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.