WELL-BRED youngster Dougs Diva is facing a ‘battle royal’ on Saturday night.
Searching for her maiden win at her seventh appearance in the ‘ring’, Dougs Diva is engaged in The Allwood at Globe Derby.
Bred by the late Doug Webster the two-year-old has been among the placings on three occasions.
Runner-up in her heat, the Geoff Webster-trained daughter of Betterthancheddar has drawn to settle in a prominent position thanks to a favourable draw in the Group One.
Drawn barrier four, Dougs Diva will slot into three with the removal of the emergency.
“She is a handy enough filly which is improving with each race,” Webster said. “I was happy with her run in the heat, and with the extra week to settle in over there she should improve in the Final.
“She will need to improve though as the favourite sat outside us in the heat and was too strong and this time the favourite looks the leader!
“Doug enjoyed wrestling, especially the Divas, which is where the name comes from.
“Unfortunately Doug never got to own a Group One winner, but it will be pretty special if this filly can give him that win as a breeder.
“It’s not going to be easy to wrestle the win from the favourite, but we’ll be doing our best!”
Prepared by premier Victorian horsewoman Emma Stewart, Encipher is an odd-on shot on the strength of her heat success and draw.
In what was her racing debut, Encipher powered her way to a 1:58.7 victory over 1800 metres, with her time 5.1 seconds quicker than Partyatthebeach in winning the second qualifier.
To be driven by Allan McDonough, the daughter of Sunshine Beach has drawn barrier two.
Like Dougs Diva, Encipher moves in a position once the emergency comes out of the equation.
Oddly, the emergency – Elegant - is trained by Webster, who is bemused by her omission from the field.
Elegant finished fifth in the slower heat after being checked, while Betterthan A Kiss, which finished fifth in her qualifier, has gained a berth in the $100,000 feature.
“I don’t understand why she didn’t get a run,” Webster said. “Apparently 12 months ago they decided to only have nine starters in a two-year-old event, which leaves her out as the slowest fifth.
“Surely in a Group One when owners have paid up, they can include both fifth horses!”