GROUP 1-winning jockey Nikita McLean hopes riding Hornets’ Nest in the $300,000 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley today will get her some feature rides at Melbourne’s spring carnival.
McLean, who won the 2007 Emirates Stakes on the Orford-owned Tears I Cry, had her first ride on Hornets’ Nest in a 1200-metre track gallop between races at Warrnambool last Monday.
“I really like the way Hornets’ Nest went in the gallop. He stretched out really good,” she said.
“He hit the line hard at the end of the gallop. His work was very good, especially as he had no bunny to take him into the gallop.
“I know the Dato Stakes is a big jump in class, but you just never know how he might go.
“He had good form 12 months ago. I just hope a forward showing by the horse may keep me in mind for other owners and trainers during the spring.”
Hornets’ Nest’s trainer James McNamara paid the first declaration fee of $1200 on Tuesday for the six-year-old to run in the $3 million Cox Plate on October 26.
“We had to pay the fee last Tuesday but we’ll have a better idea where we go with the horse after running him today,” McNamara said.
“I can’t fault the horse. He’s had a few issues like tearing chest muscles and having a foot abscess over the past few months but he’s over them now.
“I reckon I’ve got him back to where he was last year. His work at Warrnambool last Monday was strong, so we’ve just had to push ahead with him.”
The Koroit milk bar owner said there were various options open for Hornets’ Nest over the next few months if he didn’t go down the Cox Plate path.
Five other Warrnambool-trained horses have accepted for various races at Moonee Valley today.
Jarrod McLean has entered Tee Emar and Smarty Mac over 1600m, Patrick Ryan runs the imported galloper Caroun in a 2500m event and Alan Peterson accepted with Run Diego in a 1000m race.
Ticket To Toorak is down to run in a 1500m race for Matthew Williams.