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Top flight polo on TV

Polo returns to TV this weekend, with seven screenings of the Hildon Queen’s Cup at Guards on Sky.

The hour-long programme includes footage from last month’s tournament, commentated by John Horswell and Jim Hilston, and pre-match visits to the yards of finalists Dubai and Labegorce. A secondprogramme featuring the Mercedes AMG Argentine Club Cup at Beaufort will air later in the season.

Footage includes slow-motion action replays of the dying minutes of the Queen’s Cup final, when Dubai scored the winning goal following a controversial umpiring moment.

The programme’s producer, Jon Howarth of Blue Tuna television, says: “We cover polo as a serious sport, and stay away from the champagne and social angle – we focus on players and horses. Polo’s profile is growing, and we should get good [viewing] figures.”

Blue Tuna also covers football and tennis, and Howarth aims to bring the production values from other sports into polo coverage, including better graphics and slow motion action replays.

The company has made polo programmes for Sky since 1999, but getting each project off the ground depends on sponsorship.

“We started with Hurtwood Park’s 40-goal challenge, then in 2000, four or five sponsors got together and we made five programmes. In 2001, we had two individual sponsors and made a couple of programmes, but last year none were made.”

The series will be called Polo Masters, and will be shown from 20-23 July on Sky Sports Extra and Sky Sports 1 and 2.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (17 July), or clickhere to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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