Clancy can rise to challenge for Madden
CLANCY STRAND is fancied to land the nap selection in the O'Neills Sports Club Challenge Handicap Hurdle on this evening's Bellewstown card.
With 16 runners set to tackle the two-mile-one-furlong contest at the unique Co Meath venue, the €7,245 race has an open look to it.
The likes of Downpatrick winner Nivek's Dream and Tear Drops, which scored at Tramore last month before tipping up next time, have live chances, but Clancy Strand may have a bit in hand. Niall 'Boots' Madden's six-year-old has just 10 starts to his name, and progressed to finish in the first two on three successive occasions last summer.
On his reappearance off a mark of 99 at Roscommon in June, he wasn't given a hard time of things when he caught the eye by keeping on for third behind Redera.
The handicapper has given Clancy Strand 3lbs for that effort, but that only confirms the impression that he is a horse with an unexposed profile.
If the JP McManus-owned gelding has some luck in running, he should go very close. Earlier on the seven-race programme, Misspublican appeals in the Seamus Mulvaney Crockafotha Handicap Hurdle.
Archie Boy, a game winner at Kilbeggan recently, will be popular again here, but Misspublican may be weighted to beat him.
A close fourth to Archie Boy at Kilbeggan, Colin Bowe's mare is 4lbs better off for that length-and-three-quarter defeat. On just her third start in a handicap, she could take some stopping now.
Archie Boy's Longford-based handler Paul Flynn has a chance of getting his evening off to a good start with Boxer Beat in the Indaver Ireland Novice Hurdle.
In a 10-strong field that features a few more established four-year-olds, Boxer Beat still has the scope to build on his two placed outings at Ballinrobe under Tom Doyle.
In the subsequent Sam Dennigan & Co Maiden Hurdle, Witness Belle can make the long journey north pay for Carrigtwohill-based Terence O'Brien.
Second at Listowel over two and a half miles last time, the Witness Box mare should appreciate the extra half a mile here.