PAUL Townend is no stranger to success at Cheltenham and his easy victory in the Arkle on Duc Des Genievres was a perfect start to the week.
The Lisgoold rider has plenty of big chances during the festival but winners breed confidence in every jockey.
Duc Des Genievres was completing a quickfire double for trainer Willie Mullins with an impressive 13-length victory in the Grade 1 Racing Post Arkle under Townend at odds of 5-1.
Us And Them, previously seen finishing runner-up to long-time Arkle favourite and stablemate Le Richebourg, was a remote second, with Articulum running a fine race for trainer Terence O'Brien to complete a 1-2-3 for Ireland in third.
"He had a dream run around today and handled the ground very well," Townend said.
"He took a nice leap forward on his last start and has improved again.
"I was surprised with how well he was going – he was foot-perfect."
Trainer Willie Mullins added: "That was really impressive.
"It looked like a schooling session for him and it was nice to get a winner for Jared Sullivan (owner) and Paul who rode the horse with such confidence.
"It’s been a fantastic start to the festival with Klassical Dream winning the first and Duc Des Genievres winning this.”
In an eventful running Arkle, key contender Glen Forsa under Conna jockey Johnny Burke fell on the first circuit and the front-running Ornua took a tumble on the back straight, bringing down Kalashnikov.
Hardline was well supported into 100-30 favouritism for Davy Russell but could never land a blow, while Lalor, who was bidding to secure a fairytale victory for Kayley Woollacott, was never going and pulled up.