Harambe provided trainer Alan King with his second Unibet Greatwood Hurdle victory in three years with a tenacious success at 16/1.
King sent out Elgin to win the valuable handicap in 2017 and repeated the dose as the Thomas Bellamy-ridden Harambe stayed on best in the testing conditions to emerge on top in a tight, three-way finish.
The winner was one of the last to play their hand and just nosed ahead in the closing stages, taking over from Monsieur Lecoq under Lizzie Kelly who looked booked for victory. Gumball boxed on bravely towards the stands' side rail to split that pair, going down by just a neck with the same distance back to Monsieur Lecoq.
It was a third victory over obstacles for the six-year-old Harambe on his first Cheltenham appearance.
Harambe's joint-owner Niall Farrell said: "He had a bit of blip last week and we took our time with him. He did a bit of work during the week and we took our chance. He is a lovely horse that we brought through from the stores.
"We've had him since a baby and brought him through bumpers, novice hurdles and handicaps. We thought it would be a nice opportunity and we hoped we would get here. It was going well until last week, but I couldn't be happier.
"It's a bit like everything else, time and patience with a good team behind him and they have done a super job. It will be interesting when he goes over a fence."
He added: "This is huge. Coming here and having a runner is brilliant. To have a winner in the Greatwood, which is a huge race, is brilliant.
"I've been with Alan nearly 15 years now and that's his 98th winner for me."
Bellamy said: "I'm absolutely chuffed for the horse as much as anything. We've always known he had plenty of ability, but we were just waiting for it to come right on the day and it has today.
"It's massive. I had a winner at the last Cheltenham meeting in October and that meant a lot, but a big race like today, a Grade Three, is great.
"It was his first big handicap, and I thought, 'ride him to run well and anything else is a bonus'. He was running well and the bonus happened.
"Today was a big step forwards for him, so hopefully it is onwards and upwards."