Yorkhill takes the Neptune for Mullins and Walsh
Yorkhill gave Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh their fourth winner of the Cheltenham Festival when comfortably outpointing Yanworth in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
Walsh made a decisive move on Yorkhill (3-1) by steering an inside path and getting a great run turning for home.
Pulling double to that point, the Graham Wylie-owned six-year-old had all of his rivals at full stretch, including Yanworth, who had been sent off the 11-10 favourite to maintain his 100 per cent record over hurdles.
Instead, it was Yorkhill who remains unbeaten over hurdles after slamming his main rival by a length and three-quarters.
Its'afreebee, who was always to the fore, stuck on pluckily for third, seven lengths behind the classy first two.
Mullins said: "Ruby gave him a super ride - he needed a bit of luck.
"It opened up, and he shot through. He jumped the last well.
"We seriously thought about going for the Supreme, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought Altior was hard to beat and that this race was the one.
"He can go novice chasing, but we've sort of abandoned that to go down the Champion Hurdle route - he looked very sharp going off that bend.
"He's a real smart hurdler."
Walsh admitted the race had not panned out as he had planned, but was full of praise for his classy mount.
He said: "I'd hoped to sit fourth or fifth down the inner, but he was rank going to the start so I had to go back a bit further.
"The last thing I said I was going to do was be upsides at the last and in front for too long, but when I got to the second-last I couldn't resist and the gap opened up.
"He's a very, very good horse. David Casey rides him every morning and he was pretty adamant he wanted two and a half (miles) with better ground, and he was right.
"He could have been the best of the bumper horses last year but we didn't get to run him until just before Cheltenham and then he went and won in Punchestown.
"Since he came back in, a lot of people have been impressed with him.
"He's a fine specimen."