Gordon Elliott strengthened his hand in the four-year-old division when Teahupoo stretched his unbeaten record to three in the Norman Colfer Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Elliott already houses JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Zanahiyr and the next in the betting Quilixios, and following this performance Betfair cut Teahupoo to 10-1 from 14-1 for Cheltenham.
Always handy under Robbie Power, riding in his role as retained jockey for owners Robcour, the 4-9 favourite never looked in any real danger in the Grade Three affair.
Willie Mullins’ newcomer Tax For Max gave him most to think about, running a very promising race considering how keen he was in the early stages but still seven lengths behind at the line.
“I thought it was a good performance again,” said Elliott.
“I liked the way when he jumped the second-last, he kind of idled a bit and pricked his ears. Robert said when he gave him a squeeze at the back of it he was gone again.
“He’s improving the whole time. Obviously he’s in everything at Cheltenham, the Fred Winter, the Supreme and the Triumph.
“I’ll have a chat with Brian (Acheson, of Robcour). We have Cheltenham or we could come back here for the Grade Two at Easter which is only two weeks later.
“It wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if he stayed at home and came back here. There is a lot of water to go under the bridge over the next couple of weeks.”
He added: “I’d say he’ll stay three miles, he’s a real stayer and he’s probably the type of horse you need for a Triumph Hurdle because he stays. He’s a nice horse.”