Nervous Alan Shearer looking forward to Augusta Kate's Festival run

Fri 10 Mar 2017

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 and a regular for his country, Shearer is well used to coping with the pressures of sport, but has revealed 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.

"W hen 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," Shearer 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. When you are running towards a fence at the pace they do and to put your body through as many falls as they do, they are incredibly brave.

"I know Michael Owen is going to take part in a charity race in the near future, but is that something I would never do.

"I have huge respect for all jockeys, they are putting their bodies on the line every day. We all love the big meetings but let's not forget these guys do this every day of their lives for a living and love it."

Augusta Kate is set for a rematch with Gordon Elliott's Death Duty on the final day of the Festival. The two were upsides in the Lawlor's Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas when Augusta Kate crashed out at the final flight.

Shearer said: "I t looks like Augusta Kate is going to run in the Albert Bartlett. If she does, she will be coming up against Death Duty again.

"I am told it was the first time Death Duty had been challenged (at Naas). We obviously don't know what the result would have been if she had stayed on her feet, but Ruby (Walsh) certainly felt she would have won the race.

"She is likely to be stepping up in trip next week, which Graham Wylie thinks will help her given her breeding profile.

"I would not profess to being an expert on horse racing so as an owner I leave everything to the trainer. They are the experts and the ones who see the horse every day of the week.

"I do get nervous before a race. First and foremost you want the horse and jockey to come back safely and secondly, as you tend to have a few friends involved, you don't want it to let you down.

"I think one of the reasons so many footballers get involved in racing is that they have a lot of time on their hands. Training can be over by lunchtime and if you don't have any kids to look after, you are scratching your head for something to do.

"I've never been big into gambling but I do like a flutter now and again."

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