Trainer Willie Mullins was relieved after the brilliant Hurricane Fly landed the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown for the fourth time.
He beat Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor by a length and half yesterday and will now attempt to become the sixth three-time winner of the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
There was little to choose between Hurricane Fly and Our Conor jumping the final flight and just for a moment it looked like Our Conor might be getting on top.
But Hurricane Fly, who suffered an injury scare earlier in the week with a bruised foot, proved too strong for his younger rival in the closing stages.
Captain Cee Bee kept on to finish third, ahead of Jezki in last place.
Mullins said: "That was a huge relief. I have huge respect for the horse to do what he did, coming off the bit of work he did during the week.
"If he had been an ordinary horse he wouldn't have run today. It was his worst bit of work ever.
"I was so disappointed coming off the gallops. I was saying to myself, 'Is the dream over with him and has he had enough?'
"Thankfully we found he had a bruised foot. He seemed fine the next morning and he's been fine since.
"We had to run and take our chance. We did all the tests on him and everything was coming back right.
"These races only come around once a year. I would have liked to have had another week with him.
"I thought when Our Conor came upsides him at the last he was beat.
"For the horse to come here with a bad prep and win that I'm very happy with where I'm at with him."