Raceday Previews & Report

MUSSELBURGH report 15th April 2017

by Gordon Brown

CARBON DATING carried the Partick Thistle colours of Jimmy Long to victory in the first running of the £100,000 totepool Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh.
As his favourite club were losing 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox, 12/1 chance Carbon Dating was being driven to a length and a half success over Keith Dalgleish’s Maleficent Queen by Tadhg O’Shea.
Glasgow-born Long, whose horses run under the Thistle Bloodstock name and are trained in Ireland by Pat Shanahan, said: “We were aiming for a 1-2 as our other horse The Tartan Spartan was an unlucky third.
“It’s fantastic to win the first-ever Queen’s Cup as it’s a piece of history. Carbon Dating was probably unfortunate not to have won during the winter over in Dubai.
“He’s a mile and a half or mile and three-quarter horse and he is worth a step up in class. We might go for a Group 3 race now at somewhere like Chester.”
Sammy Jo Bell gained a 16/1 success under Cullingworth for her boss Richard Fahey in the totepoolliveinfo.com Royal Mile Handicap.
It was also her first win since a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a broken pelvis she suffered at Carlisle last spring.
The first, and opener for the new Flat season in Scotland, went to Phillip Makin-ridden Twin Appeal in the toteplacepot Easter Saturday Handicap.
Excellently Poised, co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, was impressive on his debut in the Conditions Stakes and is two-year-old expected to be good enough for Royal Ascot by trainer Bryan Smart.
Grand National hero One For Arthur was given a warm reception by the crowd when he appeared in the parade riding before racing and punters will also have a chance to see him at Ayr on Scottish Grand National day on Saturday.


KELSO report 10th April 2017

By Gordon Brown

IT was five deep around the paddock at Kelso on Monday as racegoers crammed in to catch a glimpse of Randox Grand National hero One For Arthur.
Enjoying his return to the saddle after Saturday’s big race at Aintree was Derek Fox who said: “I’ve never finished a staying race so strongly – it was like passing parked cars! I actually thought I’d hit the front too soon but he stayed on right to the line.
“Lucinda does a great a job with these staying chasers and he was trained to the minute. It was a great feeling to pass the post in front.”
Scotswell gained his third course and distance win when fairly romping away with the Hunter Real Estate Investment Managers Handicap Chase in the hands of Danny Cook.
The evergreen eleven-year-old comes alive at the borders track where he was twice been runner-up in the Scottish Borders National.
Trainer Harriet Graham, who went on to record at 65/1, said: “He’s probably the favourite horse in the yard and we bred him ourselves as well. He loves Kelso – he was second in October to One For Arthur and that form isn’t working out too bad!”
Leonard Kerr, based close to the defunct racecourse at Bogside, near Irvine, owns and trains Brewin Dolphin Buccleuch Cup winner Havana Jack.
“I’m a semi-retired auctioneer so I’m in he process of taking out a permit now I have more time on my hands,” said Kerr.
Havana Jack was partnered by Ryan Nichol whose brother Craig won the previous race for Inverurie handler Jackie Stephen.


KELSO report 3rd April 2017

by Gordon Brown

A big week for Jimmy Moffatt and Tom Scudamore got off to the best possible start after the pair were on the mark with Morning Royalty and Grace Tara respectively.
Moffatt was first to strike with Morning Royalty who took the Edinburgh Gin Handicap Chase. The Cartmel trainer, due to be represented by Highland Lodge in Saturday’s Grand National, was doubly delighted as Morning Royalty carries the colours of Eileen Milligan, the first owner he secured when taking over the reins from his father Dudley in 2002.
Moffatt said: “We keep getting it wrong over hurdles but considering he’s not very big he jumps fences great. They’ve gone too quick and the race was run to suit as he stays further.”
Scudamore, the man on board Grand National favourite Vieux Lion Rouge, had to keep Grace Tara, trained by brother Michael, up to her work in the mares’ novices’ hurdle.
The jockey admitted: “She’s had a hard season and wasn’t at her best today.”
Purple Harry, available at 16s in places earlier in the day, made a winning debut over fences for Adam Nicol in the Kelso Annual Members Limited Handicap Chase.
The winner is owned by Howard Thompson (brother of broadcaster Derek Thompson) and trained by his partner Tina Jackson who looks after around a dozen horse at their base in the Saltburn area.
Thompson said: “We also bred him so I’m obviously delighted. Tina does all the work on him at home and he has been schooling very well. He is such a nice horse in every way and has a lovely temperament – in fact I’d say he is more human than some humans!
“It would be lovely to go for the Eider at Newcastle next year and we could have two in it as Joseph Mercer is another possible.”
Total Assets, trained at Morpeth by Simon Waugh, gained her fourth course success in the hands of Jedburgh jockey Callum Bewley in the 3m 2f handicap hurdle.


KELSO report 25th March 2017

By Gordon Brown

BIG RIVER gave Lucinda Russell a huge boost at Kelso in the Edinburgh Gin Handicap Hurdle ahead of next month’s £1 million Grand National.
The Arlary House Stables raider carries the black and red colours of Debs Thomson, also the co-owner of live Aintree hope One For Arthur.
Winning 21-year-old Hawick jockey Blair Campbell, gaining his biggest career success in the £23,000 handicap hurdle, said: “He is a dream horse to ride and he loved the ground. It’s been a great month for me and things have been going fantastically well.”
Ten-length runner-up Seeyouatmidnight ran a cracker after an absence of 126 -days on his return to hurdling and Sandy Thomson reported that last year’s Scottish Grand National third is back on schedule for another crack at the Ayr marathon.
There was a sad sequel to the race when six-time Grade 1 winner Reve De Sivola collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack.
And shortly afterwards the retirement was announced of popular Kelso stalwart Knockara Beau, the winner of five races at the borders venue.
Russell completed a double with Forest Des Aigles, a well-backed 11/8 favourite for East Lothian Ray Green
Liam Treadwell, winner of the 2009 Grand National on 100/1 outsider Mon Mome, landed the feature race on Venetia Williams-trained Yala Enki.
“He’s only seven but he could be a National horse for the future. He’s jumped well today and found plenty – he also settled a lot better which helped a lot.”
In a drama-packed 2m 5 novices’ limited handicap chase James Ewart’s Ascot De Bruyere was the only one of the five starters to complete the course under veteran Brian Harding.
There were other wins for Scotland with Harriet Graham-trained Rhymers Stone and Miss Biscotti, a first success for former jockey Gary Rutherford.


Kelso preview and Musselburgh report 24 & 25th March 2017.

by Gordon Brown

SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT is the star turn in front of the ITV Racing cameras at Kelso on Saturday as he tackles the £22,500 Edinburgh Gin Handicap Hurdle.
Sandy Thomson’s stable stalwart faces seven rivals including veteran multiple course winner Knockara Beau, Lucinda Russell’s Big River and Shades Of Midnight.
Greenlaw-based Thomson said: “We also had ‘Midnight’ in the chase but we decided to start him back over hurdles. He wasn’t himself in the Betfair Chase so hopefully this will see him back to where we want him and then on to maybe the Scottish or Irish National.”
George Charlton, trainer of Knockara Beau, said: “He’s 14 now but you wouldn’t know it. He loves Kelso and Cheltenham and he’s given us some great day at both courses.”
Lucy Alexander, who fractured her cheekbone in a crashing fall at Musselburgh several weeks ago, rode her first winner since returning at Haydock on Wednesday as The Wise One scored for James Ewart in the 3m handicap hurdle at the East Lothian venue’s final jumps meeting of the season.
“It’s good to be back and it was the cheekbone that took the time to heal,” Alexander said.
Civil Unrest gained the ninth win of his career when holding Dubai Celebrity by just under two lengths in the hands of Steven Fox to initiate a Ewart double in the 2m handicap hurdle.
Ewart said: “He’s been a brilliant horse. It’s great for a small yard like us and his lovely bunch of owners – it’s bread and butter for us both”.
Scottish trainers Iain Jardine and Stuart Coltherd were also on the mark with Pot Committed and Ash Park respectively.


KELSO report

By Gordon Brown

MOUNT MEWS booked himself a ticket to Aintree next month after his wide-margin strike in the Grade 2 £38,000 totescoop6 Premier Hurdle at Kelso.
Brian Hughes barely moved a muscle as the 11/8 favourite strolled home 49-lengths clear of sole other finisher Chalonnial.
Winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson said: “Things might have fallen apart a bit for some of the others but he could do no more and he now heads for the same novice hurdle that Cyrus Darius won two years ago.
“He’s not a flashy horse or too big but he’s athletic and I really like him a lot.”
The Listed totepoolliveinfo.com Premier Chase went to 8/1 chance Seldom Inn who was the third leg of a 346/1 four-timer on the day for Brian Hughes.
With market principals Tenor Nivernais and Le Mercurey performing below par, Sandy Thomson’s charge won a shade cosily by 21-lengths.
Thomson said: “He will go to Ayr for either the Scottish National or the novices’ handicap chase. He is a better horse fresh so it would matter if we didn’t see him again until Ayr in April.”
Nick Alexander was also on the mark with Clan Legend in the race staged in memory of his late father and The Orange Rogue.
Veteran Brian Harding made a successful return after two months off when Reivers Lad impressed in the opener for Nicky Richards.

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For more information contact Gordon Brown on 07850 258063 for Scottish Racing.

KELSO report from 4th March 2017

By Gordon Brown

MOUNT MEWS booked himself a ticket to Aintree next month after his wide-margin strike in the Grade 2 £38,000 totescoop6 Premier Hurdle at Kelso.
Brian Hughes barely moved a muscle as the 11/8 favourite strolled home 49-lengths clear of sole other finisher Chalonnial.
Winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson said: “Things might have fallen apart a bit for some of the others but he could do no more and he now heads for the same novice hurdle that Cyrus Darius won two years ago.
“He’s not a flashy horse or too big but he’s athletic and I really like him a lot.”
The Listed totepoolliveinfo.com Premier Chase went to 8/1 chance Seldom Inn who was the third leg of a 346/1 four-timer on the day for Brian Hughes.
With market principals Tenor Nivernais and Le Mercurey performing below par, Sandy Thomson’s charge won a shade cosily by 21-lengths.
Thomson said: “He will go to Ayr for either the Scottish National or the novices’ handicap chase. He is a better horse fresh so it would matter if we didn’t see him again until Ayr in April.”
Nick Alexander was also on the mark with Clan Legend in the race staged in memory of his late father and The Orange Rogue.
Veteran Brian Harding made a successful return after two months off when Reivers Lad impressed in the opener for Nicky Richards while Lucinda and Blair Campbell teamed up to land the final race with top-weight Sammy B.

Musselburgh report from 1st March, 2017

By Gordon Brown

WILL KENNEDY produced an amazing recovery to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat on Dear Sire at Musselburgh on Wednesday.
The jockey finished with both feet out of the irons after his Donald McCain-trained mount stumbled on landing after the last in the toteexacta At betfred.com Maiden Hurdle. Kennedy looked sure to be heading for an unseat but he battled against gravity and hauled himself back into the saddle.
He said: “It was my best ever recovery but it was also partly my fault in the first place. Anything is better than ending up on the ground!”
Rachael McDonald rode the second winner of her professional career when Buckled sprung a 12/1 surprise for borders trainer Sandy Thomson in the totequadpot At betfred.com Handicap Hurdle.
Greenlaw-based Thomson said: “All winners are brilliant but it’s even better when they are slightly unexpected. Rachael is so good as she gets horses jumping and settled.
“Buckled had a heavy fall in a chase here on New Year’s Day and I was delighted to see him get up. We came back over hurdles and this will done his confidence no end of good. He’s just grown up a bit.”
Top Cat Henry is heading back to Aintree in April after winning the Totepool Follow Us On Twitter Open Hunters’ Chase for Nick and Kit Alexander.
Alexander senior said: “He was sixth in last year’s Topham and sixth in the 2015 Grand Sefton over the big fences when with Dr Richard Newland. We bought him with Aintree in mind and this time he will be aimed at the Fox Hunter Chase.”
Alizee De Janeiro was the third Scottish winner on the card when winning the last for Lucinda Russell and Grant Cockburn.

Musselburgh preview for 1st March 2017

By Gordon Brown

LUCINDA RUSSELL is hoping for more of the same from January course and distance winner Pulpitarian at Musselburgh on Wednesday.
Carrying the colours of Two Black Labs, the gelding faces nine rivals in the totequadpot At betfred.com Handicap Hurdle.
Miss Russell said: “He came from America and won three races over there before he joined us. The step up to three miles last time was a big factor and hopefully he will go well again. Good ground is key and he has a touch of class and settles well.”
Among the opposition to Pulpitarian are Philip Kirby’s Fakenham winner Improved and Donald McCain-trained Shantou Tiger who has been runner-up three times in a row over course and distance at the East Lothian venue.
John Leadbetter, the trainer of Scotland’s only Grand National winner – 1979 hero Rubstic – saddles Another Dark Rum in the @totepool Follow Us On Twitter Open Hunters’ Chase.
Another interesting contender is Always Tipsy, the winner of his last three point to points and ridden by Henry Morshead, son of former Perth general manager Sam Morshead.

KELSO preview for 16th February 2017

by Gordon Brown

LAST year’s runner-up One For Harry bids to go one better in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Thursday.
Nicky Richards’ Greystoke raider faces just three rivals in the £25,000 feature at the Borders track and his opponents include 14-year-old Knockara Beau who chased home subsequent dual Cheltenham scorer Simonsig in 2012.
“We were second to Top Notch last year and we’re giving it another go,” Richards said. “He’s a decent horse when he runs his race and he won at Wetherby last time despite it not being soft enough so the ground should be fine.”
The field is completed by Dan Skelton’s Born Survivor and and Malcolm Jefferson’s 2015 Grade 2 Aintree winner Cyrus Darius.
Richards and Jeffferson are also represented in the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase with Bernadelli and Firth Of The Clyde respectively.
The four-strong line-up features Grand National entries in the shape of Paul Nicholls’ Saphir De Rhea, who chased home Cole Harden in the 2015 World Hurdle, and Maggio carrying the colours of Scottish owners Douglas Pryde and Jim Beaumont, successful with 2013 Aintree hero Auroras Encore.
Rachael McDonald has her first ride as a professional on Sandy Thomson-trained Rowdy Rocher in the Brewin Dolphin Handicap Hurdle.
The 25-year-old said: “I started giving it some thought after winning the Borders National as I could see myself having more rides against pros than in amateur races and hunter chases. Sandy told to to give it a go and with his support, and hopefully a few more trainers, it will work out ok. You never know until you give it a try and I get on well with ‘Rowdy’ as he won a chase and a hurdle for me at Ayr last month.”



Musselburgh report from 5th February 2017

By Gordon Brown

SAM Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls took Musselburgh by storm on Sunday as they teamed up for a treble supplied by Frodon, San Benedeto and El Bandit.
“It’s been a great effort all round as the team sent up eleven horses over the weekend,” Twiston-Davies said. “It’s a major work when the stable is 400 miles way but it’s been very worthwhile as we had two winners yesterday and three more today.”
Frodon and San Benedeto both made all to land the Scottish Future Champions Chase and Scottish Champion Chase respective while El Bandit was also given a positive ride before rallying close home to pip Arthurs Secret in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
After saddling a winner for the Queen on Saturday, Charlie Longsdon recorded a double courtesy of Brian Hughes-ridden pair Tree Of Liberty and Monbeg Charmer.
The former made all in the opening 2m 3f novices’ hurdle while Monbeg Charmer was never headed in the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Lough Derg Spirit was clipped into 20/1 from 33/1 by the sponsors after an excellent jumping performance under Nico De Boinville in the Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Winning trainer Nicky Henderson said: “We will sit down and have a think of what to do after this but obviously we are delighted. I was a bit nervous after Burbank was beaten in the first race but this horse is a really slick jumper and it was a good performance.”


Musselburgh report/preview – 4th & 5th February 2017

By Gordon Brown
DANCING SHADOW and Noel Fehily stormed to victory in the first running of the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on Saturday.
A first course runner for Devon trainer Victor Dartnall, the 6/1 winner slammed Gonalston Cloud by two and a half lengths.
Fehily, who also struck on Forth Bridge and Whispering Storm to complete a 279/1 treble, said: “He travelled really nice and quickened well for me off a decent pace. He could be more of a Midlands or Scottish National horse this year and the four miler at Cheltenham is another option for him.”
9/1 shot Forth Bridge, carrying the colours of the Queen, landed the Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial for Charlie Longsdon who said: “He’s a nice horse to have and this it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me. He’s in the Triumph Hurdle and he will also be entered in the Fred Winter Hurdle now.”
Harry Cobden rode out his claim after Diego Du Charmil supplied him with his first course success in the Scottish County Hurdle.
Trained by his boss Paul Nicholls, the Somerset raider beat Dominada by five-lengths.
Cobden said: “That was brilliant and he got the fast gallop he needs. He’s a nice big horse and will make a lovely novice chaser next season.”
Lucinda Russell flew the flag for Scotland when Sammy B took the 3m handicap hurdle in the hands of Derek Fox.
Overland Flyer is one of several interesting prospects on parade at Musselburgh on Sunday as he faces six rivals in the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls Somerset raider was a most impressive scorer on his timber debut at Taunton and is currently a top-priced 20/1 for the real thing at Cheltenham next month.
His jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: “I couldn’t believe how far clear we were when I looked round two out. When I gave him a slap he really picked up for me and he should progress again.”
Twiston-Davies and Nicholls also team up with High Secret in the Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Ex-Flat recruit High Secret romped to victory on his hurdles debut at Taunton nine days ago and Nicholls said: “He’s been the most difficult horse I have ever had to get jumping and it was nice to see him win so well.”




Musselburgh Report – Friday 20th January

PROJECT BLUEBOOK followed up his New Year’s Day course and distance success when romping to an impressive victory in the feature race at Musselburgh on Friday.
Ridden by Brian Hughes, the John Quinn-trained gelding beat Mister Kit by an eased down two and a half lengths in the Trial Racing UK For Free Now Handicap Hurdle.
Hughes said: “I’m not getting carried away just yet as there were some well-exposed horses in the race. He did it well enough but only time how strong the form is. He has taken to hurdling well and was a decent horse on the Flat too so we’ll where see he goes from here.”
Project Bluebook is a best-priced 25/1 for both the Triumph Hurdle and Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Tom O’Brien made a full house when landing the Cosmic Case Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on Appy Days. The former champion amateur has now ridden a winner at every jumps venue in Britain.
He said: “She has done it really well and we had a clear run the whole way round. It’s nice to win at all the tracks and the last before here was Ayr.”
Lucinda Russell’s good run continued when Pulpitarian shouldered top-weight to victory under Derek Fox in the Racing UK HD Handicap Hurdle.




Kelso Report – Sunday 15th January

SEEMORELIGHTS sprung a 66/1 upset for Sandy Thomson and amateur rider Ryan Nichol in the D G Pryde Ltd Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso on Sunday.
The Greenlaw raider, making his debut over hurdles, beat evens favourite Red Indian by a length and a half and Thomson said: “I didn’t think he should have been as big a price. He was the last lot to go the ring at Doncaster Sales and it was my wife Quona that picked him out.”
Nichol’s champion conditional younger brother Craig was later on the mark with Bernardelli in the Royal Caledonian Hunt Handicap Chase.
The 11/1 chance was the second leg of a 38/1 double for Nicky Richards who landed the opener with Progress Drive ridden by Stephen Mulqueen.
Richards said of his feature race winner: “I think 2m 4f to 2m 6f on soft ground is what he wants and we put the blinkers back on to keep him interested.”
Lucinda Russell saddled another winner when 12-year-old Bescot Springs scored for the ninth time in his 68-race career in the P & G Allan Catering Handicap Hurdle.
Inverness-born Alexander Thorne was gaining his second win on the veteran and Miss Russell said: “Horses like this are a godsend to trainers like me as all our young lads have learned to ride on him.”


MUSSELBURGH Report – Tuesday 3 January

Keith Dalgleish saddled his first winners of the year after Dream Flyer and Mixboy supplied him with a double at Musselburgh on Tuesday.
The Carluke trainer enjoyed a terrific 2016 when he sent out a personal-best 93 winners made up of 81 on the Flat and 12 over jumps.
He said: “Last year was great and it’s always nice to aim higher. We like to try and improve the quality as well and, although most of the string are for the Flat, we have about a dozen jumpers too.”
With Brian Harding stood down after getting “winded and bruised” in a previous race fall, Craig Nichol came in for the spare ride on impressive Kilmany Cup Handicap Chase scorer Mixboy.
Dalgleish said: “He’s a horse that needs breaks between his races so there are no plans. We will see how he comes out of this but he did it really well.”
Dream Flyer had earlier jumped for fun under Brian Harding in the Alex Donaldson Memorial Handicap Chase.
Brian Hughes completed a treble for the second day running when scoring on Idder, Fattsota and Beyond The Clouds.
The Irishman, fresh from three winners at Ayr on Monday, rode his first five-timer at Musselburgh in November.
Lucinda Russell and James Ewart made it four on the card for Scottish trainers when striking with Superior Command and Landmarque respectively.




MUSSELBURGH Report – 1st January 2017

SUPERB STORY earned himself a tilt at the Champion Hurdle after shouldering top-weight to victory in the feature race at Musselburgh.
Ridden by Harry Skelton and conceding upwards of 9lbs all round, last season’s County Hurdle hero came home half a length ahead of My Manekineko in the totepool Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle.
Winning trainer Dan Skelton said: “That was magic and I am absolutely delighted. He blew up a little towards the finish but he is very good fresh and I kept him fresh after he disappointed at Galway.
“He’ll go straight to Cheltenham now for the Champion Hurdle although we will probably give him an entry in the County Hurdle again. You can’t play jockeys round here so it was better to let him get on with things and the track wouldn’t have suited him ideally.”
Will Kennedy had earlier taken the card by storm when booting home a 314/1 treble on Project Bluebook, Rolling Thunder and Clondaw Kaempfer, the last two trained by Donald McCain.
Brian Ellison-trained Dominada was the easiest winner of the day when storming home by seven lengths in the hands of Megan Carberry in the concluding 2m 3f handicap hurdle.

 Kelso Report – Sunday 4th December 2016

SANDY THOMSON and Jim Beaumont recorded a third straight win in Kelso’s £40,000 Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National after Rachel McDonald guided Harry The Viking to a brilliant victory.
For Thomson and Beaumont, who also co-owned 2013 Aintree hero Auroras Encore, it was an emotional success as they lost two-time winner Neptune Equester at the same track earlier this year.
McDonald, 25, from Selkirk was gaining the biggest success by far of her career after the partnership was left in the lead following the exit at the first by double runner-up Scotswell. In the end the well-backed 5/1 Berwickshire raider, formerly owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, stormed away to beat Carrigdhoun by five-lengths.
Thomson said: “‘Harry’ really jumped for Rachel as he did when they were second at Carlisle last time. She has got to where she has the hard way as she has never had a horse of her own and I am so delighted for her.
“When he lost Neptune Equester here in the spring this was always the plan and Jim has been a great supporter of ours so you couldn’t make it up that we’ve won this three times with two relatively cheap horses. He’s stayed on really well and looked as if he could go round again – he was actually out hunting just the other day too!”
McDonald added: “It’s an amazing feeling. He’s travelled great for me and jumped so good – it’s unbelievable really.”
Aux Ptits Soins 2015 Coral Cup hero opened his account over fences in the John Wade Group Paris Pike Novices’ Chase to continue the great course strike-rate of Paul Nicholls and Sean Bowen.
Brian Hughes, who rode 31 winners in November, took this month’s score to four after riding a treble on Malcolm Jefferson pair Mount Mews and Kelka before scoring on Gas Line Boy for Ian Williams.



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