Willie Mullins' admirable grey Thousand Stars recorded his fourth course victory after a barnstorming finish to the Prix la Barka under Katie Walsh at Auteuil in France today.
The 10-year-old won this race two years ago prior to securing his second victory in the French Champion Hurdle and returned to Paris off the back of a confidence-boosting victory at Fairyhouse.
Thousand Stars was up with the pace from the outset and was sent to the front before the home turn.
Le Grand Duce, runner-up behind the Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux in the Prix Leon Rambaud last month, made a real race of it after the final flight and the two of them flashed by the post virtually as one.
However, the photo revealed the rallying Thousand Stars was ahead at the crucial stage.
The grey was one of four runners in the field for Mullins and each of them performed with credit.
Ruby Walsh-ridden favourite Diakali finished strongly to grab third, Zaidpour was fifth under David Casey and the mare Glens Melody was seventh in the hands of Paul Townend.
Mullins said: "He's an extraordinary horse and I thought Katie gave him a fantastic ride.
"Hopefully he'll be back in three weeks' time for another crack at the Grande Course De Haies D'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle).
"Diakali ran on well and probably didn't jump as well as he can. Hopefully he can improve his jumping and he'll come back here for the big one as well.
"Zaidpour also ran fantastically and I think he's also booked his ticket for the race.
"I'm not so sure about Glens Melody. She ran well but we might look to give her a break.
"Gitane Du Berlais ran well earlier in the day and will come back here as well next month for the big four-year-old race, along with Abbyssial."