Platoon has delivered on the promise he has always shown, breaking through for a dominant win in the J.C. Roberts Stakes (1800m) at Ascot this afternoon.
The Playing God gelding had blacktype placings to his name as a two-year-old, but was yet to prove himself at the same level as a three-year-old.
However, Platoon was switched on today and delivered a career-best performance under the guidance of jockey Steven Parnham.
The pace was solid throughout the $100,000 event thanks to Hyberspace and Cockney Crew, while the Neville Parnham-trained Platoon settled towards the rear of the field.
Cockney Crew fought on bravely, as did Blackwood River, who was also on speed, but they couldn’t hold out Platoon in the closing stages.
Starting at the lucrative odds of $17 with TABtouch, Platoon scored by two lengths to Regal Power and Blackwood River.
Lex Piper Stakes winner Regal Power ran on well from the back of the field, with jockey William Pike lamenting a missed opportunity post-race.
Jockey Parnham said Platoon still had more upside left in him going towards the Derby, a race his sire finished second in 2011.
“He’s got to learn to settle a bit more,” he said.
“I think he was still improving into today’s run and I’d like to think that there’s still a bit left in him.
“To win on one of his (Playing God) babies is quite special and hopefully there’s more.”
TABtouch now have Platoon a $6.50 chance for the WATC Derby on April 13, behind Regal Power ($3.20).
In the Listed Natasha Stakes (2200m) for the fillies, Adornment from the powerful Grant and Alana Williams stable was the short-priced favourite, but she was upstaged by bargain buy Jedaffair.
Trainer Adam Durrant forecast earlier in the week there would be a bit more pace in the Natasha Stakes than there was in the Ascot 1000 Guineas and the tactic paid off as the tough filly recorded her third win in 13 starts.
Jedaffair scored by a long-neck to fellow outsider Ping Me Another and stablemate Assetro.
Adornment was unplaced after she settled last in running.
Jedaffair’s owner Wes Martin, who also owned Agent Pippa, said he was stunned by the result.
“We did not expect that,” he told The Races WA.
“Weeks ago we were over the sprinting journey and we didn’t know what we had.
“So we thought let’s step her up and see what she’s got.”
Durrant said he was pleased with the run of Assetro as well and felt she would be his leading hope in the Group 3 WA Oaks on March 30.
Dark Choice, fourth in the Natasha Stakes, replaced Adornment as the TABtouch favourite for the Oaks at $3.80.
Adornment is now a $4 chance, while Assetro ($6), Jedaffair ($6.50) and Lady Sass ($6.50) are also well in the market.
Meanwhile, the Mark Bairstow stable has continued it’s excellent form, teaming up with jockey Mitchell Pateman to record a winning double with Dam Ready and Special Delivery.