EMERGING Koroit-trained stayer Hornet's Nest is back in light work with next year's $200,000 listed Warrnambool Cup (2350 metres) on May 2 the goal of his preparation.
Hornet's Nest swept to prominence when he beat boom galloper Puissance De Lune at his last outing in a $50,000 restricted race over 2200 metres at Warrnambool on October 18 before being sent for a spell.
Puissance De Lune went on to win the Bendigo Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at his next two starts after being beaten by Hornet's Nest and has been installed as the early favourite for the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
Hornet's Nest trainer James McNamara said the five-year-old had thrived with six weeks in the paddock .
"The break has done him the world of good," McNamara said.
"He's stronger than he was when last in work. He deserved the break even though he was in winning form. I work him down at the Killarney beach he seems to love it down there.
"Hornet's Nest was a real headcase when I got him but he slowly came around in his last campaign. But when I got him back into work the other day he was up to his old tricks. He just wants to do things his way. He's very immature ," he said. The 38-year-old hobby trainer parted with $2500 to buy Hornet's Nest at a mixed thoroughbred sale in March .
The horse was forerly trained by Anthony Freedman. He had two starts for Freedman which resulted in last placings over 1620 metres at Mornington and in a 2000-metre race at Werribee before being sold.
Hornet's Nest won his maiden for McNamara at Warrnambool on September 10 before winning a restricted race at Ararat and then the Coleraine Cup before he defeated Puissance De Lune . However, McNamara has distanced himself from the win over Puissance De Lune .
"There's been a lot of hype about Hornet's Nest since he won four consecutive races for me and the hype went to another level with Puissance De Lune winning the Bendigo Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes," he said.
"The only comment I make is we've won four races with him and it's impossible to compare the both horses. I've known all along Hornet's Nest had ability and he has not let us down. Our main aim now is the Warrnambool Cup. It would be a great race to win."
McNamara, who has three horses in work at his Koroit stables, said he would be at the Inglis mixed thoroughbred sale at Oaklands Junction on Friday in a bid to unearth another Hornet's Nest.
ALL roads will lead to the Gold Coast for Warrnambool-trained colt Ticket To Toorak which will run in the $2 million Magic Millions two-year-old classic over 1200 metres on Saturday, January 12.
The two-year-old pleased his trainer Matthew Williams with his second placing in a $200,000 Magic Millions race over 1000 metres at Ballarat last month.
"I thought his run at Ballarat late last month was excellent. It comes on the back of a win at Ballarat in early November," Williams said.
"His fitness is very good. We don't need to give him another run before the $2 million race. We're just freshening him up for the big race. Jamie Mott, who has ridden him in his last two starts has been booked for the $2 million race." Ticket To Toorak has picked up $54,000 in stakemoney for his connections.
Meanwhile, Williams credited his brother Shane for Angel's Gift's win in a 1000-metre maiden at Warrnambool last week.
"She's had niggling strains and muscle problems with her hamstrings. Shane has done a lot of acupuncture work with her," he said.
"The acupuncture seems to do wonders for her. She's a very speedy mare. I think she will run out a strong 1200 metres if we can get her to settle in her races."
SINGLE Warrior will head to the spelling paddock following a visit to the vet to be gelded after he ran last in a field of five in the $30,000 Briseis Gold Cup at Geelong on Sunday.
The five-year-old had won his two previous starts before Sunday's disappointing run but Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell said Single Warrior just never tried in some of his races.
"He put in a shocker at Hamilton a few runs back and then came out and won two on end," Purcell said.
"He'll have a few weeks in the spelling paddock after the operation and then we'll get him ready for a race at the Warrnambool May carnival. "He loves wet tracks. We just hope he gets a wet track for May."
Single Warrior has won six races from his 37 starts.
WARRNAMBOOL co-trainers Bill and Symon Wilde have taken the early lead in the Star of the West trainers' bonus.
The $2000 bonus iws awarded to the trainer who accumulates the highest number of points across the Port Fairy IGA Port Fairy Cup which was run last Thursday, the Mac's Hotel Woodford Cup on December 30 and the Koroit IGA Cup on January 6.
The Wildes have14 points while fellow Warrnambool trainer Jarrod McLean has 10 points. Rockbank mentor Patrick Payne has nine points.
ADELAIDE-based jockey Matthew Neilson took the riding honours at Mount Gambier on Sunday with three winners on the seven-race card. He won on Manarola Magic, Kvinmakel and Royal Kelly.
A well-bred draft of fillies and geldings from Darley will highlight the 2012 December thoroughbred sale at Oaklands Junction on Friday for Inglis Bloodstock.
Fillies by Exceed and Excel, Flying Spur and Commands will be sold while Lonhro, Elusive Quality and Ad Valorem progeny will go under the hammer.
Proven racehorses in the catalogue include Shadowfax, Live-And-Let-Die, Hot Spin, Mushatta and Prussian. The yearling section has yearlings by Not A Single Doubt, Foreplay, Hidden Dragon and Enconsul.
The broodmare section includes a number of mares with foals at foot or in foal to both proven stallions.