(Reuters) - Hot favorite Faugheen trumped a high-class field to win the Champion Hurdle for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.
Faugheen (4-5), stormed home ahead of stable mates Arctic Fire (20-1) and twice winner Hurricane Fly (8-1).
Walsh had opted to ride Faugheen instead of 2011 and 2013 champion Hurricane Fly, winner of a jump racing world record 22 grade one races, and his decision was justified as the seven-year-old made it nine wins from nine.
Mullins and Walsh won the opening two races of the Festival -- Douvan in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle quickly followed by Un De Sceaux in the Arkle chase, and have the chance to complete a memorable four-timer with Annie Power later on Tuesday.
(Writing by Justin Palmer, editing by Pritha Sarkar)