Trainer James McNamara has confirmed that progressive gelding Hornets’ Nest will step-up significantly in class to contest the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The lightly-raced five-year-old has never previously competed in Melbourne but does have one big scalp to his name – he defeated 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune in the Nifty’s Fabulous Fifty Handicap (2200m) at Warrnambool last October before the popular grey went on to win the Bendigo Cup (2400m), Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), Blamey Stakes (1600m) and P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
Hornet’s Nest has had just one run since his famous victory, after being injured in the Mercedes-Benz Handicap (1400m) at Warrnambool in May, but according to McNamara is progressing well and will be competitive against a strong field this weekend.
“I’ve elected to go in the feature,” McNamara said on Racing Ahead.
“He has had a couple of jump-outs and he is coming along very well.
“Over 1600 against top-quality horses, he will improve out of sight from that and he will be very competitive.”
The step-up to Group 2 level in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes already looks ambitious for the son of High Chaparral but McNamara has a number of even bigger races in mind for the remainder of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hornets’ Nest has been included in the first acceptances for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 and if the gelding does not make it to the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship he may be set for either the Crystal Mile (1600m) or Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day as well as the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on the final day of the 2013 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Hornets’ Nest will be McNamara’s first ever runner in a Group 2 event and he is chasing his first victory as a trainer at a metropolitan track.