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Bertie enjoys run of luck with top tips as Nicky shows his form

STYLE: Kathryn and Karen O'Hara, with Aileen Gallagher, Annette O'Hara and Emer KelleherWESTLIFE'S Nicky Byrne may be busy preparing for the band's much anticipated concert at Lissadell House in Sligo tomorrow -- but it hasn't stopped him chancing his luck on the horses this week.

The popular singer has been keeping up to date on the festivities at Ballybrit by getting his father-in-law Bertie Ahern to place bets on his behalf.

The former Taoiseach, who admits to sharing a close bond with his daughter Georgina's husband of seven years, explained how he has been in constant contact with his pop star son-in-law over the past two days in order to trade tips on the form at Galway.

"Nicky's more into the football but he takes an interest in the racing," Bertie explained. "I've been onto him for a few tips before the big races.

"We've had a few winners but nothing too big. I won't be making it to Sligo to watch him and the guys as I'll be down in Kerry building sandcastles with the grandchildren.


"I'm sure they'll be great. I won't be making it to Croker either. Unfortunately I don't think Dublin have a chance," he added.

And while the Drumcondra man admits he had little chance to catch up with his successor Brian Cowen during his visit, the pair were spotted exchanging pleasantries outside the parade ring yesterday afternoon.

The Taoiseach was on hand to present the award for the big race of the day, the 5.25pm Galway Plate, to Limerick businessman JP McManus, who is said to have netted a tidy sum after betting at odds of 22/1 on his own horse, Finger On The Pulse.

The Tom Taaffe-trained horse romped home in first place under champion jockey Tony McCoy.

Tony's glamorous wife Chanelle told the Diary: "I'm absolutely delighted for him. It's fantastic to have a winner like that in Ballybrit and it's great for Mr McManus as well."

Earlier that day, the couple had posed for a photocall to launch the first New Year's Eve Pink Blacktie ball in Ballygarry House, Tralee, on behalf of their close friend Orlagh Winters, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

"All the proceeds will go to the National Breast Cancer Research Institute so it's a really worthwhile cause," Chanelle added.

Not so lucky at the track yesterday however was TG4 weatherman Daithi O Se, who explained he was losing all around him.

The Kerryman joined Image magazine editor and Herald writer Melanie Morris, beauty expert Triona McCarthy and HRI PR guru Tamso Doyle at an invite-only lunch in the exclusive Killanin suite, hosted by Galway Racecourse.

Meanwhile, over at the luxury four-star Lough Rea hotel, a host of well-known faces from the capital city were spotted kicking off the celebrations last night ahead of today's Ladies Day festivities.

Among those who will enjoy VIP treatment at the hotel over the next two days are jewellery designer Catriona Hanley, socialite Avila Lipsett who jetted in from her adopted home of London to attend the festival, and celebrity chef Andrew Rudd.

Those who will be on hand at today's much anticipated fourth meeting include Xpose's Glenda Gilson, who has been lined up to judge the Best Dressed competition.

Her showbiz rival Rosanna Davison is also expected to make the trip to the city of Tribes this afternoon via chopper alongside her dad, singer Chris de Burgh and her mother Diane.


And while the former Miss World will no doubt be doing her best to stay out of fellow model Glenda's way, following their much publicised falling out, the blonde beauty is looking forward to joining her good pal Laura Toogood for a glass of bubbly.

Other big names expected to turn on the style in order to be in with the chance of scooping the top prize of a €8,500 diamond solitaire pendant, a shopping spree worth €1,500 in Anthony Ryan Ltd and €1,000 cash include Karen Koster, model Andrea Roche and Grainne Seoige.