COPPEEN jockey Noel Fehily got the Cheltenham Festival off to a flyer for his legion of fans with a brilliant victory aboard Summerville Boy.
In a dramatic finish, West Corkman Fehily showed all his experience to overhaul Kalashnikov by a neck in a thriller.
Fehily said: "He’s a wonderful horse and what a training performance – he was cherry ripe today.
"I thought he was gone at the second-last but he’s brave and fought back well.
"I must have lost five or six lengths and he's come back with a real show of class.
"Winning around here means everything."
Elsewhere on the card, Buveur D’air successfully defended his Champion Hurdle crown just edging out Melon who was ridden by Cork's Paul Townend.
Jockey Barry Geraghty had to dig deep in one of many very tight finishes on an enthralling opening day run in the beautiful sunshine.