The jumping career of Marlo Man may have been determined before he was born.
By Elvstroem, Marlo Man is from the Runyon mare Run And Jump and trainer Jackson Pallot came to the realisation the now eight-year-old might be a jumper after his early gallops.
The gelding is one of eight acceptors for the Australian Steeplechase (3400m) at Sandown on Saturday and is coming off a last-start victory over jumps at Ballarat.
Pallot had flat ambitions for Marlo Man but reassessed after watching his first couple of gallops.
“I was sitting with John Blacker in the Seymour stands watching him gallop,” Pallot said.
“He looked at me and said you’ll be a genius if you could win something with him.
“His first two starts he got beaten 20 lengths and I thought he’s just big and dumb and immature.
“He then went and won three starts later at his next prep.
“We always thought he would make a jumper if he could jump as he stays all day.
“We haven’t rushed him, we’ve babied him along, and he’s getting there.”
Marlo Man has won four of his 14 starts over jumps along and two on the flat including one last month on the picnic circuit at Healesville.
Pallot has adopted different tactics this year after Marlo Man ran fifth to Angelology in the corresponding race last year.
Marlo Man is being aimed at the Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat in August.
Pallot said Marlo Man hadn’t had the same grounding he had last year when the Australian Steeplechase was the third jumps start of his campaign.
The trainer is also concerned about the lack of jumps over the final 1000m on Saturday as he’s proven a better performer at Ballarat and Pakenham.
“They jump two in the straight at Ballarat and Pakenham while at Sandown they only jump two in the last 1000 metres,” Pallot said.
“Being the slowest horse on the flat, after jumping the second last, they put him away.
“Our aim this year is the Grand National. It’s run at Ballarat over 4500 metres and it’s typically a bottomless track.
“He does go on everything but the very wet brings everyone else back to his level.”