Polo facility set to host first tournament

It is a field of dreams, more than three years in the planning, and next weekend it will host its first tournament.Queenstown Polo developer Jonathan Gabler is putting the finishing touches to the first field, ready to host the two-day tournament at the Malaghans Rd facility.

Initially billed as a four-to-six-goal event, the calibre of players entered meant it was more likely to be a six-to-eight or eight-to-10-goal tournament, Mr Gabler said.

Three teams had been confirmed, and a fourth was pending, which would play in a round-robin format – limited tickets are expected to go on sale through Eventfinda tomorrow.

In polo players on horses score goals by driving a small ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet.

Games last about two hours, and are divided into periods called chukkas.

Mr Gabler said the first of the two fields was in “pretty good shape” and the second would be developed over summer.

Queenstown Polo had also employed Rob Watson, originally from Cambridge, as its manager.

Ranked as a five-goal player, he spent half of his year in Amsterdam and was one of New Zealand’s top umpires and players – yesterday he was selected to represent New Zealand in a transtasman tournament in Christchurch on December 8.

Mr Gabler said he also had experience in events, which was “hugely attractive and beneficial to us and what we want to do here”.

At present, there were 20 horses on the farm, including eight of Mr Watson’s, but within two years that would double to make the facility “fully independent”, able to host corporate events and get more local residents involved.


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