Abby Rugg

Name: Abby Rugg
Qualification: Gold Standard NCTJ Multi-Media Journalism Diploma. (Including 100 words-per-minute shorthand)
Employment: Worked at BBC Sport and Deltatre for London 2012.
Future Aim: To work in broadcast/production television.
Blog: Started in November 2011. Published on The Sports Investor and Value Horse Tips. Please comment on a post or follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


E/W Italian Riviera

Excess Knowledge
E/W Havana Beat

Dawn Approach
E/W Declaration Of War

E/W Parbold

Autumn Sunrise
E/W Merry Me

Saucy Minx
E/W Ribbons

Magic City
E/W Bravo Echo

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


E/W Blue Surf

E/W Majestic Alexander

E/W Boom and Bust

Duke of Clarence
E/W Harris Tweed

E/W Sacha Park

E/W Captain Cat

E/W Jedward

Saturday, 1 June 2013


WITH Dawn Approach on the horizon, the Epsom Derby looks set to rise to the occasion later today.

Twelve horses will take to the track at 4pm in a bid to win the £1.5m prize money - but will the favourite live up to expectations and run away with the winnings?

With the recent drugs scandal still looming in the sport, the chestnut colt is a beacon for Godolphin and seems to remain in a different league to his competitors. 

But even though it may be difficult to look past Dawn Approach, runners including Ruler of the World, Ocovango and Mirsaale (previous course winner) are high contenders.

Ruler of the World is an unbeaten six-length Chester Vase winner and, to me, has the highest chance of causing an upset.

He is half-brother to Duke of Marmalade and with Ryan Moore on board, the horse has the ability to finish in the top three.

Now at 100/1, Mirsaale may seem like a silly tip - but the son of the 2006 Derby winner Sir Percy has previously won at Epsom and could be the dark horse in the competition.

Arguably there are better horses in the Derby, but you never know - a sneaky £5 bet could get you a fantastic result.

Having trained in France, British racing could suit Ocovango slightly better. 

Trainer Andre Fabre has taken the horse on the same route which 2011 winner Pour Moi journeyed on and at around 7/1, he shouldn't be avoided.

However, I think red hot favourite Dawn Approach will follow in his father's footprints (or hoof-prints) and grab the title.

It's difficult to look past him and with an impressive 2,000 Guineas win under his belt, the unbeaten colt is ready to make another impact and make his seventh consecutive win.

But is it really going to be that easy?! Tell me who you have backed - Good luck!

My Top Three:

1st -  Dawn Approach
2nd - Ruler of the World
3rd - Mirsaale

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


*I know this event happened nearly two months ago, (Friday March 1) but it was my first sports byline in print and I wanted to share it with you!

My wristband. VIP guest! Top pros Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis 
were among the players I interviewed.

IN FRONT of a sell-out crowd at Lower Hyde, Shanklin, darts prodigy Keegan Brown lapped up the support at the IW Pro Masters.

Despite losing against winner Raymond van Barneveld 5-3, Keegan, 20, of Newport, scored six 180s during an impressive performance and came close to a nine-darter.

Keegan, who is 86th in the PDC order of merit, said he felt nervous during the first leg but got into a steady rhythm when the adrenaline kicked in.

“It was fantastic up there, to have everyone chanting your name was quality. You cannot beat it,” he said.

“This has been great for the IW. 750 people were here tonight and it felt the whole Island was here to support us. It was absolutely brilliant.”

Keegan stepped up to the oche with winners of the IW qualifiers, Gavin Hicks, Tony Broughton and Nick Popham and top pros Raymond, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Adrian Lewis.

For the event, the IW players were drawn against the pros in a knock-out contest, with the semi-finals and final scheduled straight after.

It was the biggest stage for all four IW players, who said that playing against their idols was an incredible experience. 

Gavin Hicks, 30, of Freshwater, who lost 5-2 to Adrian, said: “Being up there, which was the biggest stage I have ever been on, was electric. 

“If you said to me before the game I would’ve got two legs against Lewis and score the first 180 of the match, I would have snapped your hand off.”

Adrian, who lost to Simon in the semi-finals, added: “I thought Gavin played really well. I thought it would be a tough game against him because he has one of the highest averages on the Island.”

Not only did the evening give a platform to the players, it showed the Island could benefit from hosting big sporting events.

One spectator Lee Dowding, 43, of East Cowes, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the professionals in person rather than on the television. It would be great to have another event like this again.” 

And organiser John Abbott added he hoped to host another IW Pro Masters next year, as Friday was a successful and entertaining evening.

“It’s the first time it has happened so far on the Island,” he said. “I think it has got people aware that we can put events like this on.”

“The tickets sold out in around four weeks and more than half of them were sold in 24 hours thanks to the County Press. 

“It wasn’t about the money, it was about having a good night and that’s why we organised it.”

Quarter-finals: Adrian Lewis 5, Gavin Hicks 2; Simon Whitlock 5, Tony Broughton 2; James Wade 5, Nick Popham 0; Raymond van Barneveld 5, Keegan Brown 3. Semi-finals: Adrian Lewis 3, Simon Whitlock 5; James Wade 3, Raymond van Barneveld 5. Final: Simon Whitlock 4, Raymond van Barneveld 5.

*Published in the Isle of Wight County Press

Saturday, 6 April 2013


1:45 - John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle
Up and Go

2:15 - John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase

2:50 - John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle
Celestial Halo (ew)

3:25 - John Smith's Handicap Chase
Opening Batsman

4:15 - John Smith's Grand National Chase
Cappa Bleu
Balthazar King

5:10 - John Smith's Handicap Hurdle

5:45 - John Smith's Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race 
Dakar Run
Purple Bay (ew)

Thursday, 4 April 2013


'WILL a female jockey win the Grand National?' is the question that has been hitting the headlines this week, and I think it could happen.

Katie Walsh, sister of champion jockey Ruby Walsh, is the only woman riding in the race and she will be partnering Seabass again, who finished third last year.

Seabass almost galloped to victory last year, but couldn't quite keep up with Sunnyhillboy and eventual winner, Neptune Collonges.

But I believe Katie has come back stronger this year and will charge past the post in prime position.

My money is on her.

I remember watching the 2012 Grand National. I was at my parents' house and we had a family friend over. 

He decided to watch the race with us, and when Katie was shown on our television screen, he said: "She won't win. She's a woman."

No one really knew how to answer him. But I did. I replied that being a woman makes no difference to winning or losing, and I believed Katie would produce a world-class performance, as she always does.

And she did. Third position is great - a fantastic achievement, the best position by any female jockey in the race.

But Katie can finish in a better position this year. She can win and everybody knows it.

At the moment, Seabass is around 10/1 to win, and Katie's brother, Ruby, is currently favourite with On His Own at 7/1.

A jockey needs a lot of luck in the Grand National, but with focus and determination, I am positive Katie will do the girls - and racing - proud.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


IT'S BEEN a week of tumbles and disappointment in the racing world - first Imperial Commander pulled out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then Robert Thornton was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Imperial Commander, the 2010 Gold Cup winner, was set to make a comeback and possibly regain his crown, but a lung infection forced his trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, to pull him out of the race.

After an absence of nearly two years, the veteran chaser emerged as a surprise contender in one of the most biggest races in the sport, when he finished second in the Argento Chase in January.

However, despite the disappointment, connections hope he will recover in time for the John Smith's Grand National next month.

While Twiston-Davies keeps his fingers-crossed for the 12-year-old horse, jockey Robert Thornton revealed he broke his arm in a fall at Southwell on Monday and will now miss the remainder of the season.

Thornton, one of my favourite jockeys and a true gentleman (I have met him a few times and he is lovely), also damaged his spine in the tumble from Our Phylli Vera in a handicap hurdle, but it's hoped surgery will not be required.

The Cheltenham Festival will not be the same without the two sporting greats, but I, along with everyone in the racing world, wishes them a speedy and healthy recovery.

Thursday, 28 February 2013


IMPERIAL COMMANDER is around 20/1 to regain his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown after his heroic performance at the Festival Trials.

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was thrilled with the way the 12-year-old battled against the field in the Argento Chase last month.

After leading for a long way throughout the chase, Imperial Commander was just caught by Cape Tribulation and went down to second by half-a-length.

But the 2010 Gold Cup hero will now bid to become the second horse - after Kauto Star in 2009 - to regain his crown and the first 12-year-old since What A Myth in 1969.

Twiston-Davies' horse certainly pulled off a breath-taking win at Cheltenham last month and regained fans in the process.

He hadn't run for 680 days and suffered a set back at the beginning of the season, but still managed to finish in a respectable position.

With the odds of 20/1, and Bobs Worth being the 3/1 favourite, Imperial Commander may seem like the dark the horse in the race.

But I think a small flutter on the Twiston-Davies trained horse would not go amiss. 

He produced the wow factor and did what Kauto Star managed to do: doubted the punters who said he was too old to win again. He is a joy to watch and I personally did not think we would see him again. 

I think Imperial Commander is one to consider and should not be crossed off the list.

He stormed up the hill like a steam train in the Festival Trials and I believe he can do it again, but this time finish one place better.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


RUBY Walsh has once again chosen Hurricane Fly over Zarkandar in the Stan James Champion Hurdle - but it hasn't been a concern for Paul Nicholls.

We all know Ruby is a world-class jockey and his loyalty to the horses never goes unnoticed.

I will always remember his decision between Kauto Star and Denman in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup – so much speculation surrounded his choice and I even asked him which horse he would pick during a previous meeting at the Gloucestershire racecourse.

His answer: “I would like to know myself!”

Walsh is the stable jockey to both Nicholls and Willie Mullins and he previously rode Hurricane Fly in the last Champion Hurdle.

He finished third, with Zarkandar fifth, but both Nicholls and Mullins believe their entries are different horses this time round.

Daryl Jacob is to take over Zarkandar but Nicholls doesn’t look at it as Ruby deserting the yard.

The trainer has enjoyed an unbeaten run with Zarkandar, who is one of three fighting for the position as second favourite in the race.

The Cheltenham Festival isn’t far away now. I find myself checking news updates everyday and I have always thought it’s the best week’s racing.

Hurricane Fly and Zarkandar will battle it out on the track and I am sure the result will be better than last year for them both.

But do you think Walsh’s decision is the right one? Or should he have chosen Nicholls' Zarkandar?

Friday, 15 February 2013


RACING'S past may soon be re-lived thanks to the creation of a national heritage centre.

Members of the Forest Heath District Council approved the building of Home of Horseracing National Heritage Centre - which will cost £14.3 million - on Thursday.

Subject to the final piece of funding, the creation in Newmarket's High Street has been described as a tourist destination for UK and International visitors.

It is estimated 40,000 to 50,000 visitors could flock to the centre every year, bringing in £1.8m a year to the town.

The centre, which could open in 2015, will include new galleries in the Palace House Stables and Trainer's House as well as a temporary exhibition gallery, a larger library and educational facilities.

Horses will be allowed to be shown for the first time as the site's Rothschild Yard will be restored as a flagship home for the Retraining of Racehorses charity.

It certainly is a great scheme for horse racing. I think it will give the sport a boost and attract people of all ages, which may even inspire a generation.

It isn't every day you hear of these schemes go on for racing, and that it why I have decided to write about it for my blog.

More encouragement needs to be given to projects like this, not just for racing but for all sports. 

Sport is important and I think enthusiasm towards it begins at local clubs, events and centres like this.

So I think it is a job well done and I am pleased the council approved it. 

Not only will Newmarket benefit from the tourist destination, but racing may also increase in popularity and appreciation. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


A FATAL fall by Darlan shocked the racing world on Monday.

At the final hurdle of the Champion Hurdle trial in Doncaster, Darlan tumbled over the final hurdle, launching jockey Tony McCoy and himself into the ground.

Sadly, the error proved fatal.

When I heard the news of the accident, I was at work. (I am a reporter for my local paper). I opened Twitter to see what the latest news was in my local area and was shocked to see heart-felt messages fill my timeline about Darlan.

After scrolling through them, I realised how loved the Nicky Henderson trained horse was: the potential which he had was immense and he was definitely admired by a lot of followers.

Darlan, winner of the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, had been the second favourite for the Champion Hurdle and he raced well against Rock On Ruby during the 32Red Hurdle on Monday.

McCoy travelled well behind the leader and looked ready for a gusty finish. But Darlan stepped at the hurdle and fell. The result was inevitable.

McCoy even stepped down for the rest of the day. 

Rock On Ruby pulled off a gritty win, but it was - and still is - overshadowed by Darlan's death.

Harry Fry's horse did well to get ahead of Countrywide Flame, who was the long-time leader throughout the race, and no doubt he will continue to blossom.

Even a few days later, many - including myself - are saddened by the loss of Darlan. But as Nicky Henderson said, "It's some game, isn't it?"

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


The 2013 Grand National has attracted 84 entries, including popular horses Imperial Commander, On His Own, Tidal Bay, Sunnyhillboy and Chicago Grey.
Below is the list of entries (trainer's name in brackets).

Across The Bay (D McCain)

Albertas Run (J O'Neill)

Alfie Sherrin (J O'Neill)
Always Waining (P Bowen)
Any Currency (M Keighley)
Auroras Encore (S Smith)
Backstage (G Elliott)
Ballabriggs (D McCain)
Balthazar King (P Hobbs)
Becauseicouldntsee (N Glynn)
Beshabar (T Vaughan)
Big Fella Thanks (T George)
Bob Lingo (T Mullins)
Bostons Angel (Mrs J Harrington)
Calgary Bay (M Channon)
Call The Police (W Mullins)
Cappa Bleu (E Williams)
Chicago Grey (G Elliott)
Cloudy Lane (D McCain)
Colbert Station (T Walsh)
Cross Appeal (N Meade)
Fabalu (D McCain)
Forpadydeplasterer (T Cooper)
Frisco Depot (C Longsdon)
Gullible Gordon (P Bowen)
Harry The Viking (P Nicholls)
Imperial Commander (N Twiston-Davies)
Jessies Dream (G Elliott)
Join Together (P Nicholls)
Joncol (P Nolan)
Katenko (V Williams)
Lambro (W Mullins)
Lion Na Bearnai (T Gibney)
Little Josh (N Twiston-Davies)
Lost Glory (J O'Neill)
Magnanimity (D Hughes)
Major Malarkey (N Twiston-Davies)
Matuhi (D Pipe)
Midnight Chase (N Mulholland)
Mister Hyde (J O'Neill)
Mortimers Cross (J Needham)
Mr Moonshine (Mrs S Smith)
Mumbles Head (P Bowen)
Ninetieth Minute (T Taaffe)
Odysseas (Y Porzier)
On His Own (W Mullins)
Organisedconfusion (A Moore)
Oscar Time (M Lynch)
Outlaw Pete (J Halley)
Pandorama (N Meade)
Pearlysteps (H Daly)
Pentiffic (Miss V Williams)
Planet of Sound (P Hobbs)
Poker De Sivola (F Murphy)
Prince De Beauchene (W Mullins)
Problema Tic (D Pipe)
Quel Esprit (W Mullins)
Quinz (P Hobbs)
Quiscover Fontaine (W Mullins)
Quito De La Roque (C Murphy)
Rare Bob (D Hughes)
Roberto Goldback (N Henderson)
Roi Du Mee (G Elliott)
Romanesco (G Elliott)
 Saint Are (T Vaughan
Seabass (T Walsh)
Shakervilz (W Mullins)
Soll (J Hughes)
Summery Justice (V Williams)
Sunnyhillboy (J O'Neill)
Swing Bill (D Pipe)
Tarquinius (G Elliott)
Tartak (T Vaughan)
Tatenen (R Rowe)
Teaforthree (Miss R Curtis)
The Package (D Pipe)
The Rainbow Hunter (K Bailey
Tidal Bay (P Nicholls)
Tofino Bay (D Hughes)
Treacle (T Taaffe)
Viking Blond (N Twiston-Davies)
Weird Al (D McCain)
What A Friend (P Nicholls)
Wyck Hill (D Bridgwater)