Politologue led his rivals a merry dance to win the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in tremendous fashion.
With the late withdrawals of Altior and Chacun Pour Soi, it appeared Defi Du Seuil faced a relatively simple task given the way his stellar season had gone.
But while he was sent off the 2/5 favourite, Barry Geraghty was sending distress signals out a long way from home and he never looked like getting on terms.
Remarkably, the winner and stablemate Dynamite Dollars were the first runners of the meeting for Paul Nicholls and he filled the first two places in one of the biggest races of the week.
Harry Skelton was positive in front on the grey, making his fifth Festival appearance with his previous best coming when second to Altior in this 12 months ago.
The result barely looked in any doubt once he got loose coming down the hill and the chance had nine and a half lengths in hand crossing the line. Defi Du Seuil trailed in a well-beaten fourth.
Second last year, not for catching this time!— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 11, 2020
Politologue lands the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on his fifth Festival visit, leading home a 1-2 for @PFNicholls ?? #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/KWMw1PHtkG
It was a third Champion Chase for owner John Hales, winning the race with One Man in 1998 and Azertyuiop in 2004. He said:
"That was brilliant," he said. "We dictated it from start to finish and Harry got things absolutely right. I said to Harry to make his own pace and I'm over the moon – a third Queen Mother.
"It's wonderful after the bad news we had yesterday in the Arkle with Maire Banrigh, who is in hospital. She'll be okay, but she was cruising yesterday and I knew she'd win. She'll be all right."
It was the biggest success of jockey Harry Skelton's career, who said: "This is my first ride in the Champion Chase and I owe so much to the Hales family. They've known me since I was a little kid and Pat used to take me around the horse shows, and what more can I say?
"I'll also be forever grateful for everything Paul has done for my career. I grafted there for a long time and he told me at the start of the season to come back and ride out for a bit. This is magical and it's what he can do; he trained him to perfection."