Mullins' Vautour Champion hint

Willie Mullins has given the clearest indication yet that Vautour could be campaigned with a potential Champion Hurdle tilt in mind next season

The five-year-old produced a dominant front-running display in the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser last month, after which connections appeared to be favouring sending the youngster over fences next term.

However, Ireland's champion trainer has suggested either Vautour or stable companion Faugheen, winner of the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, could remain over smaller obstacles.

Asked whether a Champion Hurdle bid would be considered for Vautour, Mullins told At The Races: "We have to look at that. It's always nice to have a Champion Hurdle horse.

"Hurricane Fly is not getting any younger and Un De Sceaux still has to prove he's a Champion Hurdle contender. The way he (Un De Sceaux) jumped his hurdles in France, he might be a chaser, and a very good one.

"Faugheen doesn't strike me as a Champion Hurdle horse, but who knows.

"He's possibly good enough to come back to two miles because he can keep up such a good gallop and maybe he'd be better jumping at two miles.

"They are all things we are going to have to decide and we'll make a decision on that during the summer.

"I would imagine one of them will be kept for a Champion Hurdle campaign next year."