Janika starts to blos­som

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Racing - By Mar­cus Army­tage

Nicky Hen­der­son’s sea­son be­gan in earnest yes­ter­day when Janika, the 5-2 favourite and one of the trainer’s po­ten­tial big guns, car­ried top­weight to vic­tory in the Coral Hal­don Gold Cup at Ex­eter.

Last sea­son, the six-year-old went up 17lbs af­ter be­ing placed on all four starts. Yes­ter­day, dropped in dis­tance to two miles and a fur­long, he jumped to the front three fences out and, al­though prob­a­bly not do­ing a lot once there, was al­ways hold­ing Do­los.

Win­ning jockey Daryl Ja­cob said: “He de­served that. He ran some mighty races in de­feat last sea­son. He is only a young horse, so he could have im­prove­ment in him.

“Com­ing back in trip was a bit of a gam­ble be­cause he is a strong trav­eller over two miles and five fur­longs.

“I was sur­prised by the ground be­cause I thought it would be softer, which would be bet­ter for him. We had great fun with him last sea­son but it be­comes frus­trat­ing if ev­ery time you get beaten you go up 10lbs.”

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