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Raleigh Spring Premier features veterans and new teams

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Raleigh Spring Premier Horse Show featured battles between veteran competitors and new teams to put on an awesome display of why the Carolinas circuit is considered by many to be one of the toughest in the country.

It seems that each year, the Raleigh Spring Premier Horse Show draws owners, trainers and exhibitors in droves to Raleigh for the early season event. This year's show was even bigger and better than ever.

Barns from all over the country brought more than 325 horses for first rate competition at the Governor James B. Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh. Manager Ray Cloninger worked hard to accommodate exhibitors needs and there was a full slate of classes and divisions offered each day. While the Hackney Pony and Morgan divisions and Roadster Horse division were somewhat light, the three-and five-gaited divisions, as well as pleasure divisions across the board were extremely competitive and gave the fans plenty to cheer about.

Raleigh kicks off the season for some and provides a follow up to the ASAC show for others. Whatever the case, everyone came this year with their “game on” and put on a show to be proud of.

When it was all said and done, more than 40 barns went home with grand championship, championship and reserve championship titles and represented more than 20 states.

Cloninger was aided by his capable staff that kept things working like a well oiled machine. Assistant Manager Joyce Wilson and secretary Barbara Woodlief kept the office running well.

Saddlebred, Hackney and Roadster judge E. H. Matthews and Morgan and Equitation judge Lisa Waller were capably assisted in center ring by veteran ringmaster William Whitley. Wyatt Lilly announced the classes and Mr. Dale Stone Jr., set everything to music.

Mary Lynn Whitley was the USEF Steward and Dan Shirley handled the paddock duties and Horse Videos served as videographer. Wayne Murray was seldom called to center ring for cast shoes and therefore, had to keep himself busy with customer requests before and after the show.

Steve Wilson was the grounds and stable superintendent, and Apex Animal Hospital provided veterinary services.

Hospitality is always a big part of the Spring Premier, and owners, trainers and exhibitors enjoyed the food and camaraderie at Thursday evening’s welcome party sponsored by the show, as well as the horse show-sponsored exhibitors party on Friday night. Longtime participants of the show, Ingleside Farm and Magnolia Stables also sponsored Saturday night’s Tail’s Inn party and Saturday afternoon’s Youth Pizza Party, respectively. Harry and Mary Daughtry, as they have for many years, provided coffee, donuts and pastries each morning.

A silent auction and a 50/50 raffle benefiting the Carolina Futurity, raised much needed funds and Sharon Pyes went home to New Hampshire with $490.00, her share of the 50/50 raffle prize money.

The great competition and full slate of classes for Saddlebreds, Morgans, Hackneys, Roadsters, Equitation and Academy riders draws new people each year and keeps longtime supporters coming back. The result was a great show but a very, very long day each day with almost every session lasting upwards of four hours. Waller and Matthews kept things moving and the great footing kept shoes on but the sheer volume of classes made for long days and long nights.

In addition, the Carolinas are known for a large and well-run academy division which meant that there were lots of young riders competing in the division, which is always good news and bodes a great future for the industry. There was not an excessive amount of splits in the academy classes but the Saturday afternoon session ran almost right up to show time Saturday night. That made for a very long day for everyone and prevented many from having time to change clothes or eat dinner in between, not to mention prepare their horses for Saturday night.

Having a big turnout at a show is always the “A” answer but it does present challenges of its own. ASAC and Blue Ridge Classic, for example, with so much growth in the last few years, have added an extra day to the schedule. The World’s Championship Horse Show struggles with what to do with so many horses and classes each and every year as the sessions get longer and longer.

In general, it seems that people are willing to take it in stride and appreciate having so many opportunities to show and great competition, and the show certainly provided both. Five-Gaited

Some how, some way, no matter how many horses show up, the Carolina shows always seem to have a way of turning out an extremely entertaining Five-Gaited Stake. This year was no exception. After a great weekend of stellar performances by many, many teams, four horses came through the gate for the stake to close out the competition.

Gary Garone, riding Caramac’s Bogart, met Mary Marcum Orr and Attache’s Crown Royal, Warhawk’s RoHo with Steve Hanks and Studcor Donatello with Lewis Eckard.

All four horses came through the gate looking powerful and ready for the challenge. Each entry earned their share of applause and soon a true battle erupted between the junior champion Crown Royal and amateur champion Donatello. The two trainers made pass after pass in front of the big crowd, each trying to outdo the other one. Eckard, a master at keeping a horse in the clear and in front of the judge, found Orr and Crown Royal on his heels every step of the way.

Coming out of the turns, each horse took turns on the inside to show off for Matthews. Every trip down the straightaway got the crowd wound up even more and fans on both sides worked hard to let it be known which of the four horses they were cheering for.

Caramac’s Bogart and Warhawk’s RoHo were busy entertaining the crowd as well with solid performances. Both Garone and Hanks put their horses through all five gaits and in a good spot throughout the class.

When the class lined up to strip, the crowd was at a fever pitch as Matthews walked the lineup. As always, everyone had their own ideas about which way it would go. When announcer Wyatt Lilly got the judges card, some of them were right.

Attache’s Crown Royal got the nod for owner Vickie Byrd and Mary Marcum Orr prepared to gather the powerful gelding together for the victory pass. Eckard and the South African gelding left the ring to a huge ovation for owner Talley Harris who had ridden to the amateur blue ribbon. Garone and Bogart took third for owners Emily Hess and Southwood Partners and the stallion Warhawk’s RoHo was fourth for Betty Lou Herter.

Lewis Eckard took Harlem's Black Orchid to the winner's circle in the open class, showing for owner Beverly Kaczwara and besting a pair of entries for the victory.

Mary Lou Greenwell piloted Heir’s Cotton Candy WRF to the win in the Ladies Five-Gaited class for owner Marian Dobbs.

After a six-entry qualifier won by Studcor Donatello and Talley Harris, three teams returned for the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake. Robin Mackenzie Vuillermet rode Callaway’s English Toffee to the tricolor victory. He’s Too Much and Rick Daigle claimed the reserve grand championship title from Fairfield South.

Lauren Pyes and Forty Second Street Gal topped three other teams for the win in the very entertaining Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor Stake. Sarah Longworth rode CH Diamond’s Hope to the win in the qualifier and returned in the stake for the reserve grand championship.

Callaway’s Four Leaf Clover won the seven-entry novice class for owner Cherie Hawley and Hawley Tool Sales.

Kate Bryan catch-rode Champagne In Winter for a sweep of the five-gaited pony division for owner Rebecca Deutsch. Jewelled Star and Rebekah Cloninger were the reserve grand champions. Three-Gaited

The three-gaited division featured an average of four or five entries in most classes including the open division.

Smith Lilly and Mountainview’s Prom Queen met Latte and Steve Gassen, CH Man On The Run and Brooke Vander Spuy and Gary Garone with I’m Sky High for the Three-Gaited Stake.

The proven group put on a great show for the crowd and drew their share of fan support but when the card was turned in, it was open champion I’m Sky High taking the tricolor ribbon for owner Rick Daigle. Winner of the ladies class, CH Man On The Run left the ring to a big show of support for the reserve grand championship effort for Lenox Stables.

Stonecroft Front and Center and Leslie Bovenzi put together the winning team effort in the Amateur Three-Gaited Stake and topped a strong group of four other contenders under the direction of Mercer Springs Farm. Aimee Austin and Woulda Coulda Shoulda, after a strong performance in the qualifier for the win, finished with the reserve tricolor in the stake for Magnolia Stables.

Allison Combs and her Just Special won the 14-17 junior exhibitor class and returned in the juvenile stake to take the winning trip for Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Shires and Combs. Irish Charisma and Madison Bissette were reserve grand champions for Anne Bissette. Callaway’s One In A Million and Melissa Swain won the 13 and under juvenile class for Jodie Swain.

Leslie Tickle was up on junior horse champion The Attache Orchid for owner Sue Nifong to top a pair of fellow competitors.

Callaway’s Viscount and Katherine Randall took both victory passes in the Three-Gaited Pony Stake and qualifier for owner Brookdale Farm. Cameo’s Carte Blanche and owner Anna Drew Jackson claimed the Three-Gaited Pony Reserve Grand Championship title.

The park division was quite large and competitive and the junior exhibitors faced the biggest classes of the division, with 10 entries in their stake class.

Six teams came through the gate for the Three-Gaited Park Stake and put on a great show for the crowd. Detached and Lewis Eckard, after winning the eight-entry open qualifier for owner Susan Harris, were unstoppable on their way to the tricolor victory pass. Spirited Edition, with Alexandra Lilly riding for owner Delores Barker, was crowned the reserve grand champion.

Town Cat and Brenda Paawe-Navori went straight to the top of the class in the seven-entry amateur stake. Bluebonnet’s Wild Thing has been a familiar contender in several different divisions and teamed up with Shannon Harris for a successful appearance in the park division. The pair exited the ring with the reserve tricolor for owner Joy Bowman.

The new team of Callaway’s Northern Fling and Heather Walston won the amateur qualifier and finished ahead of eight other teams for the victory.

Adrienne Fitch and CH Wing’s Main Attraction swept the juvenile division with the win in the 10-entry juvenile stake and 11-entry qualifier. CH Absolutely A Lady, now teamed with Nikki Lawing, was the reserve winner in the stake for owner Diane Lawing.

I’m The Real Deal, a winner in harness with owner Allie Wellington, claimed the top three finish in the stake with Sarah Longworth.

Fine Harness Catalytic and Susan Hollowell gave Cash Lovell Stables their second open grand championship title when they teamed up for the win in the Fine Harness Championship and open class.

Callaway’s Whirligig and Sue Spann were reserve grand champions from Cricket Hill. Roadster

Jeb Boyd and Exit 80 were uncontested in the Road Horse Championship and qualifier but that didn’t stop them from turning it on at speed and making the shavings fly. Steve Hanks met the pair in the winner’s circle to prepare for both victory passes.

Mary Lou Greenwell went to the winner’s circle with Vivacious in the Road Horse Under Saddle class for owner Ben McDaniel to close out the division.

Cappuccino claimed three victories for owner Brenda Kelly. Trainer Steve Gassen was in the bike for the win in the Roadster Pony Championship and then Kelly was behind the lines herself for the win in the amateur championship and amateur qualifier. Razz-Ma-Tazz and Lewis Eckard were reserve in the open championship for owner Karl Bridgeman.

Fitz’s Something Special and Dr. John Tye took the reserve tricolor in the amateur stake and Let’s Take A Chance claimed the blue ribbon in the open qualifier with Midge Hunt catch-driving for owner Kathy Humphries.

Heartland Painted Creation and Jeb Boyd turned in the winning effort in the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Championship which was one of the best classes of the roadster division. The young drivers performed like veterans and worked hard to impress judge Matthews.

Dun Haven Grandiose and Rebekah Cloninger claimed the reserve title in the juvenile championship, and Zildjian was the winner of the qualifier with owner Connor Leith.

Rich Campbell and Maureen Lydon teamed up to put several winners in the ring including UPHA Roadster Pony Classic champion Mezzaluna Magic. Lydon, showing under the Majestic Oaks banner, drove for Rudy and Sharon Lewis.

The two competitors in the under saddle division switched places for the championship and qualifier. John Glenn and Morgan Feimster took the tricolor victory pass and Hanna Norwood rode Daddy’s Little Girl to the qualifier win before claiming the reserve grand championship title.

Hackney and Harness

Hawkeye’s Dark Angel and Maureen Lydon won the Open Harness Pony class for Rudy and Sharon Lewis and swept the Hackney Pony Championship and open class with Black Merlin. Breezeland’s Moon & Stars was reserve in the championship with owner Charles Leonard driving.

Four pleasure driving ponies competed in both their championship and qualifier and Matchmaker and Carolyn Daigle were the team to beat in the championship. Cracker Jack and Jennifer Garison were reserve for owner Iris Garison of G & I Broodmare Farm. Sharon Lewis drove for the win in the qualifier with Clever Disguise. Pleasure

The pleasure division featured big, competitive classes and definitely proved to be a formidable early season test for competitors.

The Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship was a great class, with nine entries, after an equally entertaining 10-entry qualifier. CH LA Wing Victory and Kate Ryan were the team to beat in both classes under the direction of Gary Guz.

She’s Fancy Free, with Brooke Jacobs up for owner Lindsey Powers, finished with the reserve tricolor.

Allison Combs and her new horse Summit Up won the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship amongst good company from five other teams. Winner of the qualifier, Social Worth, was reserve with Pam Austin riding from Magnolia Stables.

My Southern Charm topped two nice classes in the park pleasure division. Alexandra Lilly rode to the winner’s circle in the Park Pleasure Stake and eight-entry qualifier for owner Platinum Stock Farm. Yorktown’s Last Contract and Steve Hanks were reserve in the championship for owner Elizabeth Wilson.

Manhattan Avenue was the junior champion with Greg O’Kelley up for Susan Orton.

Four nice three-year-olds competed in their park pleasure class and Lisa Lucas went to the winner’s circle with the Fish N Fun Farm owned and bred Nureyev’s Pandora.

The adults faced the biggest classes in the show pleasure division and they worked hard to steer clear of the crowd and stay in a good spot to impress Matthews. Force Majeure and Julie Simmons impressed Matthews enough to be named the grand champions in the competitive 10-entry adult championship. Manhattan Tee Time followed up the win in the 11-entry qualifier with the reserve finish. Mojave and Paul Otto teamed up for the top three finish in the championship.

The junior exhibitors were split by age and CH It’s Yabba Dabba Doo Time was victorious twice with Sydney Carter. Carter rode to the winner’s circle in the 14-17 championship and 14-17 class for Susan Carter.

Kate Bryan was in the irons of reserve grand champion The Flame Thrower for Dr. Hugh and Marion Bryan.

Over Achiever and Katie Morrison topped the eight-entry 13 and under class before returning in the five-entry championship for the win. CH Callaway’s Publicist and Caroline Rose were reserve grand champions.

Scotty’s Lace and Emily Garrity moved way up in the ribbons to take the tricolor win in the 12 and Under Walk and Trot Pleasure Championship. Rock The Night and Allison Womack put together the reserve grand championship effort under the direction of Margaret Gardiner. Kingswood On The Heir and Kim Mueller won the six-entry qualifier.

Manhattan Tee Time and Deana Edwards Gilliam were victorious in the amateur trained class. Jennifer Layton topped the novice rider class with her mount Longshadow’s Moody Blue.

David Cater was up on The Princess Dianna for the win in the Three-Gaited Pleasure Prospect Four and Under class. Cater rode for owner Heather Thompson.

A trio of pleasure ponies competed in their stake and qualifier and Fox’s Dancing Fire and Drew Taylor Hewitt went to the top of the class both times. Bay Of Fizz and Samantha Babeau finished with the reserve tricolor.

Harlem’s Babe Ruth and Susan Whittington claimed the win in the three-entry Show Pleasure Driving Championship under the Summer Chase banner. New York Entertainer and Jan Beardsley Blanco won the qualifier from Fairfield South and returned in the championship to take the reserve ribbon.

Holly Wilson drove Callaway’s North Wind to the winner’s circle in the ASHAF Show Pleasure Driving Youth Challenge class for owner Dr. Matthew Wilson.

The adults and younger age group riders faced the biggest classes of the country pleasure division which was overall quite competitive and featured numerous strong performances.

She’s Exquisite and Dr. Jennifer Makem moved way up in the ribbons to top the eight-entry Adult Country Pleasure Championship with the winning team effort. Lady Mysterious and Marion Bryan also moved up in the ribbons with a solid effort for the reserve grand championship title.

Mark and Mary Lou Greenwell directed Santana’s Montana and Dr. Holly Ackerman to the win in the adult qualifier.

CH Future Treasure, with new rider Victoria Woodruff, was the 14-17 grand champion and champion for owner Vonda Goff. Carolina Clay and Kaitlyn Whatley were able to team up for the reserve title in the 14-17 championship.

With 12 entries in their qualifier, the younger age group faced one of the biggest classes of the show and enormous competition. Leatherwood’s Fanfare and Stephanie Miller proved that they were up for the challenge and they went to the winner’s circle in both the 13 and under championship and qualifier under the direction of Mercer Springs.

CH Santana’s Night Moves and Jane Garrity were the reserve grand champions for Lee and Cathy Garrity and CH Hey Covington took the yellow streamers with Caitlin Leith up for owner Heather Boodey.

Luanne Kilday rode Harlem’s Night At The Apollo to the blue ribbon in the amateur trained class.

The novice riders also faced a big group in their performance in front of E.H. Matthews. Ten teams came through the gate but did a good job presenting their horses. Magnificent Illusion and Tracy Kobs were victorious in the big class.

My Chesapeake Bay and owner Ruth Shelton won the Country Pleasure Driving Championship under the direction of Joy Bowman. Reserve grand champion One Moore Harlem came into the stake with Carolyn Lawson as the blue ribbon winner of the qualifier.

Rum Tum Tigger and Luanne Kilday continued their winning streak in the western country pleasure division with the wins in the big Western Country Pleasure Championship and even bigger eight-entry qualifier. Sky Lite City won the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure class with Fahlon Faithful before finishing with the reserve tricolor.

LH Rah Roaring Review and Judith Gandarillas won the two-entry Hunter Country Pleasure class. Equitation

The equitation division didn't feature big classes but it still represented a big challenge as several young riders faced their first equitation competitions of the season.

Maeve Tibbetts, riding her new mount Court Dance, was the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion and Lauren Lagasse, on her new mount Tigger Too, was the reserve grand champion. Jamie Cruz and her new teammate HVK Latin Wild won the 14-17 class and Lagasse won the 13 and under class. All three girls rode under the direction of Lisa Jensen at Cricket Hill.

Tiny seven-year-old Allison Gann was a powerhouse in the 10 and under walk and trot class in her first show out of academy. Riding steady-as-a-rock Betcha Can, Gann won the class under the direction of Liz McBride-Jones of Forever Farm.

Ashley Stine and Elke Trilla, both directed by Gary and Marsha Garone, were one and two, respectively, in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal class. Stine rode Sultan's Savannah Anna for the win and Trilla was up on her mount Rosewood's Potpourri.

Brooke Jacobs won the adult medal and adult challenge cup with CH Bright Lights RWF and it's a good thing. Traveling from Kentucky to compete in the classes, the Jacobs family, from Werk Way Stables, would have been hard pressed to find another adult qualifier elsewhere in the country if she had been unable to qualify at Raleigh, as the adult classes have been removed from the schedule at several shows for the 2005 season.

Megan Stephens was reserve in both classes with Stately Heir.

Jamie Cruz won the UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup and was followed in the ribbons by Elke Trilla. Ashley Stine and Lauren Lagasse were one and two, respectively, in the 13 and under challenge cup.

Gann followed up her 10 and under equitation win with the victory in the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup. Kaitlin Wakefield and Picture Perfectte were reserve.

Elke Trilla won the NHS Good Hands Saddle Seat Event and was followed in the ribbons by Jamie Cruz

Maeve Tibbetts added two more ribbons to her total with the win in the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Medallion and UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. Lauren Lagasse was reserve in the medallion class.

Seven of the littlest riders displayed their skills in the Lead Line class. Chloe Wright, Emily Williams, Corbin Bumgardner, Caisson Gray, Gabriel Jones, Connor Kocis and Kiera Kocis all proudly left the ring with their blue ribbons and a big ovation by the crowd. Morgan and Friesian

Arboria Invictus and Andree´ Vetrano went home with both the Morgan Park Harness tricolor and the park saddle victory under the direction of Ken and Diana Swanson at Tara Farm.

Krista Dent, riding Red Zone for owner Lynn Peeples, was thrilled when the chestnut Morgan was called out as the English Pleasure Grand Champion. The Heartbeat, a veteran campaigner in the Carolinas, was reserve with Jackie Graebner up for owner Donna Arnette. Midge Hunt directed the reserve grand champions.

AKM Manhattan was nearly unstoppable at the Spring Premier. Dent was up for the win in the open class and owner Sally Lawing took over for both wins in the amateur english pleasure division.

AMHF Absolut Celebration and Julie Humphreys added the ladies win to the Tara Farm total before finishing with the reserve tricolor in the Amateur English Pleasure Championship.

Pam Austin and her gaited pleasure mount Social Worth had a great weekend in Raleigh and Austin had a blast showing Med-E-Oka Nobel Prize to a sweep of the junior exhibitor english pleasure division for Holly Johnson. A star in harness, Nobel Prize and Austin topped three other entries in the championship and four other teams in the qualifier.

Chelsea Flynt and AFF Elusive Dream turned in the reserve grand championship effort in the juvenile championship under the direction of Jason Harrell of LaMirage Stables.

JAJ Capriole's Sir Walter and Susannah Sykes teamed up and went to the winner's circle in the 12 and under walk and trot pleasure class for the Susan Sykes family.

Jason Harrell was in the irons for two winning rides aboard WS Our Celebrity Belle. Belle won the Junior English Pleasure Championship and qualifier for Debbie Hemingway and RTH Farms.

Captivation of Fox Ridge closed out the english pleasure division with the win in the limit horse class. Beth Kelley rode for owner Martha Perry.

Hollybrook Indian Brave and Mary Daughtry were three for three in the pleasure driving division. They won the Pleasure Driving Championship, open class and amateur class and did not show back in the amateur championship.

After winning the junior exhibitor driving class, HVK Primary Light and Carl Johnson were victorious in the amateur championship to add two more wins to the Tara Farm total.

Glorious Answer and Natalie Tetterton took the reserve title in the championship for owner Connie Marshburn, directed by LaMirage.

Susan Whittington drove CB Allante to the Junior Horse Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier wins for owner Carol Addison of Summer Chase Farm.

Sally Lawing wasn't done winning tricolor ribbons. She added the tricolor from the Classic Pleasure Championship to her total when Strike It Rich was named the winner. The pair came into the championship having won the open class.

Coalition Royal Billing and June Davis, of Down East Farm, finished in the number two slot in the Classic Pleasure Championship.

CB Chick-A-Boom and Lindsey Newsom turned in the winning team effort in both the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Championship and qualifier to add two more wins to the Summer Chase total.

Owner Dr. Kim Blackwell had plenty to be thrilled about with the birth of her child less than a week before the horse show, but she was thrilled as well when Hylee's Galileo won the limit horse class with Rebecca Roberson.

Tara's War Eagle and Frances Pugh won both classic pleasure driving classes. Hollybrook Independence and Cathy Minard were reserve in the championship for 21st Century Morgans.

Salem Total Eclipse and Elizabeth Abernathy was the Western Pleasure Grand Champion and was followed in the ribbons by open class winner GVF Radiant Command and Joe Anne Jones.

Treble's Wild Fire took every other blue ribbon offered in the western pleasure division with both trainer Tristanne Childress of Flintlock Farm and owner Barbara Duell Hewitt.

Childress rode to the wins in the ladies and limit/junior classes and Hewitt was up for the win in the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship and qualifier as well as the amateur owner to ride class.

Salem Total Eclipse and Elizabeth Abernathy were the amateur reserve grand champions.

Susannah Sykes wasn't the only one winning ribbons with JAJ Capriole's Sir Walter. Emory Sykes rode to the winner's circle in the Hunter Pleasure Championship, amateur championship, amateur qualifier and junior exhibitor class.

GI Joe My Hero won the limit horse class with Sonja Duke up for owner Kelsey Moore.

Avery Myers and Brief Encounter won the Walk and Trot 12 and Under Equitation class and Susannah Sykes was reserve.

Gouke M. and Gail Walton, the only Friesian competitors at the show, drew lots of applause from the crowd for their two solo performances from Woodbridge Farm. The pair performed in the Friesian Under Saddle Walk and Trot class and the under saddle championship exhibition.

The Raleigh Spring Premier was a terrific horse show. Competitors, whether longtime teammates or new combinations, were able to compete in classes that weren't so deep that they were intimidating, but were deep enough to make everyone feel like a strong effort was needed to win or in some cases, to get a ribbon.

Some divisions were light, the sessions could have been a little shorter and hey, the weather could have been a lot warmer, but this early season showcase displayed Southern Hospitality at its best and a true effort on the part of the staff to make owners and trainers alike want to return year after year.

This highlights the Raleigh Spring Premier Horse Show.

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