Polo cham­pion

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

IT WAS the stuff dreams are made of for Clifton polo player Jack Man­tova when his geld­ing Milo stepped up to the plate at the re­cent World Polo Cham­pi­onship held in Syd­ney.

Milo was named Best Play­ing Pony of the World Cup fi­nal after an ex­cit­ing week of polo from Oc­to­ber 21–29 at the Syd­ney Polo Club.

Jack and his fa­ther Steve, of Clifton, on the Dar­ling Downs in Queens­land, loaned their nine-year-old geld­ing, Milo, to the Polo World Cup com­mit­tee, along with 279 other horses from the Aus­tralian polo com­mu­nity for the event.

Milo was one of 30 horses in the pool drawn by Ar­gentina and was played by Ar­gen­tinian num­ber one player, Lu­cio Fer­nan­dez Ocampo, in each game over the nine days.

Ar­gentina won all their pool matches against the United States, Spain and Aus­tralia, while a sec­ond pool con­sisted of teams from In­dia, New Zealand, Chile and Eng­land.

“Milo got bet­ter and bet­ter each game,” Lu­cio said.

So much so that when the Ar­gen­tini­ans made the fi­nal against World Cup ti­tle hold­ers Chile, Milo was in their start­ing line-up.

The closely fought fi­nal played on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29, was seven goals apiece after the sixth and fi­nal chukka, and went into ex­tra time, with Lu­cio scor­ing the win­ning goal of the World Cup on Milo.

Milo was then awarded the Best Play­ing Pony of the fi­nal.

As well as be­ing a horse lender, Jack also took part in the World Polo Cham­pi­onship as a horse stew­ard.

Jack said he and his fa­ther bought Milo as a raw five year old, pri­mar­ily for the sport of polocrosse, but when Jack started play­ing polo for the Downs Polo Club last year, that all changed.

“Many hours of rid­ing went into mak­ing Milo the horse he is to­day, as he had a mind of his own and wasn’t al­ways easy to get along with,” Jack said.

“Dad and I put a lot of time into train­ing him,” he said.

Only new to the sport, Jack won his first pony prize on Milo at the Downs Shield at Clifton in June last year, where Jack’s team, Scan­lan, won the A-grade, with Milo win­ning the prize for Best Novice First Year Pony.

Jack then worked and played for a year at Eller­ston, east of Scone in the Hunter Val­ley, be­fore re­turn­ing home to Clifton to play again for the Downs Polo Club in the 2017 sea­son.

Polo World Cup horse di­rec­tor Anto White said the horse lenders had done some­thing that could not be re­peated any­where in the world.

“The qual­ity of the horses that were gifted to this World Cup, I feel will never be equalled,” Mr White said.

“It has been an out­stand­ing team ef­fort that has put Aus­tralian polo in a place I don’t think it has been be­fore. I think that the Aus­tralian XI FIP (Fed­er­a­tion of In­ter­na­tional Polo) World Polo Cham­pi­onship will be talked about for many years to come.”

PHO­TOS: JOE MCINALLY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

TOP FORM: Ar­gen­tinian num­ber one Lu­cio Fer­nan­dez Ocampo and Milo on their way to scor­ing the win­ning goal in the fi­nals of the polo cham­pi­onship.

Clifton polo player Jack Man­tova and his horse, Milo, which won the Best Play­ing Pony of the fi­nals, with the Ar­gen­tinian Polo team after their thrilling win in the World Polo Cham­pi­onship in Syd­ney.

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