Janika starts to blossom
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.”