Lightly tried five-year-old Nelson Park is expected to give a bold account of himself when he kicks off his spring campaign at Ruakaka today.

A two-time Premier meeting winner last preparation, the strapping son of Iffraaj will resume in the A'Fare Caterers Handicap.

"He's one of those horses that you don't mind getting up in the mornings for," Byerley Park trainer Shane Hapeta said. "What he did last time around did us all proud.

"He's a big horse and we were trying to get his head right, he wanted to bolt in his slow work all the time so we changed a few things around and a different routine has worked for him."


Nelson Park won three times earlier this year before he was given a break. "He went out for two months and he's put on 30 kilos, which he's kept on," Hapeta said.

"He trialled up well at Avondale and I would be very surprised if he didn't go a good race."

Nelson Park will be ridden by Mark Du Plessis, who has won on the gelding and who partnered him at the trials last month.

"We'll take it a race at a time and Mark knows the horse so he'll tell us whether we go straight to a mile next time or give him another 1400," Hapeta said. "I would like to get him up to 2000 metres at some stage " I'm sure he'll make it in open class."

- NZ Racing Desk