont, and altogether shaped very nicely. They finished together, but if it had been a race Pique would have won. Gitano is a gross colb that wants a lot of work, and I reckon he will be better at Easter than at Dunedin Cup time. Tangi Maid, who is improving fast, did a quiet canter on the tan. Tempest went a mile and three-quarters at a sound pace, beiDg accompanied for the windingup mile by Hippomenes. There was not a great deal, apparently, as between the pair. Both keep very well, and one could not htlp admiring the easy style Hippomenes has of getting over the ground. Waddell sent Napier six furlongs with Remembrance. The last named, a son of Fusilecr and Jealousy, is a nuggety little fellow with a determined way of going, and he seems to be pretty well. So is Napier, in whom the public will find a much improved horse when he puts the colours up. Outpost and Derby galloped six furlongs together at the latter's pace, both moving with liberty. The Changeling did a canter alone and was evidently not himself. Of Leinster the same remark may be made. Lady Mab took Mount Royal for a half-mile flutter. The latter did not impress me very favourably, but Mab, though big, galloped with great freedom. The two Auckland horses, Lochness and Scot Free, were then brought out. They are in the charge of Wilmot, who is, I think, paying his first visit to the Forbury. Lochness, a useful-looking brown, seemed to go a trifle short, but this may be his style when not extended. He was only asked to canter. Scot Free is a plain-looking leDgthy muscular bay with rather a nice style of goiDg, so far as one could judge from what he did that morning, and obviously he is very well.

*#* Mr Dowse has taken a range of 611b in the handicap for the Hurdle Race that opens the Dune din Cup meeting. This is quite as great a difference as there should be, I think, in any handicap — perhaps a trifle more than is justifiable in the present case, seeing that of the two at the minimum Justice is a recent winner and Highland Chief an untried hurdler that may possibly be a second Redleap ; but Norton is &uch. a real gocd one that he would most likely be made first favourite, notwithstanding his weight, if all were to stait All things considered, though, I don't much like these extensive allowances for presumed duffers and heavy penalties on the proved clinkers, but I suppose the handicapper could not have done ! much else, and, taking the weights as we find them, it is not an easy task to pick tho winner. The horse that.l thiDk might have had a little more weight is Magpie, but in raisiDg him Trimolite and Satyr would have to be lilted up at the same time, each of this pair beiDg fasb over hurdles. Trimolite, however, is a doubtful starter; I don't know anything as to Satyr's present form ; and from the information that i6to hand I should say that Norton arid Maggie are as gocd a i.air as couJcl bti picked just now. As to the Steward's Purse 1 hhould tay that Exile, Paramu, Maiiuer, Warriugfou, aud Pique are a dangerous quintett, though it is impossible to form an opinion with anything like confidence till the acceptances appear. On the Tapanui running May seems to bo badly treated in comparison with Mariner. The shorter distance is perhaps in the mare's favour, but if Tapanui results had come to hand in tia\e Mr Dowse would probably have put this pair in at, say, level weights.

# # * A fact remarked on by an American paper is that many of the most famous hor-ts of the trotting tuif were nob appreciated i-nMI sfttr they had arrived at roauu-ity. With a, gnat many the trotting quality was discovered by accident. It is >.>u record that Flora Temple was once sold for J 6no\ ; and the great toare Princess, dam of Happy JVlfdiutn, brought, her breeder about 40d(.1. IVcouy pulled a stage, and Mack likewise. Abdallah I would have been made to haul a fish cirl had not his lofty spirit rebelled at the indignity. Billy Button was used as a runner to force the pace of l\ralto. Goldsmith Maid was once &okl for lOOdol, and tho dam of Ethan Allen was hold at the age of 10 far SSdol. Dutchman worked in a brickyard, £.0 d'd Old Columbus, and Andrew Jackson ftas ioaled in one. Charley

B was used to haul stone up from a quarry by derrick and pulley. Justin Morgan was loag a wheel horse in Vermont. The granddam of Monbars did farm drudgery. The dam of Billy Button hauled a garden truck to market and pulled a milk waggon alternately. Gifford Morgan drew slabs from a sawmill, and was at one time sold for lOOdol. The dam of Flying Morgan was used to peddle woodware. The sire of Rarus was worked to a butcher's cart, aud it is said that the dam of Black Hawk also drew a butcher's cart. The first authentic account of Old Pilot places him in the hands of a Yankee pedlar in New Orleans. The dam of Lady Griswold was used by a patent medicine vendor. The dam of Green Mountain Morgan ground apples in a cider mill. The dam of Taggert's Abdallah drew the waggon of a tin pedlar.

*** A somewhat tame commencement of the Newmarket winter sales was made on December 14, and no very notable prices were made. Amongst the horses in training the highest (820gs) was obtained for the two-year-old Con Amore, the winner of the Final Plate at Manchester, and Lady Kendil fell to Mr John Osborue's b.d of 600gs. On the second day Lord Ha-.liuf.s s«nfc up nearly the whole of his breediig stud, and for many of the brood mares gocd pr cci were realised. The hijjho^t figure so far during the hale was reached when S> r-ny Quern, by M^s'erKildareoutof Violet M< he s ', wei t to Mr Leach for 3400g5, and for a filly f al by Djnovan out of Maiden Be'Je .V.r Wai ace Johnstone gave HOOgs. A la 1 go piopjrlion of the lots catalogued changed hands on the third day, when horses the property of Mr H. Milner, Lord Cadbgan, Colonel North, and the Marquis of Zetland were among those disposed of. The highest price reached was 2100gs, at which figure the brood mare Happy Hampton, by Hampton out of Cantiniere, was taken by Mr Francis. At lOOgs less Ixia, by Springfield out of Crocus, found a new owner, and Bonnie Gal, by Galopin out of Bonnie Doon, went for 1600gs. Small prices were the rule on the fourth day, the highest figuie reached being 800gs, given for the brood mare Princess Iskra, by Robert the Devil from Iskra. The sales were brought to a close on Saturday. The catalogue was a light one, and several of the lots were returned unsold. Kingsclere, by Hampton out of Chevil Grove, was sold to Mr Reeve for lOOOgs, and of Mr Kilsyth's horses in training 600g* was given for Sprightly, 520gs for Helen Ware, and 400gs for King Fox. Euclid did not reach the reserve price, although 1600gs was bid for the winner of the Jubilee Stakts. Altogether the sale was considered a satisfactory one.

*#* This week there is a feeling abroad that the Dunedin Cup is likely to be a more open sorb of race than seemed probable a few days ago. The story goes that Clanranald pulls up lame, and is not certain to stand his preparation, and that Prime Warden cannot be galloped because of fever in the feet. How much — if any — truth there may be in these rumours I am unable to say, but we have the fact before us that neither of the cracks appeared at the C. J C. Summer meetiDg, and this looks suspicious. Partly owing to these reports, and partly to the arrival of Scot Free and the news that Thame will come, the attentions of backers are this week not entirely confined to the two Canterbury horses that were all the rage immediately after the acceptances, and though there is still very lit'le straight-out betting, a wider selection for the Cup is tho fashion so far as doubles are concerned. If anything were to occur to Warden aud Mr Lunu's horse there is little doubt that Thame would be made favourite, though with Scot Free (of whom I think better now that I have seen him) going well, and Tempest keeping sound, and Wyvern making some sort of show at Riccarton, it would be an open race. Cruchfield is not much thought of since his decisive failure in the Midsummer Handicap, bub Awarua Rose is not altogether out of it, there being a possibility that he may improve by the end of the month. In the present uncertain state of things, my advice to backers is to hold off for a week or so till we see the horses assembled at the Forbury. What a good thing Launceston would have looked if it had not been for his nomination arriving too late. He could hardly have been given a weight that would have prevented him being made favourite at this stage. Dilemma's enforced retirement is also hard luck for his owner. Afc his handicap he would now look to have a splendid show if at all well.

*#* In the opinion of one of the leading Erjglish writers, last season's two-year-olds are not, on the whole, of very high class. Certainly on public form it looks as if Isidglass was the best of the whole lot of them, more particularly if we closely examine his running in the Middle Park Plate. He holds an unbeaten certificate. Distinguished for great bone and power rather than for beauty of formation, Isinglass is a bay, standing quite 16hds. He has a small star on the forehead, whilst his near hind heel is white. Good judges hold the opinion that he is rather heavy before the saddle, but his make and shape promise to make him show stamina. He has a good barrel, stauding on short legs, and b.3 is just the colt to make a great three-year-old. The Middle Park runners that he beat were tho bes-t field of two-year-olds that went to the starting post l«ot season, and if Isinglass continues doing well the sportsman will ba a lucky man indeed who has $-.11 animal capable of lowering the colours of Mr M'Calruonb next season. After Isinglass, it is most likely that Meddler was the nwet best colt of the season. This youngster, who is by Sfc. Gatien out of Busybody, has neither the size nor the substanco of tb.e Middle Park Plate winner, but there is plerty of him, aud his height is just a trifle inside 15hds 3in. In colour he is a whole bay with black leg. 5 , and he is a particularly handsome, sound, and well-formed colt. Like bis rival, Isinglass, he holds an unbeaten certificate, and in the same way his best performance was wben he last earned silk. This wis in the Dewhursb Plate, aud, taking the line through Rat barn, he is not so good as Isinglass. In the race over the Bretby»Stakes course the latter gave the Duke of Portland's colt 31b and beat him by nearly three lengths, whereas, a fortnight after, Meddler, couching Raeburn the same weight, coul(l only thrash him by about half a length. Mr Aldington's colt won comfortably, and it may be that Raeburn was coming on rapidly, but Mr Aldington's hr^se will nr-ver beat Isinglass when the latter is thoroughly fil and well.

%* For tho Easier Handicap, bho ricbc&fc prize cm tfce first day of the Cautorbiny Autumn meeting, 44 horses have been nominated, cr ona more than last year, nine above the number m IC9I, and (xactly twice the total of lr_9o.l r _9o. TUs race is bound to become popular, its sliort distance making tha result to a large extent a m.tUtr of luck. A more satisfactory thing :\b..'Ui, Ibc nominations, for this meeting is that tbr mi'ubir for the mile :\r\d a-balf race, the AuVimu H-indit-iip, keeps up ;.o vrfejl. This year the total in oZ, mx fewer than lasi year,

but 10 in excess of the 1891 record, and a dozen ahead of that for the previous year. Sfc. Hippo is in both lists, from which fact it may be gathered that Mr Nathan has not determined to leave the champion on the other side of the Tasman Sea ; and Merganser's name also appears. This mare has not, I hear, been quite herself since the day when she walked away from Merrie England at the Forbury ; but I do not think there is much the matter with her. Stepniak is also among the Autumn Handicap lot, and ib will be interesting to see how Mr Henry handicaps him with St. Hippo. For the Champagne Stakes 15 have paid up, the Otago candidates being Beadonwell and Gitano. Both Outpost and Skirmisher are withdrawn, more's the pity. Their meeting with " Westmere, all fit and well, would have made a race worth seeing. From what I hear I conclude that Skirmisher may not be racing at all at that time of the year. He is growing fast, and Mr Reid has, it is understood, some idea of giving him a spell.

*#* Sydney Turf Club races on the 26th ult. opened with the Hurdles, two miles, in which Fog, the favourite, was beaten out of a place, the winner turning up in Beche-de-mer, a son of the almost forgotten Diver. The Challenge Stakes, a race that cannot be said to bs well named, seeing that it is a handicap, brought out the splendid field of 33 runners. Backers took 5 to 1 Brockleigh 8.2 and a point longer about Buccleugh 7.4, and those who took the pair got on to the winner, for Buccleugh, a four-year-old by Goldsbrough from- Aphrodite, won rather easily at the finish, doing the six furlongs in lmin 15£ sec. Gaytime won the Exchange Plate, a race that is said to have had a fishy look about it, there being but a very feeble opposition to the favourite ; and the ancient Bushman effected a surprise in the Steeplechase, having started at ttns. Thirty-six horses saddled up for the Anniversary Handicap, of 650sovs, a mile and threefurlongs. They gave the starter, Mr T. Watson, no end of trouble, and after the race an example was made of the riders reported for bad behaviour. E. Walker was suspended for three months, H. Conlon for two months, and R. Gough for a month, while English, Jno. Gough, Woodgate, Tierney, Hawley, Parker, Kennedy, Schaafe, Whatham, and Luckman were each find £10 for persistently remaining in front of the post after having been ordered back. Autonomy 8.7 was made favourite at 4 to 1, and Marvel 10 0, Sunshine 8.9, and Attalus 7.0 were quoted at 10 to 1, Florrie 8.7 being at 12 to 1. Refuse and Vespasia piloted the field past Oxenhain's, with King Olaf next. The latter took command at the mile post, with Refuse, Autonomy, and Marvel next in front of a great cluster, and so they raced along the back to the six furlongs post. Here Luna took the command, which she held to the five furlongs post, where Autonomy was on her girths. Autonomy got his head in front at the half-mile post, and, holding his own, won by half a length from Dan O'Connor, who was two lengths in advance of Sunshine. Time, 2min 25sec. The Nursery Handicap was captured by La Perouee, a daughter of Trenton and Rosedale.

*#* London Sportsman has an account of a remarkable race run at Plumpton on December 17. For the Ovingdean Steeplechase of three miles there were three competitors, Sea Wall, Arran, and Covert Side, ridden respectively by Mr Atkinson, Mr Gale, and Mr C. Thompson. The latter gentleman's mount was a most unmangeable brute, and on the way to the post tried all it could to get rid of its rider. So little chance was Covert Side considered to have that 20 to 1 was offered, 6 to 1 was laid against Arran, and odds of 5 to 1 were laid on Sea Wall, who was looked upon as something like a certainty. Soon after the start, Covert Side again showed his temper. Mr Thompson, however, managed to keep him at his work for about a mile and a-half of the journey, but the •' mad horse" was now a long way behind and still showing temper. With an apparently hopeless chance Mr Thompson gave up aU hope and returned with Covert Side to the paddock. Sea Wall and Arran had gone about two miles, taking the jumps in fairly good style, when Arran fell with Gale at a fence in the meadow at the back of the stand. The favourite had now only ta complete the course and win the race, which was all over bar shouting. Half a mile from home, however, thsre was the open ditch. Here the favourite stopped, and, try all Mr Atkinson could, Sea Wall would not have it. Time after time did the horse refuse, and with Arran hors de combat, and Covert Side in the paddock, it looked as if the race would perforce be declared void. In response to loudly repeated requests from the stands and enclosures, Mr Thomson brought out Covert Side again, and the horse by this time beiDg in a little better temper, his rider managed to get him over the course and ultimately reach the favourite. Backers of the latter thought that, with a lead given him, Sea Wall would after all now manage to win ; but Covert Side took the jump and Sea Wall remained behind. Mr Thompson on Covert Side then completed the course, and met with an enthusiastic and hearty reception from the public who considered it a very plucky ride. There was some talk of an objection, but there was no second to object. The stewards declared it a race.

*%* On Thursday last I went to the Warrington stud farm to have a look at the yearlings which are to be offered this month. Thanks to the courtesy of the Hon. Gr. Bl'Lean and to the civility of his trusted servant, Mr James Dobbin, the holiday was made a most enjoyable one, and I have to tender my acknowledgment for the welcome extended. The first of the yearlings led out for inspection was the son of Rubezahl and Lady Emma— a stylish-looking dark brown, almost a black, standing 15 hands and a quarter of an inch, and proportioned in all ways to his uore than average stature. Knowing of the relationship, one can readily detect points of similarity between this yearling and his full brother Dilemma, particularly about tie shoulders, back, and quarters; but the youngster willbe much thebigger of thepair when he has done growing. His impressive appearance and the remarkable liberty he shows in cantering round his paddock ma\ be taken as indications that he will furnish into a longstriding horse, up to weight, and gifted with high courage. I think a great -deal of him. Another ( f the batch that is sure to bring bids in the sale ring is Mountain Lily's colt by St. Clair. He is a hard-looking bay of about the Fame tint as his sire, shading off to black below tbe thighs, and without a spot of white bar a tiny {.peck in the middle of the foreht-ad. This celt stands fully 15 hands, and from every point of view exhibits the substance and quality that oug might expect from across of the stout Tot ira blood with that of the high- caste Musket. He is big enough and strong enough to grow into a steeplechaser, and yet there is not a particle of coarseness about him. As the only one of the St Clairs left among the Warrington yeai lings he is safu to command a fair price. The third colb brought under notice was the chestnut by Gorton — Malice, therefore brother to thai speiidy mart) Pique. Malice's stock are all fast, and iv this cue, if looks and temperament are a guide, wo have a youngster that,v7ill bs more^eliable than

some members of the family. He has a particularly honest-looking head, and is as playful as a kitten. A biggish colt in every point of measurement, and one that will stand looking at all round without showing a weak spot, he is just the sort to grow into what we understand by the phrase "A good poor man's horse" — that is, one that will^race to-day and to-morrow and then do his darnedest the next day. A better set of legs than he has could not be wished for.

*** Of the three fillies, the biggest, and perhaps the best, is the one by Gorton from Lady Gertrude. Her brother Blizzard, who is known by his deeds in Australia as well as in his native country, was a mere rat by comparison ;at the same age. This filly is already well set i up, and by all appearances should race pretty early in her career. The filly by Rubezahl from Lady Evelyn is one of the short-legged, lengthy sort, in these characteristics taking strongly after her dam, who was a very showy mare when in racing condition. Though low to the wither, this filly would come out well from an all-round tape measurement, and she seems to be altogether a nice mare that should not be difficult to train. A fullness on each side of the nose somewhat mars her countenance, but in profile she has a pretty head, and ir-deed will bear inspection trom every point of view. The filly by Gdrton from Indolence, a chestnut of fair size, has so far escaped the plainness of other members of the family, and, viewed by herself, she would be called a likelylooking youngster. So she . is. It is only by comparison with the Lady Gertrude filly, with which she was running at the time, that she seems light. These are the six yearlings that will engage the chief attention of buyers at the sale, and I feel safe in saying that when they are led out Dobbin will be complimented on the excellent appearance they present. They make the best lot we have ever had frotn Warrington, and that is saying a good deal. There is another on the catalogue, a geldiDg by Don Pedro from Kate Kelly, but I did not see him, being in a hurry to look over themares and foals. These are all doing exceptionally well. Old Malice appears to have •'renewed her youth" to some extent, and Lady Emma looks none the worse for her matronly duties, while in Lady Gertrude, Lady Evelyn, and the other pillars of the farm wa have a collection of splendid mares, any one of which may throw a second Carbine. The foals, also, are doing famously. The colt by Maxim from Lady Evelyn is a very strong and lively customer, of fair size for his age, though he looks small when seen alongside the older foals of Mountain Lily and Lady Gertrude, who saw the light very early in the season. Lady Florence, the sister to Pique that missed last year, is now believed to be in foal to St. Clair.

*r* The all-round betting seen on the Hornby Welter, the race that began the Canterbury Summer meeting, showed that the handicapper had properly puzzled the knowing ones, who could not, as the result proved, pick it in three. One would have thought that the mere fact of Derrett having the mount would have brought more support to Dora than she received, tor Bob is in great form this season ; but the filly's chief credentials were remembered to be her Oaks success, in which she met a terribly bad lot, and this choked off some who rather liked her appearance. What happened was that she won easily, with her Oak< weight up, in time that if maintained would be equal to 2min 42min for the Oaks distance. The Middlepark Plate was specially interesting to Otagons, inasmuch as in it the St. Clair colt Beadonwell was challenging some of the best of the northerners without asking any concession from them. He went out second favourite, and ran well, but, owiDg in some degree to a momentary stumble, he failed to get a place, though close up. It is not suggested, however, that he. would have won under any circumstances with Strowan in the field. The latter had precious little to spare at the finish, but he did get home, and his j victory is the more creditable in the light of the fact that he was lyirig rather far away from the leaders in the earlier stages of the race, holding them too cheaply, so far as I can make out. Strowan is the eighth two-year-old to win the Plate — the only three-year-old wimiers were Russley and Rose Argent — and his time is the best bar that of Carbine's in 1888. The latter did his six furlongs in lmin 15£ sec. The Midsummer Handicap result shows that on the day Lauuceston was not only good enough to win but to give away weight to everything opposed to him. By the criterion of the weight-for-age scale he was conceding Crackshot fib, Cruchfield 81b, Merrie England 9ib, Retina 12lb, Liberator 161b, Cajolery 201b, Wyvern 241b, and Awarua Rose 301b. Still the party backed him with open confidence, and he won without beiog put at high pressure. This may he counted a good performance, though the time was nothing wonderful, being, indeed, only equal to Sultan's in 1890. Bui; 2min 40sec at Riccarton with the course dry is not really so faßt as 2min 40sec at, say, the Forbury or the Hutt, and it was certainly a severe disappointment to Retina's followers that she should have made such a poor show. At one part of the race she was actually leading, so her defeat is not to be attributed to blocking, and, moreover, we may once and for all dismiss the theory preached by sotne that she is a terror to beat when she once gets in front. I am afraid that she must be written down as another of the contingent of unreliables. In regard to the Selling Race I ma^r remark that the inside dividend was £8 Is and the outside £12 18s. The reverse of this was telegraphed, and the matter is of importance inasmuch as wagers at a distance follow the price on the inside machine. Heather Bell's time in the Craven Plate is fast, but l-^sec- slower than the colony's record made in the same race by Ruby in 1888. It is a race that is generally pretty fast. Prior to Ruby's exhibition, Maligner's record [in the same race was the fastest. Dunoon, winner of the Interval Stakes, is a daughter of Bundoora and Roseneath, and Melusina, who finished second, was one of the Oaks field last November. The Post Handicap looked a pretty open race on paper, but backers spotted the right one pretty accurately — they generally do make a good selection for these Canterbury farewell races — and at the finish there was very little in it but the winner. The amouut passed through the totalisafcors during the day was £3227, or £42 less than last year.

*#* A record was made in the Addiugton Plate, a harness race over three miles, at the Canterbury Trotting Club's meeting last Thursday, Mr Berry's Stonewall Jackson, said to be a brother to Contractor, showing a gait of Bmin 14-eec, the best pace yet seen in harness in this colony. The doer i-> a fivt. -year-old. A youog horse with speed of tbal kind would pay for a special preparation with the view of further encroaching upon time if th-.re was anything to go for. So would Otago's Tommy and Contractor, and horses such as Rams and Dakota, anJ possibly Tikaro. When trotting is a bit better established we shall have substantial purses for championship meetings and purses lor exhibition rates, of speed. Then will be the time for he arte horses, to go off the track and make rouia for racers. And that time iscomiDg. Breeding in beginning to make itself felt, and

of the successful sires this Berlin that gave us Stonewall Jackson, of whom we are speaking, is one of the very best. Another of his get, the aged mare Pauline, won a mile race in saddle the same afternoon in the decent time of 2min 49£ sec for the mile, Stonewall Jackson failing to concede her 9sec. As to the other results : Regina 9sec was an easy first in the Maiden Saddle Handicap, but being disqualified for a cross the stake went to Rosewood 153 ec (dividend, £3 18s) ; Geordie won the Maiden Harness Handicap and paid £18 17s 6d ; Stockholm went the two miles in the Stewards' Class smin 27isec and returned the handsome bonanza of £31 7s to his backers; Newlyn Maid effected a surprise in the Pony Handicap, paying £16 2s 6d and distancing aU tbe others ; Wangaloo won the Disposal Stakes ; and Edwards' Fairy pulled off the prize in the Telegraph Stakes. The dividends averaged £10 6s l£d taking the whole day.

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TALK OF THE DAY, Otago Witness, Issue 2033, 9 February 1893

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TALK OF THE DAY Otago Witness, Issue 2033, 9 February 1893

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