Racing Victoria’s (RV) Off The Track program has once again been named the ‘Official Equine Partner’ of the Portsea Polo, as the event celebrates its 20th year on Saturday, 11 January 2020.
To commemorate the milestone edition, Off The Track will sponsor its own team, which will compete in a new-look tournament featuring a fast-paced format on a reduced polo field that allows guests to be closer to the action.
The Off The Track polo team will be captained by one of Australia's leading polo players, Jack "Ruki" Baillieu, and a number of thoroughbreds competing on the day will be retired racehorses, all aiming to showcase their new 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 bred to race.
RV’s General Manager - Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes, said the power of events such as the Portsea Polo ensure retired racehorses are in the spotlight and those attending the event will gain a greater appreciation of what thoroughbreds can go on to do following their days on the track.
“The Off The Track program was created to drive demand and opportunities for thoroughbreds in their life after racing, either competitively in a range of equestrian disciplines or simply for pleasure riding,” Hughes said.
“It is often overlooked how suitable thoroughbreds are for the polo field, their endurance, speed and general sharp attitude set them apart from other breeds.
“RV recently dedicated $25 million in an accelerated and expanded three-year horse welfare action plan, including an extended Off The Track program to better track horses once they leave the racing industry and to create more career opportunities for retired thoroughbreds.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Portsea Polo in their 20th anniversary year to help bring this vision to fruition.”
RV will also reward the best-performing retired racehorse on the day, with the winner taking home an Off The Track customised rug.
The Portsea Polo takes place from 11am - 6pm on Saturday, 11 January 2020 at the Point Nepean National Park in Portsea, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.