The St Kilda foreshore will be taken over by former racehorses turned polo ponies for the third annual Twilight Beach Polo this afternoon, Friday 15 February.
The famous foreshore will be home to the thrills and excitement of a world-class sport, while guests will have the chance to see what retired racehorses are capable of.
Racing Victoria (RV), via its Off The Track Program, is sponsoring the event, for the second consecutive year, which will see RV Acknowledged Retrainer Sam Gairdner saddle his string of former gallopers turned top-level polo ponies.
Gairdner and his partner Clementine Mann, who run Bakers Bridge Polo, work almost exclusively with former racehorses and believe they are the ideal equestrian athletes.
“I’ve been re-training horses off the racetrack for over 15 years, and in the last few years we’ve bought 70 former racehorses.
"I am looking forward to taking eight of them along to St Kilda Beach, so we can show everyone how great they are,” said Gairdner.
Mann, a polo player and equestrian competitor who judges the suitability off the Off The Track thoroughbreds that come through the farm, says while most take to polo naturally, some become excellent show jumpers and eventers instead.
“Most of our horses have natural talent on the polo field, but some I find are even better jumpers, while others might be a little too tall so end up excelling as equestrian horses,” said Mann.
“One thing we always ensure is that we keep their previous owners up to date with what their horses are doing now, and some of them get really excited to come along and watch them on the polo field.”
RV’s Equine Welfare Manager, Jennifer Hughes, said Off The Track’s sponsorship of the Twilight Beach Polo will allow a wider community to see what ex-racehorses are capable of in an iconic city location.
“Racing Victoria is extremely proud to partner with the Twilight Beach Polo once again this year to promote retired racehorses as the ideal polo athlete,” Hughes said.
“Off The Track thoroughbreds are excelling in careers on the polo field and this evening’s event will allow them to show off their skills to an eager crowd.”
Racing Victoria will present the best-performing retired racehorse on the day, with the winner taking home an Off The Track customised rug.