Paul Nelson says he's still learning about Proposition.
The Hastings horseman won the Manawatu Steeples with Proposition last start, but he's not taking tomorrow's $33,500 FMG Hawkes Bay Steeples for granted, given how little he knows about the horse.
Nelson has had Proposition only since March and the Manawatu Steeplechase was the first jumping race he has started him in.
"It's probably a lot easier when you've worked a horse up in the jumping game yourself, rather than getting one after it's been educated by someone else," said Nelson.
"I'm still learning what this bloke's capable of."
What Nelson does know is Proposition is capable of winning a major race in his first jumping start in more than two years.
And that he has gone on the right way since.
"I'm very happy with him."
Nelson has won this race twice with No Hero and once with Just A Swagger.
Proposition will again be ridden by Jonathan Riddell, who gave up jumps riding while he was partnering Derby-winning champion 3-year-old Jimmy Choux during the season.
Topweight Climbing High won this race two years ago and was beaten into second in it last year by Yourtheman.
Last start, he almost certainly should have won the McGregor Grant Steeplechase at Ellerslie rather than being beaten less than five lengths by Mr Align.
Climbing High sprinted hard almost from the top of the Hill the last time and was left without a finishing burst when Mr Align came along late.
The flat Hastings track better suits his style of racing and the firmer the track conditions will also help him perform, even though he's not useless in the wet.
Yourtheman, again, has to be the horse to beat.
This will be his first jumping start since being narrowly beaten by his stablemate Counter Punch in the Koral Steeples and Grand National Steeples at Riccarton in August last year.
He is fitter for recent racing and when Mark Oulaghan sets one of his jumpers for a task they don't often miss.
Despite his topweight, Mount Sinai is the go-to horse for the Livamole Hawkes Bay Hurdles.
The 68kg will not make his job easy, but he rarely makes a mistake and that counts for plenty in races such as this.
The only time he made a mistake this preparation almost certainly cost him the Waikato Hurdles.
He got in too close to the last hurdle, landed awkwardly with his hindquarters and couldn't peg back the break Karlos established during the mishap.
Karlos is probably the horse to beat again and at the weights you can make a strong case for him.
Mount Sinai gave Karlos 2kg at Te Rapa and this time has to concede 4kg.
* Meanwhile, further north track conditions are going to play a massive part in the results at Ruakaka.
For example, Tart 'N' Tartan (R7) has won only in heavy conditions and if the good weather in the next few days dries the track, she may not be value.
Trust (R10), showed a massive appreciation of the better (dead) conditions at the last Ruakaka meeting to win stylishly. Similar footing will see her tough to beat again, but showers would be dead against her. She races every bit like a potential stayer and the jump to 2100m is ideal.
James McDonald is going to have another huge day at Ruakaka as he seeks to add to his record 203 winners for the season.
Elle Tresor (R4) could be value. She is under rated and has won both her career fresh starts.
Time Pays (R7) has been placed seven times from nine visits to the races and hasn't always had luck. This time he has a wide gate to stand in his way, but that is not insurmountable.