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Diva gives battered Corstens reason to smile

Given his current state, smiling might not be the best thing for Troy Corstens but the Flemington trainer would not have been able to help himself after Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Same Race Multi BM70 Handicap (1300m) at Sandown.

Defiant Diva provided the stable with its first win since Corstens was involved in a serious fall from his bike last Saturday that left him hospitalised for several days. The Group 1 trainer emerged with a severely bloodied face, the result of skull and facial fractures, eyes, nose and teeth injuries and bruising to the brain, while he also received a broken thumb.

Corstens, who trains in partnership with his father Leon, has since been discharged from hospital, but is still a long way away from returning to full duty and Malua Racing’s racing manager Will Larkin hoped Wednesday’s win brightened his recovery.

“It’s obviously been a tough week but hopefully this has lifted him up out of bed and put a smile on his face,” Larkin said.

Defiant Diva, who started $10, registered her fourth win at just her 11th start when she swept home over the top of her rivals to score a 1-1/2-length win over Awapuni Princess ($6), who photo-finished Culily Ace ($17) out of second spot.

It was the second start of the campaign for Defiant Diva, who resumed with a sixth placing over 1200m at Mornington on the Queen’s birthday Monday and Larkin said it was pleasing to see the four-year-old show the improvement they expected.

“She was going really good leading into the first-up run and it looked a bit plain but the way the race was run … nothing really went her way on a Heavy track and her fairness just gave out late,” he said of the daughter of Dissident. “We really thought she’d improve into her second-up up in trip.”

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