As Faugheen dropped back Melon slipped through and battle was engaged from over the last two flights between the Champion Hurdle's dominant powerhouses of Henderson and Mullins.
Nicky Henderson's charge has won his past 12 starts, including victories at the past two Festivals, thrashing Min and the dual subsequent Champion Hurdle victor Buveur D'Air in the 2016 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and landing the Arkle Trophy by an easy six lengths a year ago.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Mick Jazz (25/1) was three lengths further back in third; the first three clear.
It may have been Buveur D'Air's second consecutive Unibet Champion Hurdle triumph, but it was Barry Geraghty's first aboard the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old.
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"Today they went a really good gallop and when those two picked it up from two out they kicked in again".
"That is what happens when you've got two great jockeys and two fearless horses".
"Buveur D'Air is a young horse who's done everything right". The opposition also includes Charbel, who fell 2 out in last year's Arkle Chase when narrowly ahead of Altior. I'm thrilled as Barry missed out last year and whilst Noel gave him a great ride last year, it was nice that Barry was involved and got to share in it and enjoy it.
The champion hurdler is owned by Geraghty's patron J P McManus, and Geraghty said: "It was a long year last year, but it's been a great year this time and I can't complain". "Bad luck was the only thing that was going to beat him and it's great to get a big victor for the boss".
"The ground made this the ultimate test and you don't win back-to-back Champion Hurdles unless you are in a different class".
Cause Of Causes has already guaranteed his place in Cheltenham folklore by winning three different races at the last three Festivals and he may not have finished yet. He dug deep thankfully, what a buzz'.