Vauban’s big aim is a return to Australia for the Melbourne Cup but Willie Mullins has not definitively ruled out an appearance at the Punchestown Festival.

The Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned six-year-old has not been seen since finishing only 14th of 23 when sent off favourite for last year’s Melbourne Cup.

He has not run over hurdles since chasing home stable companion and current champion hurdler State Man at last season’s Punchestown Festival, after which his attentions were switched to the Flat.

He won the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot, beating another stablemate in Absurde, who won the County Hurdle last week, and then had little trouble in winning the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes before his trip to Australia.

“Yes (he’s likely to have a Flat campaign), I think that’s more or less the plan,” said Mullins.

“He might get a run in Punchestown if he’s ready but I think I’m going to concentrate on getting him back to Melbourne in ship shape and have another crack at the Melbourne Cup in November.”