Douvan enhanced his already lofty reputation as he stormed to an emphatic victory in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, which saw him hand the triumvirate of Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh and Rich Ricci their first victory at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, as the Closutton team propelled back into the limelight at Prestbury Park.
Last season's impressive Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner was etched into many punter's notebooks as the banker of the week, and barring a slightly novicey jump at the final fence, the red-hot 1/4 favourite duly recorded his second Cheltenham Festival success, as he eased seven lengths clear of Sizing John in the closing stages.
Walsh was prominent throughout the 2m Grade 1 on board the six-year-old son of Walk In The Park, and the pair serenely jumped their way through the race, but there was a brief time you could've have shown a slight nervous look as Vaniteux tried to edge his nose in front, but a confident Walsh just asked for more and his charge picked up in style.
Vaniteux was back-tracking when falling in the home straight, but that just left Douvan comfortably clear of Sizing John, who was yet again struggling to keep up with the National Hunt sensation, who has fast become one of the hottest properties in the jumping sphere, and could be one to dominate at the highest level for years to come.
14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Novices' Grade 1) 1.Douvan - W Mullins - R Walsh - 1/4F 2.Sizing John - H De Bromhead - J Burke - 9/1 7 Ran