Love Island star Chris Hughes, known for his passion for racing and horses, decided to try his hand at polo for the first time recently, ahead of the Chestertons Polo in the Park (7-9 June) at Hurlingham Park in London.
The 26-year-old reality TV star spent the afternoon at Fifield Polo Club in Windsor receiving expert tips from top Chinese polo player Duncan Qiu, who is leading the Shanghai team at the polo tournament.
“I have learned so much about polo in one afternoon. If you love sport then it doesn’t need to be a niche activity, it can be an enjoyable spectacle to watch for everyone,” said Chris, who has almost 20 years of riding experience under his belt.
“I have never played polo before — I came into this completely blind, but there is so much to this sport. The barging side-by-side reminds me of ice hockey and when you jump off the horse and swap horses that is kind of like a pit-stop in Formula One.
“I was comfortable up on the horse, but it is getting used to the mallet when hitting the ball because it is all about timing.
He added: “At times you are almost completely oblivious to the fact that there is even a horse under you because you are so focused on hitting the ball. It is a fierce and competitive sport and I would love to give it another go — I don’t even think it would take that long to get used to the rules.”
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Racehorse owner Chris, who took part in a charity race and once rode Grand National winner Earth Summit, has always had a Hollywood-inspired motive to get involved in polo.
“One of my favourite films is Pretty Woman and Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts to the polo — I always thought that was the best part of the film, so I have liked polo ever since I saw that,” revealed Chris.
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