Weight is the key for Jacobee
Jacobee has been a constant source of surprise to trainer John Moore this season, but the four-year-old won't shock anybody if he confirms his Derby claims with a win in the Group Three Jebsen Centenary Vase (1,800m) at Sha Tin today.
After being nervy last season, Jacobee has transformed this season simply by relaxing better in his races and gives in-form lightweight rider Greg Cheyne (pictured) a powerful chance to score his biggest Hong Kong win.
Jacobee has strung together three straight wins over this distance and last time at 2,000m to make his way up the grades and establish himself as a Derby contender. A win would set him on the same path as 2001 Derby winner Industrial Pioneer and 2005 Derby champion Vengeance Of Rain.
Both were able to win the Centenary Vase under light weights on the way to the Derby and the weight structure is the biggest thing in Jacobee's favour again.
For instance, he lines up against the first two from last year's Derby, Super Satin and Super Pistachio, but will be in receipt of 15 pounds and six pounds respectively from them.
Jacobee was probably assisted in running out 2,000m last start by being held up in the straight, as the pace was strong and a number of other runners were disadvantaged by the tempo and tired late as the chance came for Jacobee to run on.
He got through late to claim a win that probably didn't answer definitively how well he runs out 2,000m, but he comes back to 1,800m - at which he is unbeaten - and drops sharply from the 128-pound handicap he carried to victory in that last run.
Perhaps the one trick to winning is his draw of eight in the field of 11, but if Cheyne can slot into a two-wide spot in midfield, Jacobee should have too much in hand under these weights.
Key to whether he gets in will be the speed in the race, but Jacobee will be helped by the presence of three regular front-runners in Super Pistachio, Sight Winner and his stablemate, Mighty High (Darren Beadman), who also looks his greatest danger.
Neil Callan was asked to ride Mighty High with cover at Happy Valley last time when second and that might not have been the ideal tactic for a horse who travels keenly. He should be back to his more suitable front-running role this time.
Jacobee has been a transformed runner, winning four times and collecting a cool: $2.66m