Zaidpour graces Fairyhouse
Zaidpour dug deep to claim the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on an afternoon when Willie Mullins landed a treble.
Ruby Walsh's mount showed a great attitude in going past fellow joint-favourite Voler La Vedette going to the last, after the star mare had moved smoothly to the lead two out, where long-time leader So Young made a mistake.
Zaidpour soon mastered Voler La Vedette, who lost second on the run to the line as Monksland finished well. The winning distance was two and a half lengths.
A clash with Big Buck's looks in the offing for the six-year-old at Cheltenham in March.
Mullins said: "I think he's improved, so we'll go along those lines (Ladbrokes World Hurdle). I doubt he'll take on Hurricane Fly next, but he'll be entered in all those races. He has enough speed for two miles, but he has plenty of stamina, too.
"It was a fantastic result and he's stronger this year. He's good enough to run in a Champion Hurdle, but the obvious thing would be to go over a longer trip.
"It depends on what runners we have, but I'd imagine he'll go further - over two and a half or three miles. Himself and Thousand Stars fall into the same kind of bracket.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Virginie, who rides him out all the time. She does a lot of slow work on him and keeps him right as he had shoulder trouble when we got him."
Stan James cut Zaidpour to 20-1 from 50-1 for the World Hurdle. Spokesman Joseph Burke said: "Zaidpour won his second Grade One in good style and has been cut for a host of Cheltenham objectives. He is 20-1 (from 50-1) for the World Hurdle and 33-1 (from 50-1) for the Champion Hurdle."
Mullins also won with Arvika Ligeonniere in the Drinmore Novice Chase and completed the treble with Outlander, who stayed on strongly to score under the trainer's son Patrick in the concluding bumper.