Trainer Neville Parnham is expecting significant improvement from stable star Platoon in Saturday’s Listed Seacorp-Grandstand Cup (1500m) at Ascot.

The four-year-old made an encouraging return when third to Free Trade in the Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on March 4.

Parnham said the gelding had taken significant improvement from the first-up performance and was pleased with how he worked on Saturday.

“He worked as good as I’ve ever seen him work,” he told TABradio.

“I think we’re very positive with him.

“We know that he’s got that ability with a victory over Regal Power in the J.C. Roberts Stakes last year and obviously that form has proven pretty good.

“I think he went in there a little bit in need of the run in the Bunbury Stakes.

“He will strip a lot fitter horse on Saturday.”

Platoon has drawn barrier eight for the $100,000 feature, a race that has assembled a strong field including Lindsey Smith’s recent stable acquisition and cult-hero Tom Melbourne.

Listed winners Tellem We’re Comin and Pushin’ Shapes are also engaged in the event.

Parnham did have plans to take Platoon to the east coast following his third placing to Regal Power in last year’s Group 1 Railway Stakes.

However, he indicated he would start the son of Playing God in both the Grandstand Cup and Listed Old Comrade Stakes (1600m) next month and put travel plans on hold.

Parnham will also have representation in the Listed Amelia Park-Perth Stakes (1100m) through Magnus colt Brooklyn Pier.

The two-year-old encounters Magic Millions winner Gemma’s Son in the $100,000 feature and Parnham didn’t rule out his charge causing a boil over.

“He galloped the other morning with Captain Burglar, who trialled very well on Monday,” he said.

“He had him covered pretty easily so he’s right on track.

“He doesn’t have the experience of Gemma’s Son…he’s the horse we’ve got to beat.

“It will be a good guide to seeing what his future chances are in the Karrakatta.

“The promise he has shown me on the track and obviously in a race now certainly shows me he’s capable of stepping up to the mark.”

Saturday’s Ascot meeting gets underway at 12.50pm and will be held behind closed doors in accordance with the measures put in place by RWWA against the COVID-19 case.

Tim Walker