The Gordon Elliott-trained Mick Jazz (25/1) was three lengths further back in third; the first three clear. Whether it's on the grandest stage or midweek at Thurles the two men more often than not set the narrative. "It was a great race on paper".
Faugheen was a well-beaten sixth and Mullins is now looking at a step up in distance.
"I think he proved there that he is a better horse than previous year".
He's unbeaten in three starts over flights, including a Grade One at Naas in January.
Elliott raised the possibility of a Champion Hurdle tilt next year, but stressed all plans would be discussed in due course. Next Destination also appears to be particularly highly rated by his trainer.
"We've always liked him (Bleu Berry) but he just had a few interruptions at the start of the season". He has since added three wins to his CV and he appears to have the right mix of speed and stamina to go close in this for trainer Anthony Honeyball.
To do so he will have to overcome one of the most popular Irish fancies of the week in Presenting Percy.
Yet the reigning King George VI Chase champion is likely to face stiff opposition from the soft-ground-loving Native River, who was third in the Gold Cup last spring.
In the second race of the day, the RSA Insurance Novices Chase at 2.10pm, Martin has gone for Black Corton, which is available at a best price of 8-1 at the time of writing.
Cheltenham Festival opened with a bang on Tuesday and it was a good one for the bookmakers as Buveur d'Air won the day's big race, the Champion Hurdle, and another short-priced favourite, Footpad, won the Arkle. He was visually impressive in winning the Grade 1 over two miles at Leopardstown last month and he comes into this race a worthy favourite.
Monalee was soon in front and then buckled down in terrific fashion in the straight to beat one of his main rivals now, Al Boum Photo, by a hard-earned three parts of a length.
Favourite backers have had their fingers severely burnt with just two winning favourites in the last 25 runnings. Nearly inevitably there is an Elliott runner too in Felix Dejy and Joseph O'Brien has a leading hope in Rhinestone. The without-the-fav markets can be lucrative because if Samcro finishes in the top 3 you essentially have an extra place on the race.
A horse I like, Rhinestone, was second to Blackbow that da in Leopardstown and stayed on very well throughout. He has also won twice at The Festival before so will be primed for the day.
There will be a tide of sentiment helping Cause Of Causes but another of JP McManus's four runners, Auvergnat, could be an unsentimental each way betting alternative. Whether ground conditions are good enough to allow him join legendary four-time winners such as Istabraq and Big Bucks is debatable though.