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2016 Weatherbys Champion Bumper runners - Sports stars to cheer on Augusta Kate

Jon Wilde in Wed. 15th March 10 Mar 2016
  • Champion Bumper runner Augusta Kate has a group of famous owners
  • Find out the Cheltenham Festival plans of the celebrity syndicate
Alan Shearer (left), Declan Donnelly (second left) and Lee Westwood (third left) are all part of The Masters Syndicate which owns Champion Bumper runner Augusta Kate (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Celebrities including Alan Shearer and Lee Westwood hope to be at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival next Wednesday to cheer on Augusta Kate in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, for which her trainer Willie Mullins is responsible for seven of the 25 possible runners.

Former England striker Shearer and Ryder Cup golfer Westwood are part of The Masters Syndicate which owns Augusta Kate, who is unbeaten in both her career starts so far.

The Masters Syndicate is led by prominent owner Graham Wylie who has revealed that golfer Westwood will be in attendance at Cheltenham, while Shearer hopes to be but TV stars Ant and Dec, also among the group whose colours are carried by Augusta Kate, are unable to make it.

Shearer’s presence depends upon his commitments as a BBC football pundit and he said:

“We are all very excited. There's one stumbling block though. I've found out that if Chelsea and Everton draw in the FA Cup this weekend, the replay will be on that Wednesday and will scupper my plans as I will be part of the BBC team covering the replay. 
“The game is live this Saturday and it's a game I'm doing so I will be praying for a positive result. I'd be gutted to miss Cheltenham.”

While trainer Mullins has a terrific record at the Cheltenham Festival generally in recent years, the Bumper is the race in which he first made his name having won it eight times in its 24 runnings, including when riding Wither or Which to victory himself on the first of those occasions in 1996.

This time he also has the option of running Avenir D'Une Vie - who could be a rare Champion Bumper runner for Gigginstown House Stud - Bacardys, Battleford, Castello Sforza, Turcagua and Very Much So.

Gigginstown House Stud manager Eddie O'Leary confirmed Avenir D'Une Vie an intended runner, saying:

“He's probably more suited to bumpers than a lot of the horses we buy and Willie is keen to run him. A lot of the horses we buy are big chasers, whereas he travels well through his races and might not be as inconvenienced by the race as some might be.”

Mullins’ son Patrick traditionally has the pick of the yard's bumper runners and although Gigginstown have a retained rider in Bryan Cooper, O'Leary added:
"If Patrick wants to ride him, he can.”

Jessica Harrington-trained New To This Town, Dermot Weld's First Figaro and Winsome Bucks from Tom Hogan's yard are the three other potential challengers from Ireland.

The home team includes Ballyandy, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, John Ferguson's High Bridge and Sue Gardner-trained Coeur Blimey.


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2016 Weatherbys Champion Bumper runners - Sports stars to cheer on Augusta Kate

Celebrities including Alan Shearer and Lee Westwood hope to be at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival next Wednesday to cheer on Augusta Kate in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, for which her trainer Willie Mullins is responsible for seven of the 25 possible runners.

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