The New One, who had taken it up a fair way from home, just had the upper hand coming to the final flight but made a bad mistake, with Sam Twiston-Davies briefly losing an iron.
That allowed Tony McCoy on the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old (11-8) to get the better of the 5-6 favourite on the dash to the line and take the Champion Hurdle rehearsal by half a length.
The pair pulled well clear of Sametegal in third.
McCoy said: “It was very pleasing. He pulled hard off a steady enough gallop on heavy ground.
“He had every chance to fold up because he was so keen, but he really toughed it out.
“When I really needed one at the last, he delivered. He’s improved since Newcastle (winning Fighting Fifth Hurdle) and it was a much better performance. I was very impressed with the horse, he has a great will to win.
“He couldn’t go for the Champion Hurdle if he hadn’t beaten The New One round here, but it was a gruelling enough test because he pulled so hard on heavy ground.
“He has definitely improved from Newcastle, but he needs to step up a little again and hopefully he can.”
Henderson said: “I was pleased with his performance and most of all because AP (McCoy) was pleased with him and he said he’d come on a lot from Newcastle.
“They weren’t going much of a gallop and he couldn’t let him jump. He didn’t do the slick Tent today because he daren’t fire him at a hurdle as he was just getting keen.
“You can’t go a good pace in this ground or else you won’t get home, but I was impressed with the way the first two came away like they did.”
The New One’s trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: “He was only beaten half a length and if he hadn’t missed the last he might have got it.
“You don’t want to be making the running in a race like that, and you wish there had been a better gallop – we probably should have put a pacemaker in.
“He probably won’t run again before the Champion Hurdle, but I don’t know, we’ll have to see.”