Willie Mullins plots Melbourne Cup path for Vauban

Vauban's preparations for a second crack at the Melbourne Cup could see the former Triumph Hurdle winner have two more runs before a later arrival in Australia. 

The six-year-old was last seen in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, where the 13-2 shot hit an in-running low of 6-4 on the Betfair Exchange, but he didn't appear to fully see out the two-and-a-half-mile trip under Colin Keane. 

Still, there was no shame in finishing fourth behind dual winner Kyprios and all roads, or skies even, lead back to Australia for another attempt at winning the race that stops a nation on November 2.

Vauban was sent off the 9-2 favourite for last year's Melbourne Cup, but failed to give his true running and faded into 14th having briefly looked a big threat on the home turn. 

Unperturbed by that failed mission, Mullins is very keen on returning to Flemington for a race he went closest to winning in 2015 when Max Dynamite was second to Prince Of Penzance.

Interestingly, Max Dynamite had his final prep before jetting off to Australia that year at York's Ebor meeting, where he ran out an impressive winner of the Lonsdale Cup and that is the race Mullins has in his mind for Vauban too. 

Mullins said: "I'm delighted with Vauban and I was very happy with how he ran at Ascot. He's bounced out of the race great, too.

"On the face of it, it looked like he just didn't stay. For a moment, on the home turn, it looked like he might win but I was delighted with him and how he ran."

As well as the possibility of a Group 2 on the Knavesmire next month, the trainer added: "He will have an entry in the Lonsdale Cup at York and we might even try to get two runs into him before he heads to Melbourne."

Speaking of Melbourne, Mullins said that he might try to tweak a few things this time around in order to see the real Vauban show up on the first Tuesday of November rather than the one we saw last year.

Mullins said: "We might try a different approach to it this year."

Vauban is as big as 16-1 with bet365 and BetVictor to right the wrong of last year and win the Melbourne Cup, but he is only 10-1 with Betfair and Sky Bet.