Unfashionable Scottish-bred shoots for stars
The John Moore-trained Jacobee has slipped into Derby contention under the radar and probably won't be one of the 'talk horses', but the Scottish-bred four-year-old is used to that.
Scottish-bred? Yes, lining up against blue bloods from some of the great farms of Britain, Europe and Australasia will be a humble Scot-bred who has already stamped himself as an over-performer against that background.
'The breeding industry in Scotland is very small, due mainly to the inclement weather - it always seems to rain,' said Jacobee's breeders, Sandy and Lucille Bone, of the Triple H Stud - a small farm on Scotland's west coast, 32 kilometres from Glasgow.
'The fields are difficult to manage and, with better weather in England, most of the breeding industry in Britain is based there. We have about 14 horses, foals and yearlings. Our pets. Breeding horses for us is still a labour of love, and love it we do.'
Jacobee is the second foal from their mare, Sweet Cando, and they confess, she wasn't a great racehorse.
'She won only once, with many places, but above all, she was a trier with a great attitude to succeed,' said Sandy Bone. 'But her first foal, a filly called Haemeildaeme - a Scottish phrase for those who prefer to stay at home - was Group Two placed and fourth in a Group One in North America.'
The Bones realised they had something special and decided to race the second foal themselves.
Under the name Mr Mahoganeigh, he was an impressive winner when he stepped out for the first time with the world's racing media strangely watching on a minor day at Lingfield - but it was watching someone else.
'It was the day Kieren Fallon returned to riding after three years away, and it was his first ride and he was on the favourite, so everyone wanted to see him win,' recalls Bone. 'We were amazed, but equally not surprised, and of course, little stories like this are what makes the sport so wonderful.'
Mr Mahoganeigh towelled the 13-8 favourite, Rare Malt, and the world looked away again, except for bloodstock agent Alistair Donald, who purchased the horse for Hong Kong.
'She has since further produced a further half sister by Bertolini, who we sold to the US, and we have good hopes for another Ishiguru two-year-old and a strong yearling by Dubai Destination, who we will race,' Bone said. 'And she is in foal to Medeician now - which we hope will top the lot.'
Which might be tough if Jacobee puts the Scottish breeding business on the map on Sunday, in front of his proud breeders, who are making the trek to Sha Tin to see the race.