FORMER England striker Alan Shearer admits he is feeling the nerves ahead of Augusta Kate’s bid for glory at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.
The top goal scorer in Premier League history, Shearer says he feels more apprehensive when he sees his horses run than he ever did as a player. The Willie Mullins-trained Augusta Kate, who Shearer co-owns with TV stars Ant and Dec, golfer Lee Westwood, golf agent Chubby Chandler and leading owner Graham Wylie, is a leading contender for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next Friday.
“When I was playing football I was in control of what I was doing.
“As an owner involved in racing, you can’t affect the result. I get more nervous watching racing than I ever did before any big game in football,” he said in his Coral blog.
“I have got nothing but admiration for jockeys.
“They must be crazy for what they put themselves through on a day-to-day basis,” added former striker Shearer.
Meanwhile, last year’s Gold Cup third Don Poli has been ruled out of next week’s race after suffering a setback, according to trainer Gordon Elliott.
Harry Whittington is hoping Bigmartre can kickstart his season by winning the Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Whittington is only in his fourth season with a licence, but he has maintained a good strike-rate all his career and landed a Grade One at Aintree with Arzal last season.
Arzal unfortunately had to be put down shortly after that victory and Whittington suffered further ill fortune when his campaign was brought to a halt after Christmas due to a low-level virus. However, his string appear to be fit and healthy once more.
“He should have a good chance and while I don’t think the ground will be ideal for any of them, he does at least have form on soft and he has a knee action,” said the trainer.