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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Mullins camp reconsider Champion Bumper for Augusta

Posted: 22nd Feb 2016

Augusta-kate-360

Augusta Kate: as low as 7-1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

Augusta Kate may be rerouted to Cheltenham

AUGUSTA KATE, whose famous owners had said she was likely to run at Sandown and miss Cheltenham, could be in line for a surprise switch to the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

The mare is undefeated in two starts and as low as 7-1 for the Grade 1, but was expected to swerve the Festival in favour of a Listed mares' bumper at Sandown on March 12. This plan was recently confirmed by Graham Wylie, who owns the mare with former Newcastle United and England footballer Alan Shearer, golfer Lee Westwood and TV presenters Ant and Dec.

Mullins ran six horses in the Champion Bumper last season but it is unlikely he will have so many next month, especially as Gigginstown House Stud - owners of Avenir D'Une Vie and Lucky Pass - tend not to target the race.

Mullins said on Monday: "Augusta Kate is working nicely. We've sort of said we'd go for the Sandown race but we might rejig it and go to Cheltenham instead. She is very hard to evaluate as she does not show at home what she does on the racetrack.

"So far so good with her. We had nominated Sandown but I'd say everything is open at the moment."

Other options
Avenir D'Une Vie recorded a Racing Post Rating of 136, the best achieved in an Irish bumper this season, when bolting up at Navan on Sunday. However, Mullins said he was happy with whatever Gigginstown decide with regard to his plans.

"I don't mind if they leave him at home for Irish races. He has been showing us plenty for some time and the two times he was beaten we were disappointed really.

"Lucky Pass is not going to Cheltenham. Battleford is likely to run and Bacardys is another one. Very Much So goes. Some Neck will probably stay at home."

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