Nicky Henderson has earmarked the Fitzdares Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon next month as a potential target for Haldon Gold Cup winner Janika.
The Lambourn handler is favouring an outing in the Grade Two prize on December 8 for the six-year-old as opposed to a tilt at the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday week.
Victory for the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned gelding, who finished second in three of his four starts last season, in the Grade Two contest at Exeter on Tuesday was his first in Britain since arriving from France.
Henderson said: “Janika deserved that and it was a good performance. He ran some great races last season but he just didn’t quite hit the bullseye.
“That was a good start to the season and I’m delighted for Simon and Isaac who have been patient with him.
“The BetVictor Gold Cup is next weekend and with a penalty he is likely to carry top weight in that. The Peterborough Chase would be a good race for him.”
While Janika, who is a general 12-1 chance for next year’s Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, has been a consistent performer on the track it is a far cry from what he shows in the morning according to Henderson.
He added: “He is quite a deceptive horse. Although he is very straightforward he doesn’t show you an awful lot at home.
“He saves all his ability for the racecourse compared to what he shows us in the morning.
“Horses like that tend to need the run first time out as he doesn’t over do it and that’s his whole game – but he is a happy horse. ”
Though the former champion trainer plans to step Janika up to two and a half miles on his next start he has not ruled out the possibility of dropping him in back in trip again at a later date.
Henderson added: “It was Anthony’s (Bromley, racing manager to the owners) idea to start him off here. He was happy to start him over two-miles-one and he was right.
“We know he stays further but he was obviously quick enough for that sort of trip.
“Exeter is a good galloping track and two-miles-one on a stiff track was fine so he could have options over that sort of trip again later on.”