Bertie to make most of class drop

Bertie Le Belge sets the standard in tonight’s feature in Dundalk, the listed Star Appeal Stakes.

Bertie to make most of class drop

This Ger Lyons-trained Big Bad Bob gelding has looked a smart juvenile in his three starts, earning an official rating of 98 and, dropping in class after an abortive effort in Group 3 company last time, he should prove tough to beat.

Apparently unfancied for his debut at the Curragh back in June, he swooped late to foil Cape Clear Island before following-up in a seven-furling conditions event in Leopardstown the following month.

Upped to Group 3 class on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown, Bertie filled fourth spot behind the classy Ballydoyle colt John F Kennedy, beaten less than seven lengths.

Dropping into listed company and experiencing the polytrack for the first time, Bertie Le Belge looks a solid performer and, if the handicapper is correct, he’ll be tough to beat tonight.

Aidan O’Brien’s Smugglers Cove, which stepped forward from his debut run in Roscommon to land a Listowel maiden, and Willie McCreery’s filly Leading Actress might chase home Colin Keane’s mount.

Matty Tynan’s course specialist Maontri, off the track since last February, is a fascinating runner in the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Race.

This seven-year-old mare showed a remarkable rate of improvement in mid-winter, completing a polytrack four-timer and pushing her rating up from 59 to 98.

Successful twice over a mile and twice over tonight’s trip — seven furlongs — she’ll be ridden for the first time by Wayne Lordan and appeals in a tricky five-runner affair.

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