Vautour bounced right back to his brilliant best to win the JLT Novices' Chase by a wide margin at the Cheltenham Festival on the third day of racing.
An impressive winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last season, the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old had a question to answer having been beaten at Christmas, but the market vibes were strong.
He never missed a beat under Ruby Walsh and put in some spectacular leaps on the way round, having the rest of the field in trouble from some way out.
Stablemate Valseur Lido briefly looked a threat, along with Apache Stronghold and Ptit Zig, but Vautour sprinted clear off the home turn and the 6-4 favourite put 15 lengths distance between himself and the rest.
Apache Stronghold just upheld the form with Valseur Lido from the Flogas Chase, but in truth there was only one in it.
Walsh said: "He wasn't right at Christmas, but from the first time we started schooling him I was taken with him.
"This lad has it all. He was going his own speed - I'm taken with him. There's some summer dreaming to be done with this one."
Owner Rich Ricci said: "I can't ever remember seeing a novice jump like that at Cheltenham.
"He's a different horse round here, for some reason.
"It was unbelievable, breathtaking, actually.
"We'll step up in distance next season and see where we go."
Mullins said: "I've loved this horse all the time, but I had to really work hard at him for the last three weeks.
"We were probably minding him too much earlier in the season.
"I thought the race was over turning for home, it was just a case of jumping, and he absolutely flew over the last two."
Cheltenham Festival 2015 - in pictures
Cheltenham Festival 2015 - in pictures
1/21 Ryanair Chase
Tony McCoy on Uxizandre celebrates
2/21 World Hurdle
Cole Harden ridden by Gavin Sheehan clears a fence on the first lap on their way to winning the Ladbrokes World Hurdle
3/21 Novices' Chase
Ruby Walsh on Vautour celebrates after winning the JLT Novices' Chase
4/21 Queen Mother Champion Chase
Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Dodging Bullets
5/21 Queen Mother Champion Chase
Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Dodging Bullets ahead of Special Tiara
6/21 Coral Cup
Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates on Aux Ptits Soins after taking victory in the Coral Cup
7/21 Coral Cup
Aux Ptits Soins and Zabana lead from the front in the closing stages of the Coral Cup
8/21 RSA Chase
Bryan Cooper celebrates victory in the RSA Chase as he crosses the line on Don Poli
9/21 Novices' Hurdle
Davy Russell on Windsor Park (second left) wins the Novices' Hurdle in the opening race on day two
10/21 Cheltenham Day Two
Paul Merson attends day two of the Cheltenham Festival
11/21 Novices Handicap Chase
Paul Townend celebrates after riding Irish Cavalier to victory in the Novices Handicap Chase
12/21 Toby Balding National Hunt Steeple Chase
Jamie Codd riding Cause Of Causes (2nd L) wins The Toby Balding National Hunt Steeple Chase
13/21 Champion Hurdle
Ruby Walsh salutes the crowd after riding Faugheen to victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham
14/21 Champion Hurdle
Ruby Walsh urges Faugheen on to victory in the Champion Hurdle
15/21 Champion Hurdle
Faugheen leads the field during the early stages of the Champion Hurdle
16/21 Handicap Chase
The Druids Nephew, ridden by Barry Geraghty, clinched victory in the Handicap Chase
17/21 Arkle Challenge Trophy
Un De Scheaux and Ruby Walsh after winning the Arkle
18/21 Arkle Challenge Trophy
Ruby Walsh on Un De Schuex (right) jumps a fence on his way to victory in the Arkle
19/21 Novices' Hurdle
Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the opening race at the Cheltenham Festival on Douvan
20/21 Novices' Hurdle
Ruby Walsh crosses the finishing line at Douvan wins the Novices' Hurdle
21/21 Novices' Hurdle
A general view on the first day of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival
RACE RESULTS (TOP THREE)
Tuesday 10 March
1.30: Novices’ Hurdle – Douvan (2/1), Shaneshill (9/1), Sizing John (25/1)
2.05: Arkle Challenge Trophy – Un de Sceaux (4-6), God's Own (33-1), Josses Hill (12-1)
2.40: Handicap Chase – The Druids Nephew (8-1), Grand Jesture (25-1), Gallant Oscar (9-1)
3.20: Champion Hurdle – Faugheen (4-5), Arctic Fire (20-1), Hurricane Fly (8-1)
4.00: Mares Hurdle – Glens Melody (6-1), Polly Peachum (9-1) Bitofapuzzle (16-1)
4.40: National Hunt Chase – Cause Of Causes (8-1), Broadway Buffalo (12-1), The Job Is Right (10-1)
5.15: Novices Handicap Chase – Irish Cavalier (11-1), Thomas Crapper (6-1 Fav )
Wednesday 11 March
1.30: Neptune Novices' Hurdle - Windsor Park (9-2), Parlour Games (13-2), Nichols Canyon (7-2)
2.05: RSA Chase – Don Poli (18/8), Southfield Theatre (13-2), Wounded Warrior (12-1)
2.40: Coral Cup – Aux Ptits Soins (9-1), Zabana (25-1) Activial (17-2) Tagliatelle (14-1)
3.20: Queen Mother Champions Chase – Dodging Bullets (9-2), Somersby (33-1), Special Tiara (18-1)
4.00: Cross Country Chase – Rivage D'Or (16-1), Any Currency (7-1), Uncle Junior (20-1), Dogora (20-1)
4.40: Handicap Hurdle – Qualando (25-1), Bouvreuil (14-1) , The Saint James (33-1) , Starchitect (16-1)
5.15: Champion Bumper – Moon Racer (9-2 Fav), Modus (33-1), Wait For Me (9-1 )
Thursday 12 March
1.30: Novices Chase – Vautour (6-4 Fav), Apache Stronghold (7-1) , Valseur Lido (9-2)
2.05: Pertemps Final – Call The Cops (9-1), Unique De Cotte (14-1 ), The Tourard Man (20-1)
2.40: Ryanair Chase – Uxizandre (16-1), Ma Filleule (5-1), Don Cossack (5-2 Fav)
3.20: World Hurdle – Cole Harden (14-1), Saphir Du Rheu (5-1 Fav), Zarkandar (6-1 )
4.00: Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Plate –Darna (33-1), Monetaire (11-2 Fav), Rawnaq (25-1), Buywise (15-2)
4.40: Kim Muir Handicap Chase – The Package (9-1), Bless The Wings (28-1), Buddy Bolero (20-1), Grand Vision (11-1)
Friday 13 March
1.30: Triumph Hurdle – Peace And Co (2-1 Fav)
2.05: Vincent O’Brien Country Handicap Hurdle - Wicklow Brave (25-1)
2:40: Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle – Martello Tower (14-1)
3.20: Cheltenham Gold Cup – Coneygree (7-1)
4.00: Foxhunter Chase –
4.40: Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle –
5.15: AP McCoy Grand Annuel Chase –