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Only one horse in the Grand National Steeplechase at the all-jumps meeting at Ballarat has had fewer race starts than Dormello Mo.

But when it comes to racing over jumps, the Simon Ryan-trained galloper is one of the most experienced.

Of the 35 times Dormello Mo has raced, only once was it on the flat.

That was in a maiden highweight at Warrnambool at his last start which followed three steeplechase victories.

Ryan said because of the seven weeks between a steeplechase win at Casterton last month and the National, the flat run fitted in perfectly.

“Any element of doubt I had about his fitness were removed when he had that run,” Ryan said.

“He didn’t beat much but it showed he’s still racing in good heart and he’s in good form.”

Dormello Mo came to Australia from Europe having had 28 starts, for seven wins.

After a promising third at his Australian debut, Dormello Mo failed to finish the Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank and then finished well back in the Brierly Steeplechase at Warrnambool in May.

“We knocked him back in grade and he picked up a couple of weak races but between his second and third steeple wins he had six weeks and we gave him a couple of weeks off,” Ryan said.

“It seemed to mend his little niggles and he’s come back a different horse.

“In the second of his Casterton wins there was a bit of depth and he had a big weight and I thought that showed he was getting some of that European form back.”

Coinciding with Dormello Mo’s return to form was the engagement of Braidon Small who again has the ride on Sunday.

But Ryan sees a stumbling block, equal topweights, Sea King and Wells.

“His last four runs show he’ll hold his own against the others but they’re the next level,” Ryan said.

“He’s dropping four or five kilos on his wins here and he’s got a couple of years on them in age so he’s got things in his favour if he’s ever going to beat them.

“If they beat him on Sunday, he’s probably not up to them.”

 
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