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.

Friday, 29 June 2012


French player Gillies Simon caused controversy in the world of tennis by claiming that women do not deserve to be paid as much as men because the men's game is deemed "more attractive". 

He added that it's about the entertainment as well as stating that men's tennis is actually more "interesting" than women's.

I believe that Simon's claims demonstrate how sexism is still an issue in sport. A man cannot be paid more because he is seen as a greater interest. If that is a reason behind any pay, then it is wrong. 

Wimbledon has awarded equal prize money since 2007: Singles winners win £1.15 million; Doubles winners get £260,000 for the pair; and mixed doubles earn £92,000 for the pair.

Giving the same amount of prize money is the correct thing to do in my opinion: female tennis players train and work equally as hard as male players do. The quality of play in women's tennis is just as good as men's. 

However, I can understand why some people are arguing men should receive greater pay because of their task to compete to the best of five sets, whereas a women has to play best to three. 

But surely we're all about equality here? We are in the 21st century, not the 20th. Being a women should not be a reason as to why pay should be less. That is unfair and sexist. 

Yes, I understand why many depict men's tennis as more interesting: the 'Top Four' create headlines worldwide because of their rivalry and always seem to cause the biggest shocks and upsets within the sport. 

But women's tennis is as interesting. I agree, there is not a rivalry between female players similar  with the likes of Nadal and Murray. But why should Simon use that as the reason as to why women shouldn't receive equal pay. 

Female players have fought long and hard to get equal prize money, so why are many people claiming the opposite to what they campaigned for?

Men have the physical ability of a 5 set match whereas a female may not have equal ability. Equal pay should be awarded because it is not a woman's fault if they do not have the physical strength to compete in 5 sets. I can understand people's argument against this, but I think Simon is wrong by claiming men's tennis is 'more attractive' and 'entertaining'. 

My message to the critics is this: Stop making gender the issue. Tennis players, both male and female, work hard and put equal time and effort into their training. It is not about the entertainment as Gilles Simon believes. It is about the players' ability to perform as athletes and achieve sporting goals for themselves and their countries. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012


Despite the story already being re-told for the past few days, Black Caviar’s nail-biting win at Royal Ascot is a race that I keep watching on repeat for two reasons.
One: The wonder from Down-Under was spectacular to watch as she wowed the crowd with her ability to run like the wind. Comparisons have been made between the mare and Frankel but both are completely different: Black Caviar is a sprinter whereas Frankel enjoys the distance.
And two: Jockey Luke Nolen’s rookie error. He stupidly eased Black Caviar for a few frightful seconds as she approached the winning post, allowing Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent to gain advantage.
77,000 Aussies gathered together on the day to watch Peter Moody’s mare compete in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes expecting to see their heroine make it 22 out of 22 wins.
But cheers from the opposite side of the globe joined the gasps from spectators here in the UK. Imagine what would have happened if a British jockey had caused their Australian horse to lose. After so much hype and media coverage, it would have been awful if Moonlight Cloud, who finished in second, had snatched the victory.
Going into the race, the mare’s domestic rating was 132, 15 pounds below her official rating in Australia. Respect, however, has to be given to the horse. Considering she had pulled muscles in her back she produced a feisty performance to maintain her unbeaten record.

The relief on Nolen’s face when Black Caviar was announced as the overall winner is a picture that will not be forgotten quickly. Black Caviar’s close encounter is a race that will be repeated over many years.
If Nolen hadn’t eased her up then Black Caviar would have won by more than a nose, something that handicappers would have considered in giving her performance rating two pounds higher than given to French rival Moonlight Cloud.
Black Caviar flew the flag for her country with triumph and her win works as a fitting end to the BBC’s coverage of Royal Ascot. Similar to the Grand National, the narrow victory demonstrates the excitement and passion that the BBC had towards the iconic race meeting.
With the opinions and analysis of the race still being published, I reckon I won’t be the only racing fan to replay Black Caviar’s royal win at Ascot.

Also published at: @valuehorsetips - Follow me every Thursday on their blog for 'Thursday Thoughts from Abby Rugg'.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


The sad news of Campbell Gillies' death in Corfu has circled round the globe this afternoon and seeing the number of messages on Twitter proves what a top jockey he was.

Campbell was on holiday with a group of jockey friends when he reportedly died as a result of a swimming accident. 

Campbell Gillies celebrates his win -Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Photo taken by Meteorshoweryn (taken from Flickr)

Arguably, Gillies' most memorable ride was on Lucinda Russell's Brindisi Breeze in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in March at Cheltenham. 

Sadly, the gelding died in May after he collided with a fuel tanker. The horse was Russell's first success at the jumps racing's premier meeting and is still greatly missed by all.

Even at the age of 21 the Scotsman proved to be a top winning jockey. He was to celebrate his 22nd birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) which makes the news even more poignant. 

Campbell rode over 50 winners for Russell and this message was put on her website ( 

"He was a much loved, popular and respected member at Arlary House, and it is so hard to lose part of our 'family'. Our hearts go out to his mother Lesley, brother and sister Finlay and Rita.

"We are immensley proud of the achievements of Campbell. It was through his innate ability and talent that he reached great heights as a jockey at such an early age. 

"More than that he had a wonderful charm that I believe came across to everyone who met him, and through his media interviews."

My thoughts go out to Campbell's family, friends and work colleagues today. I am only aged 19 and to see such a talented young man who was only two years older than me go too soon is shocking.

Racing will not be the same without Gillies but he will be forever remembered. RIP. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012


  • Momentary
    • Been trained specifically for this race and looks to progress further. 
  • Princess Highway
    • A lot of talk surrounding this filly and keeps on improving.
  • Fame And Glory
    • Difficult to look past this one. Last year's winner and has the ability to perform well again.
  • Saddler's Rock
    • Beat Opinion Poll by four lengths last year and has what it takes here.
  • Prince Alzain
    • A potential player in this race. Good form. Looks ideal.
  • Grandeur
    • With Dettori on board the horse can pull out an impressive win here. Progressive horse. Shouldn't be dismissed.
  • Rocktherunway
    • Always prominent. With good form and a race previously won at this distance the horse has ability to out shine the others.


If you failed to watch Frankel's stunning sprint at Royal Ascot on Tuesday afternoon then you missed a piece of spectacular history being created. 

His 11th straight victory has been making headlines worldwide so you don't need me repeating the stories. 

But what I will say is that watching the colt win by an eye-bulging 11 lengths gave me goosebumps. I watched jockey Tom Queally remain with the pack and then suddenly lurch into action.

It was as if Frankel and Queally had a close connection on the day. Both jockey and horse must have thought: "Oh god, what will happen if we don't win? There's a lot of people here today... Err right, here we go. RUNNN!!" 

Or something similar to that effect...

Sir Henry Cecil's horse is something special and watching him observe Frankel after his win on Tuesday showed how much time, effort and patience he puts in to produce fantastic moment's like that one.

Now the attention is growing more on Black Caviar. I heard someone say the other day that the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting is turning into the battle of the sexes. Can the colt out-do the mare within the racing event?

What ever happens on Saturday, Black Caviar has done her team proud. The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is her first race off Australian soil and I think she will make her 22nd start one to remember. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


  • Sovereign Debt
    • Has won here before when 11/4 favourite despite being held up in rear. Has the ability to pull through again.
  • Producer
    • Won previously at this distance before and could do well here to place.
  • Chachamaidee
    • Sir Henry Cecil's filly has been aiming for a win in this race. She looks set to do better than last year. 
  • Nahrain 
    • Seems to be the biggest threat. Shouldn't be dismissed.
  • Carlton House
    • Even though still lightly raced has the style to proceed well. Favourite has disappointed punters before so Sir Michael Stoute's horse looks to be the main threat.
  • Boom and Bust
    • Progressive horse. Has the ability to do well with Hayley Turner riding.
  • Arabian Star
    • Perhaps an ideal place. Has won distance before.
  • Jadanna
    • Looks set to win with Dettori on board. The filly performs well and has bookmakers vote.
  • Esentepe
    • This trip will suit her. Progressive filly and can find extra acceleration 

Monday, 18 June 2012


  • Frankel
    • This spectacular horse looks set to continue making history and looking at his odds the bookmakers seem to think so as well. 
  • Is Frankel's price too short for your liking? Try these for second and third:
    • Excelebration
    • Premio Loco
  • Ortensia
    • Seeing as this week is about Black Caviar, I'm hoping to see if other Australian horses can pull out a win. Ortensia placed first out of 15 in previous race and with 23 in this one can come out on top.
  • Power
    • Leading favourite and looks likely to win here. 
  • Lucayan
    • Could possibly make an interesting second.
  • Dawn Approach
    • A lot of talk around this colt. Has the ability to win here and heavily backed.
  • Al Khawaneej
    • Shortlisted. Liking the look of this horse and could set up a win.
  • Dark Ranger
    • Consistent horse. Ideal for a place bet.
  • Hototo
    • Has won on distance before and with previous win could possibly place first if can hold on again.
  • Cosmic Chatter
    • Like the look of the horse. Has also won distance before and can get a victory with Gibbons riding. 


Royal Ascot begins tomorrow, arguably the most exciting flat racing event around, and great horses have already been making headlines across the globe.

Even I am incredibly interested in this year's race meeting, something that hasn't really happened in the past.

I've always been a huge fan of National Hunt racing and it's only since I've had the burning ambition to become a journalist for the sport that I have gained a greater interest in the flat.

Black Caviar is the horse that has made the flat more attractive for me: she hasn't lost a race in 21 starts and her journey from Australia to the UK had me searching her name.


She is a very influential mare I must admit. Of course I have always followed horses on the flat but not as regularly as National Hunt.

Big Bucks, Midnight Chase, Denman, Kauto Star, Swincombe Flame, Katchit are all huge names in NH racing that I have grown up with and consequently admired. They're the horses that have encouraged me to go to race meetings and watch them run in the flesh.

But now I want to learn more about the flat, the jockeys and trainers and discover the difference between NH and flat horses; what makes them tick, their training schemes and the obstacles they must overcome to win a race.

I want to encourage all NH lovers to do the same: watch Royal Ascot this week and find a new appreciation for the flat. Don't dismiss the idea, it can arguably be as exciting. You've just got to find a new technique to put your finger on the winner.


Photo take by Jake Owens - Royal Ascot, Gold Cup Race, June 16th 2011. Taken from Flickr

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Black Caviar is in good health after her marathon journey to England.

The mare travelled for 30 hours from her stable in Australia to the UK and has dropped nine kilos from her weight of 580kg.

She is to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in just thirteen days and pundits have already turned to bookmakers for her latest odds.

It’s as if royalty has landed in the country: the mare has been unbeaten in 21 starts and the world of horseracing has been rocked by her red carpet arrival.

Who can argue that horseracing is a dying and cruel sport now? I have never seen a horse’s journey to this country fill newspapers and websites in an instant.

It delights me in watching the preparations for the horse: time, patience and hard work is visible and the trainer, owners, pundits and journalists are treating her with the respect that she deserves.

Trainer Peter Moody has said that he is a “bit nervous about it all” and I don’t blame him! A lot of money is being ridden on Black Caviar’s back but not only that, the effort towards maintaining the mare’s profile has been huge.

Black Caviar’s journey just proves how much of an athlete a horse can be in comparison with a human.

No other Australian horse has been a big star since the 1930’s Melbourne Cup winner Phar Lap.

But can Black Caviar win in just under two weeks' time and claim her 22nd victory? Yes, I think so. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


The colt proved me wrong in the Epsom Derby - but will Camelot be able to prove me right this time round by winning the St Leger?
If he wins the race he will land Flat racing's Classic Triple Crown: Newmarket's 2,000 Guineas, Epsom's Derby and the St Leger was last completed by Nijinsky in 1970.
Camelot arguably has two more factors in his favour than the iconic horse did in the 70s for the Leger: a calmer temper (which Sir Peter O'Sullevan claims it's because of the horse's partnership with jockey Joseph O'Brien) and his late sire Montjeu is thought to be a better influence for stamina rather than Northern Dancer, Nijinsky's sire. 
The St Leger win would make Aidan O'Brien the first trainer to win all five British Classics in a season.
I think Camelot can win the St Leger: wouldn't it be nice to see history being made right in front of us? 
The last treble winner before Nijinsky was Bahram in 1935 and Oh So Sharp won the fillies version in 1985 (1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St Leger).
Camelot won the Derby by 5 lengths: an easy win some may argue. O'Brien and the colt make a good team. It would be a rare occurrence for the treble to be won by the same horse, but with O'Brien on board I think they can both have a comfortable win.