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Bertie’s bet romps home at Galway

Bertie Ahern leafed through the form book at Galway Races yesterday. He knows his horses, after all.

Lucky Bertie's had a few wins on the nags in the past. “Rock and Roll Kid,” he said confidently.

What to do? Gamble €10 on the word of a politician — even if it is the former Taoiseach?

What if he was just being polite by picking that name, given he was at the track to attend Boyzone's Ronan Keating's fundraiser for the Marie Keating Foundation?

It was hard to think straight over the sound of the rain hammering off the windows. It had begun to pour just before noon and it hammered down relentlessly all afternoon.

It made for a dismal beginning to the second day of the Galway Festival. Just as well that Tuesday night is generally seen as the lads' night of the festival, as the dire conditions would've made quick work of flimsy frocks and precariously-created hats.

And then Bertie picked his winner. He was at the track as usual, but this time he wasn't wandering around the mazy tented village or holding court with friends and high-flyers in the Fianna Fail wigwam.

Instead, he had the best view in the house, right over the finishing-line in a suite in the Killanin Stand.

Ronan Keating was sporting a tan acquired during a family holiday in Portugal — he had just flown in from the sun yesterday morning for the fundraiser. And he has a busy few months coming up.

“I've a solo album called ‘Winter Songs' out before Christmas,” he said. He is also writing material with compadre Stephen Gately for a new Boyzone album. “We've just finished a really relaxed tour,” he explained. “It's different this time around — maybe it's because we have families now. This time, we've less money and no egos,” he laughed.

With 100 guests paying €2,500 a table, Ronan was hoping the event would raise between €40,000 and €50,000 for the foundation.

Later, Rock and Roll Kid crossed the line in first place and then the sun came out. It was nothing short of miraculous.

Sport, Pages 50-51

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