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 October 2012


King Kauto has been retired.

The outstanding chaser, who won two Cheltenham Gold Cups and five King George VIs at Kempton, will always be remembered as one of racing's great horses.

The 12-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Clive Smith, bows out with dignity and pride after a fantastic career.

For me, I have grown up with Kauto Star and when I first started gaining an interest in the sport he was always there in the headlines. I have always admired him so it is a sad sight to see such a wonder put into retirement.

But I think the correct decision has been made. He should be remembered for what he did, not what could have been.

Kauto Star won 16 Grade Ones throughout his career and made history in 2009 for becoming the first horse to reclaim the Gold Cup.

Many believed retirement beckoned when he was pulled up in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup last May, but Kauto Star proved the doubters wrong with a fourth triumph on his comeback in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last November, in which he defeated Long Run, the 2011 Gold Cup hero, by eight lengths.

It seemed that Long Run couldn't beat his older rival when losing again to the King after his greatest performance in his career on Boxing Day at Kempton in 2011. Kauto won his fifth King George with ease and cemented his status of one the greatest.

After a fall in schooling and pulling up in this year's Gold Cup, history will remember our star kindly, which he deserves.

As an inspirational and talented horse, Kauto Star follows stablemate Denman as a legend and one that should never be 


Sam Twiston-Davies kicked off Friday with a spectacular win on The New One in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle. Village Vic tried his hardest to catch up with the evens money favourite but 
unfortunately couldn’t catch up.

The NH season is officially back and what a wonderful sight it was to see horses galloping once again around Cheltenham track.

 Carlito Brigante is one on watch for me. Davy Russell led the horse to a comfortable win but if Go All The Way and Kingsmere hadn’t fallen at the last then perhaps we would have seen a different result. Nevertheless Gordon Elliott’s winner is one to keep your eye on. Perhaps the trainer is looking to enter him in the Festival again, if so make sure you are there to back this fella.

Now, if there was one horse that really put the wow factor into Cheltenham, it is Action Master. At 20/1 Hughes’ horse steamed ahead and caused an upset in the Handicap Hurdle. No doubt this one had the biggest result of the day. If a horse can produce series of gasps around the track
then you know you have done your job as a trainer or jockey. Sam Twiston-Davies again performed well and almost reached the winning post in first position but Bryan Cooper proved too strong on the master of the race. Watch this horse go from strength to strength now.

Ruby Walsh finally got a win on Sire Collonges in the Bruton Knowles 150th Anniversary Novices’ Chase with the 11/8f Sea of Thunder finishing in second. Davy Russell rode the Flat horse well and pushed with all his might to beat Walsh. Despite not winning, Sea of Thunder 
should be carefully watched throughout the season. Definitely one to back again.

However, the next race really did annoy me. Not because it was bad or anything like that, but because I was going to back the winner but put my money on someone else. Court Minstrel pulled off a stylish win in the Lemington Maiden Hurdle and with a SP of 6/1 I could have brought back
a profit! Never mind. Will definitely make sure I place my winning bet on him next time!

Sam Twiston-Davies continued his spectacular form again the following day (Saturday). He won the first race of the day, the Edward Gillespie Hands Over The Reins Novices’ Hurdle, on According To Trev at 6/1 beating 9/4 f Our Vinnie. What a fantastic name for a race – Gillespie will officially step down at The Open in November and it is lovely to see the racecourse praising the work he has done throughout his time at the track.

The Masterson Holding Hurdle looked to be a good race. Baby Mix was back at the track and sure is a favourite here. At 9/4 the horse was heavily backed but again failed to perform to high standards. The horse weakened towards the end of the race and I would like to have seen more push. But I will definitely keep my eye on this one in the future – has the ability to go far.

However the winner of the day was Balthazar King, a horse that loves this track more than anyone. Richard Johnson did immensely well to ride to victory and proved that he shouldn’t be doubted at this course. Hold On Julio was my choice and finished well in third. Galaxy Rock is another that enjoys the track but 2011 winner Balthazar King showed that he shouldn’t be messed with at Cheltenham!

It has been a great weekend for racing: Cheltenham is back with the Festival countdown already starting again and Frankel pulled off an astonishing 14/14 win. Simply the best? Well, I suppose he could be.

But all I can say now is…. Bring on The Open!!

Thursday, 11 October 2012


How would you feel if the Cheltenham Festival changed its format and had the Gold Cup on a Saturday rather than the Friday? It would arguably be a good move as it would bring more race goers to the course. But right now the agenda is great.

Mind you, I have always found it difficult with having the Gold Cup on a Friday. Not because I think it would be better on a weekend, but because I have always been at school or college. And next year will be the first time I can attend! 

I remember the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup when Denman stormed to victory, beating Kauto Star by a good distance. It so happened that at the time of the race I was in a GCSE history lesson. We were studying about India Independence and our teacher decided to put the film Gandhi on. But learning about that was the least of my worries. I was expecting a call from my Dad at 3.13pm so he could play the race down the phone to me! I kept looking over at the clock waiting for the right time to strike and when it did my hand immediately shot into the air to get my teacher's attention. I asked if I could go to the toilet and with a 'yes' as the response I slipped my phone up my sleeve and made a dash to the door. There was the option of pausing the film when I was gone but I declined, claiming that it wasn't fair on my classmates to do so. 

So there was me standing in the corner of the girl's cloakroom listening to the Gold Cup, ooohhing and aaahhing as well as jumping and shouting when Paul Nicholls' horses battled it out for the title. Goodness knows what people outside must have been thinking... But Denman won and it was a wonderful moment: no doubt my favourite Festival to date. 

However, I really should have caught up with the film and studies as a result. Because when we did a mock GCSE exam on India Independence I was graded an E. It did not go down well when my Mum discovered it was in fact my Dad who allowed me to skip the class and listen to the race!

But anyway, the point I am making is that the Festival already has a great agenda and new boss Ian Renton is correct in saying that a Saturday Gold Cup is currently not a matter to discuss. 

He says he is still in "learning mode" and has given a well deserved tribute to Edward Gillespie who has worked tremendously hard as managing director. 

Renton, who is to succeed Gillespie when he officially steps down next month, will be in charge of a track that attracted over 230,000 people to the Festival last March; a record for the Gloucester course.

Everything is fantastic now than it ever has been before for the track and I for one am incredibly excited to attend The Showcase next week. 

Oh and if you were wondering about my GCSE History grade, I got a B!

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Frankie Dettori has been given the chance to ride dual Derby winner Camelot in Sunday's Qatar Prix de l'Arc Triomphe and what an occasion that will be for him and for the spectators.

Aidan O'Brien had made a strong hint earlier this week that the colt will ride in the mix but decisions were still to be made about his jockey.

O'Brien's son, Joseph, has been unable to make the weight of 8stone 11lb to ride Ballydoyle's 2000 Guineas winner so Dettori, one of racing's most famous jockeys, will take over the reins.

Joseph will instead ride stablemate St Nicholas Abbey. But can Camelot perform to high expectations on Sunday in another high-profiled race after the disappointment of the St Leger?

Camelot failed to gain the triple crown at Doncaster last month that Nijinsky did so well and his participation in the Arc was left in the air since his defeat. I believe that Camelot raced well on the day but he just got beat. O'Brien knew where he went wrong and I hope he corrects his preparations by Sunday. 

There is no doubt about the fact that Camelot can produce world-class performances and he is capable of winning more prestigious titles. But with so much hype constantly surrounding this horse, O'Brien has to be prepared to act brave. 

Can the colt pull off a classy win this time round? His biggest competition seems to be 2-1 favourite Star Sports, who William Buick will be riding as Nathaniel is out of the race.

Camelot has shown he can be beaten and O'Brien has to be sure that he won't disappoint again. After the Gold Cup, the Arc is arguably the next biggest race in the sport's calendar and the team need to be sure of a confident ride.

Do you fancy Camelot's chances in the Arc? Or do you think his recent St Leger defeat has shaken his racing ability?