The Grant Plumbing Wellington Steeplechase (5500m) holds some great memories for Hastings trainer Paul Nelson and he hopes to add another victory in the race at Trentham on Saturday.
Nelson has been one of Hawke's Bay's top trainers for many years, concentrating mainly on jumpers and has produced well in excess of 200 winners since he started training in the mid-1970s. His first major success came in the 1987 Wellington Steeplechase with Storm.
"It does bring back some wonderful memories. It has happened a couple of times (winning the race) but it has been a long time since the first one in 1987," he said.
"Most of those in the riding ranks wouldn't have been born then. We have been very lucky."
Nelson, who trains in partnership with Corrina McDougal, will line-up Perry Mason and Zardetto in the feature jumps race.
Perry Mason will head into tomorrow off the back of winning the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase (4800m) at Hastings last month and Nelson said the nine-year-old son of Zed has come into his own as an older horse.
"His Hawke's Bay Steeples run hasn't done him any harm," Nelson said.
"The track will be good on the inside and then when you hit the straight we could be working, but he seems to handle both types of going.
"We were lucky enough to get him from Sylvia Kay and when we got him she said we won't see the best of him till he is eight or nine.
"She said it had been a very slow maturing family all the way through and it has probably proved that with this horse."
Prior to his victory at Hastings, Perry Mason finished runner-up in the McGregor Grant Steeplechase (4150m) at Ellerslie and Nelson has been pleased with his progress over the winter months.
"His run in the McGregor Grant was really good, it was his first steeplechase for the winter. He then backed it up at Hawke's Bay," he said.
"His form this season from July on has been pretty nice and he has been impeccable. It is another race on Saturday, but we are hoping he can go just as well again."
The stable will also line-up Zardetto, who finished third to his stablemate in the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase, and Nelson is expecting a similar result this weekend.
"We are happy with him," Nelson said. "He galloped on Tuesday morning and it was probably the best he has galloped this time in."
Iain Hyndman's Trentham Tips
1: Zedace, Coconut, Porotene Magnum
2: Handsome Blue, Summer Warrior, Tittletattle
3: Gallante, Bad Boy Brown, Laekeeper
4: Tabard, Paddy Bourke, Perfect Harmonee
5: Perry Mason, Chocolate Fish, Gagarin
6: Richard Of Yorke, Look Out, Sylvester
7: Mauna Kea, Our Bandit, Dolcetto
8: Tavis Court, Manolo, Dolmar
Best Bet: Handsome Blue (R2)
– NZ Racing Desk