Vauban further enhanced his tall reputation with a runaway victory in the Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown.
Narrowly beaten by Pied Piper on his Irish debut, the Willie Mullins-trained juvenile had since notched successive Grade One wins in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown and the Triumph at Cheltenham.
The runner-up on both occasions was Pied Piper’s stablemate Fil Dor, who was once again in opposition and provided most resistance.
The pair had it between them from a long way out, with Fil Dor’s rider Davy Russell doing his level best to draw the sting out of Vauban by making it a strong test.
But the 4-11 favourite cruised up alongside the pacesetter still full of running on the approach to the final flight and only had to be pushed out hands and heels on the run-in by Paul Townend to score by four lengths.
“He did very well and Paul said he’s only learning, he has very few races under his belt,” said Mullins.
“Paul said he’s starting to get down and hurdle properly now. He settled in and changed gear when he wanted to.
“It was an automatic change of gear and he looks hugely exciting. He has serious gears and he’s only learning to race.
“He only had a few races on the Flat and he’s getting it together over hurdles now.
“We bought him before he won the Listed race in France, it’s a thing we never do but we spotted him and asked the price and they gave it to us. They wanted to run him in the Listed race, we said OK and kept our fingers crossed.
“He got into awful trouble in the race and there was huge interest after that, I’m sure Rich (Ricci) could have turned over a neat profit.
“The Australians wanted him and he looked ideal for down there, maybe he’ll end up down there some day. Maybe we’ll have a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, not this year.
“He’s got a nice rating on the Flat and I think he has got lots of room to improve on the Flat as well.”
When it was put to him that he was a Champion Hurdle horse, he added: “He shaping up to be one.”