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.

Sunday, 30 December 2012


2012 has been the year for Tidal Bay – his victory in the Lexus Chase was world-class and certainly got people talking.

When he wasn’t in the top three over the final fence I didn’t think Ruby Walsh would be able to push him to glory at Leopardstown.

But when he powered ahead of the field in the final stages of the race, the racing world knew he was the one to watch.

Now trainer Paul Nicholls believes Tidal Bay could be the horse to compete in both the World Hurdle and the Grand National.

Kauto Star has shown the racing world that an older racehorse should never be doubted and Tidal Bay, aged 11, certainly isn’t a horse anyone will forget any time soon.

After seeing Walsh with Tidal Bay at Leopardstown, I understand why Nicholls is ambitious towards the horse’s future. Whatever race the trainer gives them, the pair will go for victory.

2013 would be another spectacular year if Tidal Bay pulled off the unique double. But can he finish with his nose in front again? Let’s hope 2013 brings the Ditcheat team more fortune. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


FOLLOWING Big Buck's shock departure from the remainder of the season, Quevega is now favourite to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
The four-time Cheltenham Festival winner is leading the pack despite connections often training her for the Grade 2 mares' race.
Bookmakers were thrown into uncertainty when Big Buck's was pulled out of the hurdle after sustaining a tendon injury - but who can benefit from the situation?
Quevega has definitely caused a debate among racing fans. Her win the last year's mares' hurdle was good but if she was to repeat the performance it would certainly not be enough to win the World Hurdle.
Nevertheless she is always up for a challenge and trainer Willie Mullins knows he has a capable mare on his hands that could give him bigger titles.
Tidal Bay is also thrown into the mix and it was interesting to see Paul Nicholls mention him within hours of breaking the news of Big Buck's departure.
He is a consistent horse around the Cheltenham track and it wouldn't surprise me if pulled off a stunning performance in the hurdle.
He has really improved this season: his competitive long-distance hurdle at Wetherby was fantastic and plenty of confidence was also seen in the Hennessy.
But I personally believe Oscar Whisky will shine in the hurdle. After watching him at Cheltenham races last weekend, it is clear the horse oozes confidence around the track.
Nicky Henderson has got a trick up his sleeve - and it is in the form of Oscar Whisky. I know Big Buck's departure has disappointed many, but it has opened a door for those who wouldn't have been in the reckoning.
After all, is that a bad thing?
Despite Oscar Whisky's flop in last year's race, Henderson is still backing his champion and why wouldn't he? The horse has previously charged up Cheltenham hill four times to victory and if he holds his nerve in the World Hurdle I think he can pull off a tremendous win.
The market is fresh and even though Big Buck's will be missed in the World Hurdle, I am excited to see who else will finish on top.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


HUNT Ball looks ready to make an impact in Cheltenham's Charity Challenge Gold Cup before taking part in the King George VI Chase.

As long as trainer Keiran Burke is happy with the ground conditions on Saturday, the seven-year-old has a 14-1 chance of winning the two miles five furlong race.

Owned by trainer Anthony Knott, Hunt Ball disappointed many when he was pulled up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup due to the ground turning soft.

The horse is 33-1 for his chance in the King George and Burke is determined to enter the race at Kempton on Boxing Day.

I am at Cheltenham racecourse on Saturday and I cannot wait to judge Hunt Ball in the flesh. He is a promising horse and Burke is sure of his ability.

It seems that he is taking extra care around Hunt Ball and I hope it will be proven why this weekend. I hope conditions remain suitable for him as I would hate for him to back out of the race at the last minute.

With odds up to 14-1 I fancy Hunt Ball's chances. Who agrees? Is he preferred in the King George or do you believe in him this weekend?


FINGAL BAY has suffered an injury which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
The successful novice chaser made a fantastic start to his career but his unfortunate early departure was the result of a minor tendon injury.
The injury was not due to the Philip Hobbs' horse running into a fence at Exeter last Friday.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


As most of my blog followers know, Midnight Chase is one of my favourite horses and Dougie Costello's ride in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham this year will be a race I will always remember.

Personally, his win over Tidal Bay by two and three-qaurter lengths was perhaps the best victory I have seen at the Gloucester track - please comment or tweet if anyone thinks differently - as Midnight Chase led the field over the first and stayed ahead throughout the race.

But will it be possible to see another success in improving youngster Bold Sir Brian in the same race on January 6 2013?

According to Lucinda Russell, the six-year-old could have his next start in the Argento, as the promising horse (rated 155) made a step up to Listed level on his previous ride at Sandown.

His performance illustrated the potential he holds and the NH trainer is thinking about giving Bold Sir Brian an entry in the Gold Cup next March.

But if he did go ahead in the Argento, would he outshine Midnight Chase's brilliant win? I am not doubting the horse's ability, I feel Costello gave Midnight Chase a ride to remember - he saved enough energy to power the horse up Cheltenham's iconic track - and even Betfred, the sponsorship behind the Gold Cup, cut the champion's odds from 40 to 16-1 for the festival.

I wish Lucinda all the best with Bold Sir Brian and I am sure he will produce a wonderful career for her. But will he give the Cheltenham crowd a race to remember? We shall have to wait and see!