Vauban paid a handsome compliment to Pied Piper with an even success in the Racing TV Spring Juvenile Hurdle in Leopardstown.
Beaten on his only previous start by Gordon Elliott’s Pied Piper, who has subsequently bolstered up at Cheltenham, Elliott took him this time with Fil Dor.
Fil Dor had done nothing wrong over obstacles prior to this Class 1 task and won all three starts including a Class 2 over Christmas.
Understandably, he was sent off the 6-5 favorite with Willie Mullins’ Vauban a 9-4 chance at just his second start.
Vauban’s jump could have been slimmer, but when Paul Townend moved him to battle on the turn from home, he made Fil Dor look decidedly one-speed.
The Rich Ricci-owned Vauban pulled three lengths free and is now 11-4 second favorite to Triumph Hurdle with Betfair behind 5-2 market leader Pied Piper. Fil Dor was pushed to a level.
A jubilant Ricci said: “When I saw what Pied Piper was doing, I was hoping he would move on and there is more on the way, I think. It was very impressive for a four-year-old.”