Gloucestershire Festival of Polo

Action-ShotTeams Released for the Jockeys vs Olympic Legends Polo Match

Stars from the world of horse racing and Olympic sport, are set to experience a taste of polo when they play in the Gloucestershire Festival of Polo’s inaugural celebrity match. Taking place on Sunday 19 June at Beaufort Polo Club, the Jockeys vs Olympic Legends Polo Match will be a highlight of the Club’s weekend long Festival of Polo.

The Jockeys, who will be trading their racing silks for polo whites, comprises of Team Captain, Sir Anthony (AP) McCoy OBE, star of the horse racing world and 20 times Champion Jockey, who retired from competitive racing last year, John Francome MBE, another former Champion Jockey who is now considered to be one of horse racing’s top pundits as well as being a best-selling fiction writer, Richard Dunwoody MBE who is three-times Champion Jockey, and Marcus Armytage, a former national hunt jockey with 100 wins to his name and one of the few amateur riders ever to win the Grand National.

Representing the Olympic Legends, another top line-up includes World Champion Event rider Zara Phillips MBE as Team Captain. Zara will compete alongside multi-Olympic track cycling medallist, now amateur jockey, Victoria Pendleton CBE. Victoria hit the headlines earlier this year, when she realised her ambition to race at the renowned Cheltenham Festival, finishing 5th in the Foxhunter Chase only 12 months after her first riding lesson. The all-female team of amateurs on the Olympic Legends team also includes multi-medal winning dressage rider, Laura Tomlinson (née Bechtolsheimer) MBE who secured a Team Gold Medal and Individual Bronze at the London Olympics in 2012. Laura is married to Mark Tomlinson, so she may well be getting some behind-the-scenes polo tips. Modern pentathlete and silver medallist Heather Fell completes the line-up of Olympic Legends.

Amateurs in the Jockeys vs Olympic Legends Polo Match are receiving advance training from Beaufort Polo Club experts before the big day, and each team will have input from a polo professional who will guide and assist them throughout the match.

Commenting on his plans to take to the polo field in June, Sir A P McCoy commented: “I’ve ridden a fair few horses in my time, but I’ve only had a go at polo once and it wasn’t easy. I play a bit of golf these days, so in theory I can hit a ball, but I found doing that from the back of a horse a real challenge. I’m excited to have another go though.”

Zara Phillips is also looking forward to the challenge: “I’ve watched a bit of polo and played a couple of times in the past, so I know polo ponies are extremely responsive and very quick. It’s a difficult sport but great fun and I’m confident that the Olympic ladies will find our true competitive spirit and do ourselves proud!”

Proceeds from the charity lunch and polo match will go to LAPResearchUK – the only charity in the UK dedicated to research into diseases affecting the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary tree. For more information on the charity click here and to get tickets for the VIP charity lunch click here.

Photograph: Action from last year’s Gloucestershire Festival of Polo. Courtesy of Beaufort Polo Club

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