Derby signs too early for Jacobee, but he is going the right way
Jacobee's second race win may only have been a fairly thin Class Three mile, but the manner of victory in the final event marked him down as another capable of joining his trainer John Moore' bulging classic contingent.
With quite a number of much higher-rated Hong Kong Derby contenders yet to step out for Moore this season, the trainer was in no hurry to talk about Jacobee in those terms, but the gelding is quickly earning his right to be at least considered a participant.
Rounding out a good day at the office for Moore, with First In Command (Darren Beadman) and Irian (Brett Prebble) having scored earlier, Jacobee made it two for Beadman when he overcame a moderate tempo and the top weight to run away with the Lin Fa Shan Handicap (1,600m).
'Truly the difference in him has been gelding him,' Moore said. 'The owners have told me that Jacobee's mother is doing very well as a broodmare, with Group horses in the UK, but one thing the family all have in common is that they are a bit scatterbrained.
'And that was the same with Jacobee last season, but since the gelding operation he is a different horse. He's more relaxed, a delight to work with now.'
While Moore wasn't talking about Derby plans, he admitted the win off a 78 rating would take Jacobee into the 80s in the handicaps and verging on consideration of better races.
'It was a terrific effort to win at the weight,' he said. 'John Size's horse, Hot Shot, was coming off two wins and we were giving him 16 pounds, so it was not going to be easy to beat him, but he's done it well and looks exciting.
'But we'll take him to 1,800m next time and see what happens. There's still quite a bit of water to flow under the bridge before you can talk about a Derby with him but he's going the right way.'
While Jacobee was easy in the betting as big money came for Hot Shot to start favourite ahead of him, Moore's earlier win with First In Command attracted plenty of betting action but not from the stable.
'To be honest, we thought he would need the run,' Moore said. 'We were hopeful to he could run well at 1,000m first time up, but I thought he would benefit from the run. He's a typical Commands horse - he's genuine, he tries his heart out and that's probably what got him across the line.
'But knowing that he will take improvement from that run, I'm looking at him as a horse who will make his way to Class Two and his owner will have a lot of fun with him.'
Punters were deadly accurate in the event, with heavy backing for three horses - First In Command, True Valour and Happy Reunion - and they had little more than a head margin between them at the finish.
The treble took Moore to 16 wins for the season and within sight of the runaway lamplighter, Caspar Fownes on 22 wins.