CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Buveur D’Air became the first horse to retain the Champion Hurdle title since 2005 by winning by a head in the feature race on Day 1 of horse racing’s prestigious Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.
The 4-6 favorite gave trainer Nicky Henderson a record seventh victory in the race, but only after battling back after being passed by 7-1 shot Melon on the uphill finish.
Buveur D’Air is the sixth horse to win the Champion Hurdle more than once. The last to win two straight was Hardy Eustace in 2005.
The four-day festival is the highlight of the jumps season in British horse racing, culminating in the Gold Cup on Friday.