Cutting A Rugg

Jarett Rugg Strikes Out On His Own Today

Jarett Rugg (photo: supplied)

It’s official!  Jarett Rugg is the newest member of our training ranks (photo: supplied)

Jarett Rugg has just become the latest member of our training ranks. After care-taking Duncan McKenzie’s Kimberley satellite for the last few years in an assistant trainer capacity, Jarett sat his exam a few weeks ago and received the happy news on Thursday, 2 November 2017.

An elated Jarett confirmed, “I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. There’s been a lot of support and people wishing me well. I’ve had over 200 messages and likes on Facebook, which is quite nice. I’m hoping it goes from strength to strength.”

“There are so many people I would like to thank, but the list would go on forever. Trainers, owners, family, friends – the list is long and they know who they are.” However, he singles out Duncan McKenzie for special acknowledgement.

“Duncan and my father were cousins. They grew up together and I grew up in front of Duncan.” Jarrett had spent three and a half years working for his father as a stable employee when Vernon passed away.


Duncan McKenzie (credit: Coastal Photos)

Can’t think him enough – Duncan McKenzie

“Duncan took me under his wing. I hadn’t done enough time to take out my trainer’s licence, but I had done enough to become an assistant, so he took over the yard as a satellite so that I could build a foundation to take over when the time came. It’s made my journey very easy compared to some,” he reflects. “I can’t thank him enough for his help, wisdom, advice and guidance. So my license is basically a big thanks to him.”

Jarett says it took him 8 hours to sit the exam. “It’s all very relevant, but it is very long. I think they’ve upped their game in that department. I must take my hat off, I think it’s a very good exam. You need to have studied and you need to know your stuff. If you have, it’s easy, just very long. If it was up to me, I’d split it in two and have one half on stable management and then the other on the rules and medical treatments. Not that it matters, because I don’t have to do it again!” he laughs. You need a minimum of 75% to pass and Jarett sailed through with 87%.

Long Journey

Vernon Rugg

Despite his father being a trainer, Jarett didn’t follow in his footsteps immediately. “I always had a thing about horses ever since I was a kid, but my dad tried to push me away from racing. He knew how hard it is to make a living out of it.” It was only when Jarett was moving out of the restaurant business to try his hand at sales that Vernon approached him to spend some time at the yard an see if he liked it. “He said, ‘And whether you do or don’t, if you don’t have an eye, you’ll never make it.” The rest is history.

“A few months before he died, he said he was sorry he’d pushed me away and that I could have started in a bigger centre. But I do understand. It’s very hard and you can’t do it unless you love what you do. I love training and wouldn’t change it for anything. You’ve got to take the good with the bad, but when you lead in that winner, it makes it all worth while.”

I’s Dotted, T’s Crossed

With the paperwork approved last Thursday, Jarett’s runners for Monday will go out under the JV Rugg Racing Stable banner.

How does it feel to have his name on the door? “I’m very happy,” enthuses Jarett. I was actually surprised. I’d built the foundation and I was running the satellite, so I didn’t realise how exciting it would be. I went for a couple of drinks on Thursday night and I’ve been overwhelmed by the congratulations. It’s been a nice experience.”

Two of Monday’s runners belong to Jarett as well and he says he’s hoping to get his first winner on the board soon. “I’m looking forward to the challenge. I hope it goes well and that I will make everyone proud from my side. I want to break the ice as soon as possible. You always worry and sometimes it can take months. One of my clients dropped off a nice bottle of Johnny Walker Blue not so long ago that I’ve been saving. When I have my first winner, I’ll open it.”

We wish him the best of luck.

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