The favourite's stable companion Charli Parcs had cut out the pace, firstly in the company of former champion Faugheen (4/1), and then on his own.
And in a fierce battle down the home straight, Barry Geraghty rallied Buveur D'Air after falling behind to Melon with half a furlong remaining to win by half a length.
Nicky Henderson's decision to abort a novice chase campaign to revert to the smaller obstacles paid off spectacularly when he lifted the two-mile hurdling crown last March and having won each of his previous three starts this season with the minimum of fuss, he was the 4-6 favourite to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the race since Hardy Eustace in 2005.
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The Eagles also lost tight end Trey Burton after he agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bears, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo . But his production has waned in recent seasons and the Eagles will save $4 million in salary cap space by releasing him.
Henderson, saddling his seventh Champion Hurdle victor, said: "It was a good race, a proper race". It was job done. That was a big relief.
Had Melon won it would have seen Mullins close the gap to Henderson in the battle for Cheltenham supremacy, but he did have three winners in the day.
"It's been a long old winter and this makes it worth it".
The festival showpiece, the Gold Cup, is held on Friday.
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Microsoft also mentioned that they will further the expand the availability as Intel shares the updated microcode with them. Microsoft is developing the next major update for Windows 10 and the company now revealed when we can expect it to arrive.
Mullins' Benie Des Dieux ran out a shock victor of the Mares Hurdle, as odds-on favourite Apple's Jade could only finish a disappointing third.
"We were anxious last week with the snow that it might even have been cancelled but I think it's going to be busier than ever", he said.
Buveur D'Air's win saw English trainer Nicky Henderson and Irish owner JP McManus extend their existing Champion Hurdle race-records to seven wins apiece.
The Tom George-trained Summerville Boy claimed the opening race of the festival - the Supreme Novices' Hurdle - at a price of 9-to-1.
Dion Lewis reportedly plans on signing with Titans
He's the exact type of shifty, dual-threat back the Titans needed in the backfield alongside Henry. Cornerback Malcolm Butler plans to sign a five-year deal with the Titans.
The eight-year-old woke up lame on Monday, sparking panic among punters who had backed him for the Queen Monther Champion Chase, Wednesday's feature race at the Cheltenham Festival.