05/12/2003 12:00AM

Silver Nithi set to return


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Silver Nithi, victorious in last year's Bison City Stakes, will launch her 2003 campaign in an $80,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares on Wednesday at Woodbine.

Silver Nithi came off her maiden win and finished a wide second to Ginger Gold on June 8 in the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks. She captured the July 1 Bison City at Fort Erie but never fired when she ran back 12 days later in the Wilderness Song Stakes.

Silver Nithi subsequently showed she could handle the turf by running second in the Wonder Where Stakes and fourth in the Canadian Handicap, a Grade 2 race. She has been laid up since finishing third in the Maple Leaf Stakes in November.

Emile Ramsammy has the mount on Silver Nithi, who is trained by David Bell.

Entered against Silver Nithi in the 1 1/16-mile race are Night Edition, Winning Chance, Royal Dalliance, Cassia, Langano, and Bala.

Bala, trained by Roger Attfield, could only manage third as the favorite in a similar race on April 26, when she returned from a two-month absence. She was second to heavily favored Lakenheath in the Truly Bound Handicap at Fair Grounds in January. Chantal Sutherland has the call.

Winning Chance was a close second in both the La Lorgnette and Wilderness Song stakes in 2002, when trained by Attfield. A Stronach Stable runner, she was turned over to trainer Danny Vella this year and benefited from an inside speed bias when she won a second-level allowance April 11.

Winning Chance worked a bullet half-mile in 46.40 seconds over the training track last week. She will likely be favored Wednesday with Todd Kabel back in the saddle.

Royal Dalliance defeated Bala in finishing second to Sultry Fluff on April 26, and earned minor awards in several restricted stakes in 2002 for trainer Joanna Iglar-Hughes.

Also running on Wednesday's eight-race are 2001 Canadian champion sprinter Mr. Epperson, who runs with a $62,500 tag in the seventh, and Queen's Plate prospect Timeform, who should be favored in the sixth, an Ontario-sired allowance.

Mr. Epperson, trained by Scott Fairlie, has worked regularly since his seventh-place finish in his seasonal debut in a March 29 optional claimer. An 8-year-old with nearly $900,000 in earnings, he won just once in nine starts in 2002.

Timeform, trained by Mike Mattine, was one of the more accomplished local 2-year-olds in 2002. He was second to Mobil when he debuted in the Simcoe Stakes, and he went on to finish third in the Frost King Stakes before capturing the Kingarvie Stakes.