Trainer David Black admitted he was pleasantly surprised by Kardy’s upset win in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m) at Carnarvon on Saturday.

Kardy was sent out as one of the rank outsiders by punters but he defied his $64 rating to gain direct entry into next fortnight’s Carnarvon Cup (2000m).

The Redoubtable gelding led throughout for apprentice jockey Kate Fitzgerald and withstood a strong challenge from Dimitrius to score by a long-neck.

Tindal was close behind in a bunching finish to run third with only three-and-half lengths separating the first eight runners across the line.

“I was expecting him to run a competitive race and finish in the first five at least but to win was probably above expectations,” said Black.

“He had a few minor issues earlier this campaign but I believe he is reaching his peak and this is the best that I have had him.

“He has pulled up a treat and hasn’t left an oat so I would be mad not to have a go at the Carnarvon Cup and take up the opportunity.”

Fitzgerald picked up the winning mount from Maki Morita and when the backmarkers were challenging she retained her composure.

“She kept her head, never panicked and I was quite impressed,” said Black.

“I like the way she sits low in the saddle and I think she has some ability.

“Maki had ridden Kardy at all of his previous starts this preparation but thought someone else might be able to get the best out of him.”

Black is chasing his second success in the Carnarvon Cup after preparing Ten Degrees two years ago.

“They are pretty similar horses in that they are tough,” said Black.

“They are both one-paced with not much kick but they can make long sustained runs.”

Veteran Perth jockey Danny Miller celebrated an early birthday when he combined with trainer Dennis Couper to post a double.

Miller, who turned 67 on Monday, flashed home late on Major Bligh before going forward and lifting State’s Secret to a narrow victory.

Morita gained minor compensation after leading from barrier-to-post on the Ken Nightingale-trained Brutus Adonis.

Noel Pateman shared the spoils with Couper when he prepared Iconoclast to take out the $20,000 Mt Augustus Tourist Park Sprint (1000m).

He sent punters reeling in the final race when $38 chance Kurrajong Starfire, ridden by son-in-law, Andrew Masters, edged past Fleming Son.

 Julio Santarelli RWWA