Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Diva can set the stage at Lingfield

David Elsworth must feel pretty frustrated that Swiss Diva is still a maiden this late in the season but she should take all the beating in the EBF Fund Maiden Stakes at Lingfield.

The two-year-old is a half-sister to Swiss Franc, also trained by Elsworth, who finished second to none other than Henrythenavigator in the Coventry Stakes.

After a less than auspicious start in a Newmarket maiden in June, the filly has not been out of the first three in her subsequent three racecourse appearances, bumping into a couple of decent types along the way.

On the last occasion back at Headquarters, she ran into a really nice prospect of Peter Chapple-Hyam’s in Catskill Mountain.

Admittedly she was sent off the 5-4 favourite to score that day but there was no disgrace in finishing second and even though handicaps are not a possibility, Elsworth must feel she is capable of winning a maiden.

Clive Brittain’s stable stalwart Bahiano can notch up an overdue win in the Forest Row Handicap

The seven-year-old has only won two of his 65 starts but that does not tell the full story for the son of Barathea.

He has won well over £100,000 in prize money having finished placed in a string of big handicaps.

He was rated as high as 102 in 2006 but age has gradually caught up with him and his ability has dipped slightly.

After a string of lacklustre performances he bounced back to form last time when beaten only a head by Amber Queen at Newmarket.

Unbelievably the handicapper has raised him 3lb for that effort which seems extremely harsh, but hopefully he will turn up in similar form and regain the winning thread.

At Kempton, the Digibet.com Conditions Stakes can go the way of Karl Burke’s Confuchias.

Another who has not won for some time - his last victory came in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle in June 2007 - the four-year-old arrives on the back of a massive effort in the Ayr Gold Cup.

Carrying a sizeable weight in heavy ground, he finished third of the 27 runners and has only been raised 1lb.

Burke has wisely given him plenty of time to recover from those exertions and while his ability to handle an all-weather surface has to be taken on trust, the conditions of the race suit him down to the ground.

Donald McCain’s string have taken their time to come to the boil but an across the card double on Saturday has improved matters.

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