After losing his role as stable jockey to champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Jacob could have seen his career head in the wrong direction but jockeys of his talent are not usually on the sidelines for long and as one door closed another one opened.
He has been retained by Jean and Bob Bishop to ride their sting of horses with Colin Tizzard following the retirement of the trainer’s son, Joe.
As well as the ride on Hennessy player Theatre Guide, already a winner this season, the plum ride on Cue Card is now Jacob’s and his first major aim of the season is the Betfair Chase at Haydock this afternoon.
Jacob struck first in the opening Brown Shipley Wealth Well Managed Handicap Hurdle on Emma Lavelle’s Closing Ceremony (13-2) who had looked promising last year before two below-par runs.
The five-year-old showed a courageous attitude to hold off 4-1 favourite Milan Bound after a terrific duel in the final furlong.
“He was very game as he had to try really hard there,” said Jacob.
“I got a spare ride on him in a novices’ hurdle at Chepstow last year and really liked him so it was nice to get back on him and win a valuable prize.”
Jacob then teamed up with Tizzard to win the Oak Loans And Mortgage Graduation Chase on Third Intention, who was winning over fences for just the second time having been placed in some big races last season.
Willie Mullins’ Turban was sent off odd-on favourite but trailed home last of four.
“I don’t think the other three can have run their race, otherwise if they have the handicapper is going to crucify us for that,” said Tizzard.
“I like the graduation chases, they are perfect for a horse like him. We brought him back to two miles, we’ve tried him at three and two and a half so maybe I’ve been running him over the wrong trip for a while.
“That was only his second win over fences so he can run in another of these.”
The small Middleham yard of Simon West can start dreaming of some big days after Maximiser (15-8) maintained his unbeaten record over timber in the Wingate Signs Supports & Superjosh Charity “Fixed Brush” “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
A wide-margin winner on his debut for the yard at Carlisle he was expected to play second fiddle behind Paul Nicholls’ Vago Collonges but Joe Colliver guided him to an 11-length success over the odds-on favourite.
“I’m over the moon, we’ve always thought a lot of him, we can’t get him off the bridle at home,” said West.
“We didn’t’ know what he’d beaten at Carlisle but we can only keep beating what is put in front of us.
“Joe was happy, he felt there were another couple of gears there, and we’ll go home and watch the video and open up the programme book.”