Fred Kersley does not mind admitting he might have got it wrong when assessing Culverin as a likely WA Derby contender.
“She is a complete surprise packet to me,” Kersley said on TABradio.
“I never expected her to be performing at this level over these distances.
“She is capable and with luck in running can play a part.”
Culverin posted two midweek wins at Ascot over 1400m and 1600m respectively, but it was her third placing in the WA Oaks (2400m) that legitimised her Derby prospects.
The Musket filly finished two lengths adrift of First Impressions, but stuck on well after jockey Shaun McGruddy made a sweeping move to find the front before the turn.
“Her performance in the Oaks was outstanding and in fact all her runs this preparation have been really good,” Kersley said.
“In the Oaks she had to do a bit of work in the run but she was still able to fight out the finish so credit to her.”
Culverin might be the surprise packet but stable mate Cappo D’Oro has been Kersley’s Derby hope since he made his debut last November.
The Medaglia D’Oro gelding has enjoyed a thorough staying preparation and won’t be lacking in fitness after five runs over 2000m.
He ran a sound Derby trial to impress Kersley when third to Who Dat Singa, beaten 2 ¾ lengths, in the Melvista Stakes (2200m).
“I was pretty pleased how he measured up,” Kersley said.
“He is bred to stay and we expect him to perform well at these distances.
“The plan was always to head to the Derby with him.
“He is a horse that will perform over distances.”
Shaun McGruddy will partner Culverin from barrier nine. Cappo D’Oro, in the hands of Steven Parnham, has drawn barrier six.
Kersley said very little separates his pair who are currently quoted $15 with the TAB. Kia Ora Koutou heads the market at $2.40.
Kersley is chasing his second WA Derby success, 13 years after preparing Shirazamatazz in 2003.

RWWA: Julio Santarelli