A large contingent of retired gallopers will dominate the field for the Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo, in association with Stella Artois, this Saturday.
Racing Victoria (RV), via its Off The Track Program, will once again support Saturday’s event which will feature a host of retired racehorses displaying their new-found skills on the polo field.
Thoroughbreds make ideal polo ponies thanks to their natural athleticism, speed and agility, with approximately 70 per cent of polo horses competing across Victoria originally being bred to race.
This year’s event will see Racing Victoria Acknowledged Retrainer Sam Gairdner, of Bakers Bridge Polo, saddle his string of former gallopers turned top-level polo ponies.
Gairdner said thoroughbreds are his preferred mount, leading him to work almost exclusively with retired racehorses.
“I’ve been re-training horses off the racetrack for over 15 years, and in the last few years we’ve bought 80 former racehorses and it’s great to see some of them now coming through to the top-level.
“Some of our horses were quite handy on the track, we’ve got about 10 that won in excess of $50,000 each, and we love involving their previous trainers and owners by keeping them up to date with what they’re doing now.
RV’s Equine Welfare Manager, Jennifer Hughes, said Off The Track’s ongoing involvement with the Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo ensures retired racehorses are recognised on the big stage for their talents.
“Racing Victoria is extremely proud to partner with the Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo once again this year to promote retired racehorses as the ideal polo athlete,” Hughes said.
“It’s often overlooked how perfect thoroughbreds are for the polo field, their endurance, speed and general sharp attitude set them apart from other breeds.”
RV will also present the best-performing retired racehorse on the day, with the winner taking home an Off The Track customised rug.
The 2019 Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo in association with Stella Artois takes place from 11am-6pm on this Saturday, 12 January 2019.
The event will be held at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station in Portsea, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.