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.

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!

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