Buveur D'air puts on an impressive performance to win the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Buveur D'Air, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, won the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Buveur D'Air made a convincing seasonal debut when easily landing the odds in the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Last season's Champion Hurdle hero went off the 1-6 favourite and Nicky Henderson's six-year-old promptly outclassed his four rivals.
Katgary and Mirsaale shared the early running, before Buveur D'Air jumped into the lead at the third-last flight and cantered to victory under a motionless Barry Geraghty.
Irving, two-time winner of the Grade One contest, was flattered by being only three and a half lengths behind in second place. Flying Tiger was third.
Geraghty said: "He was very good. His jumping is just rapid.
"If you look over the years, the real Champion Hurdlers like Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, Hardy Eustace - they just bend their knees and take off. They gain ground and fill up their lungs because it's so natural and easy for them.
"I rode him work 10 days ago at Newbury and he worked nicely. He worked on Sunday morning and Nicky was buzzing about him and he was very happy with his weight, which was a good indication.
"He was the same weight going to Aintree at the end of last season. He holds his condition well through the season and you were fairly sure he was fairly close to being ready. He was in great shape and it was a good performance.
"Faugheen looked really good at Punchestown, but this horse feels more physical this year than last year. I relish the challenge."