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Jardine expects prolific winner Sepal to run big race back against females

Sepal wins at Haydock on his penultimate start
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4.05 Nottingham
TBA Centenary Fillies' Handicap l 1m6f l 3yo+ | RUK

Topweight Sepal was denied a five-timer at Haydock last time but is out to make amends in this new all-female contest which is part of the #thisfillycan initiative launched last year by race sponsor the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

Iain Jardine may be targeting much bigger things in Australia next month with Melbourne Cup contender Nakeeta but is hopeful Sepal can bounce back to winning ways in this tight nine-runner affair.

Before coming unstuck last time Sepal had scored at Ayr, Thirsk, Hamilton and Haydock, and she goes particularly well for 7lb claimer Jamie Gormley.

The trainer said: "Sepal's back against her own sex, which might make things a bit easier, and we expect her to run a big race. She came out of her last race at Haydock in excellent form and if they get a bit of rain overnight she should go well again."

Sir Mark Prescott is usually thereabouts in these contests and fields Melinoe, who is one of two course-and-distance winners in the line-up.

Since that game success over James Fanshawe's Master Archer, the daughter of Sea The Stars has twice been narrowly denied, including by the reopposing Fire Jet at Newmarket.

Prescott said: "It's a tight enough race in which a few have met before. Melinoe goes there in good form but in these races it just depends whose turn it is."

Fire Jet has since finished behind Melinoe at Goodwood but may have had excuses.

Her trainer John Mackie said: "She was very disappointing that day but couldn't handle the soft ground. I'm just hoping they don't get too much rain overnight."

Fanshawe is throwing two darts at the board in the shape of Stoney Broke and Return Ace, with Return Ace reverting to handicap company for the first time this year.

The five-year-old finished last of four in a Group 3 at Naas on her most recent outing, but will find this easier.

Fanshawe said: "We're lowering our sights with Return Ace, who is in good form and will appreciate any further rain. Stoney Broke is also in good shape and has been very consistent this year."

Langlauf's trainer Rod Millman said: "I was very disappointed with how she ran at Newmarket last time and she's yet to transfer her all-weather form to the turf. It's a tough race but hopefully she can step up."

Of bottomweight Satisfy, trainer Karl Burke said: "She's a lovely, scopey filly who's not guaranteed to get the trip but we're hopeful she will."

Best of the rest on Wednesday

Petit performance

All eyes will be on Petit Mouchoir, a dual Grade 1 winner over hurdles last season, when he makes his debut over fences against ten rivals in the Bet and Watch Irish & UK Racing Live Beginners Chase (4.10) at Punchestown.

The six-year-old joined Henry de Bromhead last season following owner Gigginstown House Stud's split with Willie Mullins and achieved both his big wins at Leopardstown, where he landed the Ryanair Hurdle in December and Irish Champion Hurdle in January.

He will be making his first appearance since finishing third behind Buveur D'Air and My Tent Or Yours in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and will have Davy Russell on board for the first time.

De Bromhead said: "He seems in good form and we've been happy with him since he came back from his summer break.

"His schooling has gone well and we're looking forward to starting him off. Punchestown is a nice track to start him over fences."

Sheikha Up

Roger Varian was rather stunned that promising filly Sheikha Reika got turned over at 8-13 at Newmarket last time and tries again with the daughter of Shamardal in the 1m½f fillies' maiden at Nottingham (2.30).

The youngster may not have fared badly when caught close home by Stream Song, however, as the winner had shown plenty of early prowess on the Newmarket gallops. Interestingly she herself had previously been turned over at 10-11 at Doncaster.

Fahey hurdler

Richard Fahey may be busy preparing Ribchester for Saturday's QEII at Ascot but he still has time for a relatively rare runner over jumps as he sends out Judge Earle in Wetherby's 2m3½f novice hurdle (3.15).

The five-year-old makes his debut over hurdles having won a bumper at Sedgefield in May, when he turned over 4-9 chance Brecon Hill, who went on to win at Market Rasen.

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She came out of her last race at Haydock in excellent form and if they get a bit of rain overnight she should go well again
E.W. Terms