Miss Xian (far side) holds on in bunch finish
©Healy Racing Photos
By Gary Carson
Miss Xian prevailed in a gruelling finish as conditions took their toll in the 2m7f handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Francis Flood's charge was well backed before racing from 11/2 into 5/2 and after a initial drift on course was returned 5/2 favourite.
She hit the front at the third last but was joined by Dunroe Boy and the pair battled it out into the straight.
Dunroe Boy looked to be getting on top two out but Mark Walsh's mount battled back to lead at the last.
She looked in control on the run-in but tired in the closing stages and held on for a half-length success as the pack closed.
Dunroe Boy just held on for the runner-up spot. He was just a short-head in front of Preswell Lad and Spiker The Biker, who dead-heated for third.
Dunroe Boy drifted left on the run-in, carrying Preswell Lad with him. The stewards held an enquiry and demoted him to fourth with the dead-heaters promoted to second.
The winner had proved no match for easy winner Wise Oscar on her last visit to the course on New Year's Day.
“She's very tough and she's from the Couldnt Be Better (won Thyestes and Hennessy) family and there are plenty of guts in the family,” said Francis Flood junior.
“I thought she was going to be caught but she just held on.”
The stewards handed Ian McCarthy a five-day ban for his ride on Dunroe Boy, judging he had used whip with excessive frequency and hadn't given his mount time to respond.
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)