KOROIT-trained Hornets’ Nest will appreciate dropping back in class from the weight-for-age Feehan Stakes to the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley tonight, according to his trainer James McNamara.
Hornets’ Nest finished less than three lengths behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Melbourne Cup hopeful Fiorente in the Feehan Stakes on September 14 at his last outing.
The lightly-raced six-year-old has pleased McNamara with his work since that run and he is quietly confident for a good run under the lights in the $200,000 group 3 race.
“I’m confident he will run well tonight,” the Koroit milk bar owner said.
“He’s improved since his first up run in the Feehan.
‘‘He had to carry 59 kilograms under the weight-for-age scale in the Feehan.
“He drops back to 54 kilograms in the JRA Cup which is the minimum for the race.
“He’s fit to run out the 2040 metres.
‘‘The distance will present no worries for him.
“I’m pleased he’s drawn barrier 10 as it will allow him to find his feet as he can be slow from the barriers sometimes.”
Hornets’ Nest’s connections decided during the week not to pay the second declaration nomination fee for the horse to run in the $3 million Cox Plate on October 26.
But McNamara has outlined some other feature races for him.
“We’ve earmarked races like the Cranbourne Cup, Geelong Cup, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Zipping Classic for him over the next couple of months,” he said.
“We’ll find our mark with him over his next few runs. I’m pretty confident I’ve got him right again after missing the autumn and winter races.”
Former Warrnambool-based jockey Nikita McLean, who rode Hornets’ Nest in the Feehan, has the ride again in the JRA Cup.
Hornets’ Nest has won four of his eight starts.
Warrnambool trainers Jarrod McLean, Merv McKenzie and the Wilde stable have runners entered for tonight’s meeting.
McLean has entered Blackie in an $80,000 race over 1500 metres.
Bill and Symon Wilde have nominated Lord Wimble for the same race, while King Cotton is in a $55,000 event over 955 metres for McKenzie.