Jacob’s super six!
Racing resumed in Britain on Wednesday after a week's hiatus caused by what does appear in hindsight to have been an over-reaction to the equine flu outbreak, and Daryl Jacob had a starring role at Wincanton on Saturday with a fine treble and a couple of seconds.
Jacob had seven rides for six different trainers and certainly showed he is very much in demand as Cheltenham approaches.
He won the £25k Betway Handicap Chase cosily on the well-backed Magic Saint (11/10) for Paul Nicholls, who had eight winners across England on Saturday.
He followed up in the £25k Listed Betway mares' chase with a 15-length romp on Atlanta Blaze (9/4) for Henry Daly ahead of Molly Childers (6/4f).
He completed his treble in a three-mile plus handicap chase on Sandhurst Lad (3/1f) for Warren Greatrex, but this one was much harder work as he fought back to win by less than a length.
Jacob was at Wincanton primarily to ride two for his retained owners, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, but ironically he had to accept second on both.
In the £60k feature he was fancied on Sceau Royal (11/10f) for Alan King, but they were outbattled by the Nicholls-trained Grand Sancy (4/1), and Ballykan (8/1), trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, was well beaten by Some Chaos (7/2) for Michael Scudamore.
He had a couple of winners over the previous two days also, on hot-shot We Have a Dream (1/4f) at Kelso on Friday for Nicky Henderson, and by a neck after a good ride on Generous Jack (15/8) at Fakenham on Thursday for Simon Best.
He made it six wins and three seconds in five days from his 13 rides after the resumption on Miss Amelia (2/1) at Market Rasen on Sunday, a remarkable return for the Davidstown man.
At home, we had to wait until quite late on Sunday at Navan for the local highlight, with Barry O'Neill, champion point-to-point jockey, scoring a track double in impressive style with two chance rides for Gordon Elliott, taking over from the suspended Jamie Codd.
In the Simon Munir colours usually sported by Daryl Jacob, O'Neill coasted to a convincing win in the Hunter Chase on Ucello Conti (4/7f), following up on an equally impressive win a month ago at Thurles when O'Neill subbed for the then injured Codd.
The eleven-year-old had switched from the track to win his point-to-point at Aghabullogue under Derek O'Connor a week before that.
Barry completed his double in the Navan bumper on Sunday aboard Thatsy (10/11), a horse that must come into the reckoning for the Cheltenham champion bumper such was the nonchalant ease of his win and the confidence oozed by O'Neill.
Thatsy had won a point-to-point at Lingstown last March under James Walsh when handled by Donnchadh Doyle and was sold at the Tattersalls sale in Cheltenham for £130,000 a month later.
It was a nice bit of business for Doyle's Monbeg operation as he had bought the horse at the Goffs Landrover sale in June, 2017, for €47,000.
O'Neill had ridden a couple at the Kildare point-to-point at Punchestown before heading off to Navan, including a winner.
Ironically, the day had not started well as he was on the Colin Bowe-trained, Gigginstown-owned Living Boy An Co in the first but had to pull up after a bad error.
It has been a frustrating week for J.J. Slevin as he endured a dose of 'seconditis' despite riding really well, mostly on unfancied mounts.
At Fairyhouse on Wednesday, he was second in the first three races, on Volatile Lady (66/1) in the Jackie and Jim Bolger colours, and two for his cousin, Joseph O'Brien, on Little Light (8/1) and Grey Waters (13/2).
He was on fancied Gypsy Rose Lee (7/4f) at Clonmel on Thursday but he was mugged at the line by 33/1 outsider, Annie Odds.
The run continued at Gowran on Saturday when second on Tower Bridge (7/1) behind a Mullins hot-shot, and West Coast Time (14/1) behind O'Brien stable mate Smoking Gun (4/1) under Rachael Blackmore.
The excellent Blackmore had two Wexfordmen behind her on O'Brien's Star Max (5/2) in the opener, with Seán Flanagan half a length back on Noel Meade's Future Proof (6/4f) and Slevin third on O'Brien's Christopher Robin (16/1).
There was a Wexford winner at Fairyhouse, with Jonathan Moore scoring on the Gavin Cromwell-trained Quantamental (4/1), getting home by nearly three lengths.
Jamie Codd was second in the Beginners' Chase at Clonmel on Battling Spirit (9/1) for Jonathan Sweeney, two lengths behind Denis O'Regan on Snugsborough Hall (7/4f).