RoR will be holding its Racing to Polo Challenge at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on Monday 7 September
After last year’s successful competition in which Roddy Matthews, Ben Eeley, Ben Turner and Alan Kent all picked up prizes, RoR are returning to The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club this September.
There will be five classes in total, with the following restrictions on eligibility:
In the four main classes, all horses must have raced in Great Britain and be registered with RoR under their registered racing name.
A new class will be held for horses that are unraced, but have been registered in-training within Great Britain.
Passports must accompany ponies to the competition for inspection and verification by microchip scanning.
Riders must be 2 goals and above, unless approved by the panel, riding their own pony or for the stable they are attached to, and dressed for polo in whites and a polo shirt.
On arrival at the competition, ponies will be subject to a vet check. Any pony that fails the vet check will not be allowed to compete.
The judges will be from a panel of leading polo players, polo pony producers and representatives from RoR and The HPA. Judges may ask to ride ponies in the six-year-olds and upwards section. A doctor or paramedic and vet will be on duty throughout the competition and tea and refreshments will be available throughout the day.
The competition will be divided into four classes in the following age groups: three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, six-year-olds and upwards. In the six-year-olds and upwards age group, any previous winners of the RoR Racing to Polo Challenge will not be eligible to enter the competition again. A new class for three-year-old and four-year-old registered thoroughbreds, named officially on their Weatherbys passport and Stud Book record is for horses that have not raced.
– In all classes ponies will be judged on conformation, a mark for this will be awarded. Movement, responsiveness and willingness will also be marked. Each rider will have one and a half minutes of freestyle display. There will also be a mark for turnout.
– Judges will look for three-year-olds to show balanced transitions through steady paces, rating, some lateral movements and early stages of polo moves, checking and turning, optional change of lead canter, optional introduction of mallet (foot mallet acceptable). Marking – performance 75%, conformation 20%, turnout 5%.
– Judges will look for four-year-olds and five-year-olds to rate smoothly, move laterally at canter, check and turn and accept the mallet. Use of a foot mallet is acceptable. Marking – performance 80%, conformation 15%, turnout 5%.
– For six-year-olds and upwards, judges will mark a freestyle display of the rider’s choice, expecting to see complete polo moves. Higher marks will be awarded for more comprehensive moves including mallet. Marking – performance 85%, conformation 10%, turnout 5%.
Prize money will be given down to sixth place in each class. Classes will be balloted if necessary. The prizes for each of the four classes will be £1,000 to the winner, £500 for the second placed pony, £300 for third, £200 for fourth, £100 for fifth, and £100 for sixth place. Grooms’ prizes will be given for the Best Turned Out in each section and a special prize given to the groom of the Overall Best Turned Out Pony.
The first two ponies placed in each section of the main classes will be asked to come forward for prize-giving. The Overall Champion will be judged from the five-year-olds and six-year-old and upwards sections, and will receive The Balding Trophy and an additional prize of £500. The Overall Champion will also be nominated for a bonus award of £1,000. Should they win the overall award, the owner or a representative will be asked to attend the RoR Awards ceremony in November at Newmarket.
To enter the competition, download the entry form by clicking here, or to contact RoR for further information click here. Entry forms should be returned by either emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or be posted to: Racing to Polo Entry, Retraining of Racehorses, Ash Cottage, Back Street, East Garston, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 7EX.
Photograph: Roddy Matthews with Tiny Tittle, winner of the 2014 five-year-old class and Overall Champion. Courtesy of RoR