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Annie May can lead rivals merry dance

Kilbeggan and Killarney host two competitive jumps fixtures this weekend, with this evening's meeting at the Westmeath venue giving punters a couple of trick puzzles to solve.

In the featured FBD Insurance Hurdle, Skip Two, recently returned from a near two-year lay-off, is taken to gain an overdue success. Davy Fitzgerald's 10-year-old was placed in a Munster National at his peak three years ago, but it is over hurdles that the Askeaton handler has campaigned his charge since his return.

On Skip Two's most recent outing at Sligo, he kept on well to be second to Run For Sol over an inadequate two and a half miles.

Should he improve on that now, he is the one the other nine runners have to beat, though Datokepe and Friendly Society are two other live contenders that have promised plenty of late.

Recent course winner Annie May is the nap selection on the seven-race programme.

The Anshan mare is stepping up to three miles for a first time in the Belvedere House, Gardens & Park Handicap Chase, and there are plenty able and consistent sorts among the 17-strong field that will test her stamina.

Nonetheless, Annie May's pedigree suggests that she should stay, while she didn't look to be stopping when coming home nine lengths clear last time.

If Mark Bolger's mount is in the same form, she should win.

Charles O'Brien, who enjoyed his best ever jumping campaign with a return of six winners in the season just passed, is fancied to collect with his first runner of the new term in the opening maiden hurdle.

His representative here is Formal Bid, which finished eighth on his only previous jumping start at Naas in March.


The four-year-old needs to reverse form with Longliner, fourth then, to score, but it was a debut that promised much.

What's more, a recent win at Dundalk confirmed that Formal Bid is in good heart.

Tomorrow's card at Killarney is the better of the two jumping fixtures in terms of quality. Apt Approach, in the www.themalton.com Chase, is the bet of the day.

Following a fine effort to be second to Politeo under a big weight at Down Royal, last year's winner Archie Boy will doubtless be a formidable opponent in the €10,695 contest.

However, the weights are in Apt Approach's favour, as he receives 10lb from Archie Boy, Psycho and Schelm.

That leaves Apt Approach 4lb well in with Archie Boy on official ratings.

While Ruby Walsh's mount may still be 3lb wrong with Psycho, he remains relatively unexposed over fences, as evidenced by his luckless fall at the last fence when still in front in a handicap at the Punchestown Festival.

Banyan Tree is another strong fancy at the Kerry venue in the Killarney Towers Hotel Hurdle.

Representing Fethard handler John Halley, the former Ballydoyle inmate was a game fourth on his first try over obstacles at Cork in April.

Kalann, the winner that day, did the form no harm with a third in a decent race at Punchestown, so Banyan Tree could be hard to beat now.

Halley is also taken to land the following maiden hurdle with jumping debutant Presenting Nama.

A dual bumper winner, this son of Presenting cut out much of the running when sixth behind the smart Samain at Naas in February.

Irish Independent