Quevega once again proved a different class to her rivals as she secured a third successive victory in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The 5-6 favourite was making her first appearance of the season, but the result scarcely looked in doubt.

Keiran Burke made an amazing recovery on Sparky May at the first flight and she took up the leading running down the hill going well, but Quevega followed her and took up the running rounding the turn for home with seemingly plenty in the tank.

She pulled further clear approaching the final flight and although she took off a stride early, she got away with it and bounded up the run-in to beat Sparky May by 10 lengths.

It was the second leg of a fantastic double for trainer Willie Mullins following the Champion Hurdle success of Hurricane Fly, while Ruby Walsh was completing a hat-trick having also rode Al Ferof to victory in the Supreme.

Mullins said: 'I thought we were a gallop short this year, but she certainly won very easily.

'Ruby loves her and they fire off one another. He rode her with such confidence. We entered her in other races but why look for something else when there is a race in Cheltenham you'll be favourite for?

'To me, this was always the plan as the race is tailor-made for her. We might go to Aintree with her now, as she hasn't had too much racing.

'The owners are racing people rather than breeders, so if she's able to gallop next year, I'd imagine she'll come back.'

Walsh said: 'She's a super mare, she travels super and apart from the last there were no scares.

'She has so much class, she settles a lot better now and lobs away. She's a perfect ride.'

Trainer Pat Rodford said of Sparky May: 'Nobody remembers the seconds, but it matters a lot to us. We have come up against a wonder horse today.

'If she comes out of it well she might go to Aintree, but the trouble is she isn't a good work horse so we don't really know how she is.'