Faugheen was an imperious winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle, as the 4/5 favourite fought off a spirited effort from stablemate Arctic Fire to win the blue riband event on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, with Hurricane Fly grabbing third place to hand Willie Mullins a sensational 1-2-3 in the Tuesday showpiece.
Ruby Walsh had already piloted both Douvan to Supreme Novices' Hurdle glory and Un De Sceaux to Arkle Trophy success, so it was inevitable that Faugheen was sent a shade of odds-on and the horse dubbed "The Machine" was sublime in landing victory from the front.
Walsh sent his mount to front from the flag fall in what wasn't a breakneck gallop, so with most of his rivals in there with a chance coming down the hill we were treated to what we had all hoped as the elite of hurdling division did battle in the Champion Hurdle.
A slight jumping mistake at the second last saw Faugheen bump into Jezki, but with The New One on their outside struggling to keep up it was the blistering turn of pace Faugheen produced between the last two flights of hurdles that had favourite backers roaring.
Pulling a few lengths clear by the last, he was kept up to his work late on and Arctic Fire ran an absolute stormer to get within one-and-a-half lengths of the winner, whilst veteran Hurricane Fly lost nothing in defeat as he bagged a creditable third place finish in a race that was dominated by the Mullins triumvirate.