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, 27 July 2012


Jockey Richard Hughes recently powered past William Buick into second place for the championship later this year, but agent Tony Hind claims there will be no favouritism between him and current leader, Ryan Moore.
Should Moore or Hughes win the title, it will be a first for Hind having two of his riders competing head-to-head despite being in the industry for 20 years.  
It must be a bittersweet moment when you discover that two of your riders are racing for a major title, but then again I can imagine it being the same in any sport. 
I admire the fact that Hind insists he hasn’t got a favourite. The ideal result for any would agent would be to have two or three riders battling it out for a championship win.
Moore has won the title three times and currently stands as the favourite at 4-5.  Hughes, however, would be a popular winner: he has finished runner-up three times in the last four seasons yet missed the whole of April through his Indian suspension.   He now stands at 5-4 to win.
But the question remains: who would you like to win the championship title this autumn?

Article also features on @valuehorsetips blog: Thursday Thoughts from Abby Rugg

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Focus has turned to John Gosden this week following his announcement of Nathaniel's go-ahead for back-to-back victories in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. 

After Nathaniel's successful first appearance of the season in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, the team behind the horse have had the urge to compete him in both top races.

Gosden's colt won the King George last year, beating Farhh by half-a-length. However, he had to dig-deep for the win.

A lot of talk has surrounded Farhh recently as he is to race against Frankel in the Eclipse Stakes: he is seen as a classy horse that may have the most ability to beat the superstar. (But will that ever happen?!)

Connections of Nathaniel have admitted that the horse faces a tough task to emulate Dahlia and Swain as the only third dual winner of the King George. 

Despite the challenge ahead, all signs are reportedly to be good ahead of the mile-and-a-half Group One race. 

A sign of a winner is to see the levels of enthusiasm from the team. Gosden seems hyped at the chance of winning a back-to-back with Nathaniel and you cannot leave that unnoticed. No other person knows the well-being of a horse than their trainer. If he is excited about the colt, then I will take note.

Farhh is also to be supplemented for the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He won the Thirsk Hunt Cup earlier in the season and his form looks ideal for him to be favourite in other Group One races.

However, seeing as Godolphin has decided to race him against Frankel, the horse's ability cannot be questioned. 

Quick Quiz:

In what years did Dahlia and Swain become dual winners of the King George? 

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

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


The world's top-rated horse - err who is that again - oh yes, Frankel, is expected to compete against another classy horse in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on August 1. 
News has circulated around the media about the latest horse to have a go at beating the superstar: Farhh, the runner-up in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, will line up aside Frankel in a few weeks. 
Frankie Dettori will be saddling Farhh and I am sure quite a crowd will gather to see whether Frankel can pull out a mind-blowing 12th successful victory. 
Farhh ran last year's King George winner, Nathaniel, to half a length at Sandown but was unfortunate in finishing third in the Prince Wales' Stakes at Royal Ascot. 
It seems that the horse's form will be ideal to place him as favourite in other Group One races, yet Godolphin has decided to set him against wonder-horse Frankel.

Why do you think that was decided? Maybe the team thinks that Farhh will produce some magic on the day. Nevertheless I am sure an exciting race will happen at Glorious Goodwood. 

Frankel won the Sussex Stakes last year and is hoping to maintain his 'world-number one' status by making it 12-out-of-12 wins. 
However, Farhh has only raced five times to date and has previously lined up with Sir Henry Cecil's colt at Doncaster. He was sadly withdrawn at the stalls at the beginning of the race. (Frankel, at no surprise, did win the race by 13 lengths).
I tweeted: "Frankel or Farhh on August 1st at Goodwood?" And I did receive a few replies. 100% of answers being "Frankel". Or "Abby that's a dumb question". 

But my favourite one of all came from the Racing Post's sub-editor, Ross Clarke (@Rossclarke123): "How Farhh will Frankel win? About six lengths I reckon".

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Last week Betfair, an online betting exchange, signed a deal with British horse racing organisers which will allow a minimum of £40 million worth of funding to be used over the next five years. 
I think that this deal has come at a good time: it will inject a secure and healthy sum of money to keep horse racing alive in this country. 
The sport still attracts a huge audience within the UK, but I feel that numbers may have slipped due to the bad press the Grand National had, both this year and in 2011. 
To me, the Grand National receives the most media attention in this country: it is arguably the only horse racing event that will attract an 'office sweepstake' and therefore appeal to a wider audience. 
Recent posts on my blog describe my thoughts towards the Aintree event and I am saddened by how many people I have come across still base their views of horse racing on the Grand National.
However, in return of this deal, the sport has pledged a minimum number of fixtures every year and offers to maximise betting opportunities. 
In my opinion, this move will give a boost for the horse racing industry as it will bring a large number of benefits to the sport: a guaranteed price will support it over the next few years as well as a certainty towards its future. 
The agreement will give 10.75 per cent of all revenues on horse racing taken from its UK customers and will come into effect from the 51st Levy Scheme. 
Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said that the agreement "represents a landmark for both racing and betting industries". 
And you know what, I think he could be right on this one. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012


As many of you know already from reading my blog I am all for women’s equal rights – so my next question is this: Why do male commentators and broadcasters for horse racing out-number women in the industry?

I was reading a list of professionals in the media for the sport and only three women were listed out of 49 names.

Female jockeys and trainers compete alongside men everyday. Even in the bigger races such as The Grand National and Royal Ascot, jockeys such as Katie Walsh, Nina Carberry and Hayley Turner have no trouble battling against the opposite gender.

But why is it a different story on the commentary side?

I for one would love to see more female commentators but many fans feel that a woman’s voice is too high-pitched to deal with the excitement of a race. It’s crazy to think that a man’s voice is the only tone for commentary. It took a competition, Racing For Change, last year to find Britain’s first female commentator.

I find it awful how it takes a competition for women to feel they can put their names forward for such a job. On one hand I can see why it happened and I respect that it opened a window of opportunity, but on the other I feel that females shouldn’t be intimidated into applying for something that is extremely male-dominated.

I’ve heard people say that allowing a woman to commentate will be ‘patronising’. So I ask: How exactly? This is what I mean by women having a lack of confidence to proceed into the industry. It’s unfair to suggest that women do not have what it takes because of their tone of voice. Why is it assumed that the majority females are constantly giggly and shrill?

It is time to accept that more women want to proceed into the industry and I encourage racing fans to give confidence towards aspiring female commentators.

This is 2012, not the early 1900s.

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

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


A fresh breeze of encouraging news has swept through racing this week with Camelot winning the Irish double.

The unbeaten colt claimed victory in Saturday's Irish Derby resulting in good of publicity for the sport alongside Frankel and Australia's Black Caviar. 

Having these three champion horses grab headlines is ideal for racing after the bad media coverage the Grand National clocked up. 

The deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete caused controversial debates, one in particular asking whether the event should be banned. 

But despite all that, it seems that this season of flat racing is giving the sport a boost: more people are reading about the wonders of Frankel and Black Caviar, and not only that, more people are actually gaining an interest due to these racing legends.

Camelot joined in as a short-priced favourite on Saturday (1-5) with previous odds being 1-10 for Frankel and 1-6 for Black Caviar.

Unlike Black Caviar, Camelot didn't have to scramble to victory. He had to work for the win as rival Born To Sea finished two-lengths behind. 

But Aidan O'Brien's colt is now priced at 1-2 to win the Triple Crown at Doncaster in September and I believe he has shown us that he can claim it. 

Ever the optimist, I want Camelot to win the rare treble like so many others I know - Imagine more positive media coverage if he did. 

For now, the terrible incidents of the Grand National have been swept under the rug and it just proves how negative headlines can cause a stir amongst non-racing fans. Rather than a mouthful of bad publicity, watching incredible wins from world class flat racing horses is exactly what the sport needs right now.