Nicky Henderson’s charge was pushed all the way by Melon.
4/6 FAVOURITE Buveur Dâ€™Air was pushed all the way as he retained his Unibet Champion Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham festival this afternoon.
The JP McManus-owned horse looked unbeatable in his last three outings but had to dig deep up the Prestbury Park hill in todayâ€™s feature race as the late gamble, Melon, showed why his price was pushed in from 16/1 last night to 7/1 this afternoon.
In repeating last yearâ€™s success, Buveur Dâ€™Air became the first back-to-back winner of this race since Hardy Eustace 13 years ago.
Faugheen, wearing cheekpieces for the first time, was prominent early on but it became clear in the closing stages that the horse formerly known as The Machine wouldnâ€™t have any role to play at the death.
Instead it was left to Buveur Dâ€™Air and Melon to go neck and neck after the final hurdle with Barry Geraghtyâ€™s mount just coming out on top.