PLUS: JODIE MCKEONE'S, ALL EYES ON THE EUROS, TRAINING FOR SUPPLENESS WITH KERRY MACK, SCONE POLO INTERNATIONAL, WHAT MAKES MARY NITSCHKE TICK, PARA DRESSAGE AT HARTPURY, ROLEX II SHINES IN THE SHOW RING, A VET’S LOOK AT OVARIAN TUMOURS, A NEW APPROACH TO FEEDING & SUZY JARRATT ON ‘THE MIRACLES OF THE WHITE STALLIONS’.
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A Few Words
FROM THE PUBLISHER
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BY HEATH RYAN
SIMONE PEARCE’S SOLID SILVER SERVICE
BY ADELE SEVERS
SCONE SCORES ON THE WORLD STAGE
BY ADELE SEVERS
ALL EYES ON THE EUROS
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
WHAT MAKES MARY NITSCHKE TICK
BY ADELE SEVERS
THE SUBTLE ART OF SUPPLENESS
BY DR KERRY MACK
HARTPURY TAKES US TO ANOTHER LEVEL
BY BRIDGET MURPHY
MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS
BY SUZY JARRATT
DAVID SHOOBRIDGE’S MATING GAME
BY SUNDAY MCKAY
GRANULOSA CELL TUMOURS
BY DR MAXINE BRAIN
PERFECT FEED IS IN THE BAG
BY SUNDAY MCKAY
ROLEX II TICKS OVER NICELY FOR KAITLIN
BY ADELE SEVERS
THE SEASON FOR FUTURE STARS
BY EQ LIFE
JODIE MCKEONE: MISSION POSSIBLE
BY ADELE SEVERS
Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
“It’s all about the team – both the horses and the players – and just doing things properly,” says David Paradice about his involvement in the world of polo. David should know; he has established his own team, Scone Polo International.
Born in Scone, David Paradice rode horses as a child but didn't take up polo until age 50. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
“Twelve years ago, David began playing for Ellerston… by 2019, he’d formed his own team.”
Born in the Australian horse capital of Scone, David Paradice inevitably grew up riding – however, it wasn’t until the age of 50 that he first picked up a polo mallet. David’s polo journey began at Ellerston Onassis Polo Club in the Hunter Valley, a polo estate developed in 1987 by the late Kerry Packer that has remained synonymous with the sport in Australia ever since. David credits Kerry with putting Australian polo on the map, and when Kerry’s son, James Packer, stepped away from the sport many years ago, David was honoured to take over as primary patron of Ellerston.
This became the catalyst for David’s involvement in the sport not only as a sponsor, but as a player. Twelve years ago, David began playing for Ellerston himself. By 2019, he’d formed his own team in affiliation with Scone Polo Club – the largest polo club in Australia – and Scone Polo International was born. Success followed, and later that year he was shaking hands with the Queen as part of the winning Cartier Queens Cup team at the Guards Polo Club in England.
As David explains, polo came along at the perfect time; it was at a stage in his business life when he could afford to be involved but wasn’t too old to become a competitive player. “If I’d tried now, I would not have been able to; if I’d started earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to,” he muses. David, now 62, runs an investment management firm and loves that polo can be played around his work. He says it gives him an outlet and unlike other sports, age is no barrier to competing at the elite level. “When you’re an older guy like me, it’s really hard to play a high-level sport because you’re too old to keep up with the young guys. Horses do make the difference.”
By 2019, David formed his own team and Scone Polo International was born. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
WORLD’S BEST PLAYER
Adolfo Cambiaso playing for Scone Polo International. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
Through Ellerston, David met the world’s best polo player, Adolfo Cambiaso. “In 2020 Adolfo asked me to play with him, and by 2021 we were playing together,” says David of the legendary Argentine player who came to join Scone Polo International. Since then, the team has won the 2021 USPA Gold Cup, 2021 US Open Polo, and 2023 USPA Gold Cup in the USA, as well as the 2022 Abierto Del Jockey Club in the sport’s heartland of Argentina. They’ve also made countless semi-finals and finals at high-goal tournaments around the globe, including England.
David’s role in the team is to play an active role off the ball, to ride-off and set picks on opponents; in short, he helps to protect players like Adolfo so they can score. “It keeps me super fit, I’m in the gym five days a week, 90 minutes a day. I do a massive amount of core work and aerobic work,” he explains.
In polo, players are rated on a handicap scale from minus 2 to 10 goals, with high-goal tournaments requiring teams to have an appropriate aggregate ranking across their four players. Scone Polo International’s team usually includes Adolfo Cambiaso and his son, Poroto Cambiaso, alongside David, with the fourth team member dependent on the tournament’s goal rating.
During a game, David (back) primarily protects players such as Poroto Cambiaso (front) so they can score. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
Adolfo Cambiaso, 48, is the greatest player ever to play ‘the sport of kings’ and David says he’s honoured to play alongside him. With Adolfo’s talented son, Poroto, now playing for Scone Polo International as well, it’s all the more special.
With both usually rated as 10-goal players, having Adolfo and Poroto on the same team can be challenging when meeting the requirements of, for example, a 22-goal tournament, as they take up such a large portion of the handicap between them. This means their time playing together is likely limited and David says it has simply been incredible to be in the right place at the right time, sharing the field with such high-calibre players.
“At the moment there’s been this transition from the father to the son, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be the patron when this has happened,” he says. Seventeen-year-old Poroto, the youngest player ever to reach a 10-goal handicap, was last year ranked the No. 1 professional player in the world. A credit to his own dedication to the game, David was the leading amateur.
Poroto takes a shot at goal. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
“Adolfo has won more tournaments in his profession than any other sportsman in the world and there’s no other polo player like him; he’s just the complete athlete,” says David. “He started his polo operation with one or two horses and two saddles – now he has probably 2500 horses around the world, breeds about 300 per year, and trains about 220 per year.”
The massive operation is based in Argentina, and despite its size and Adolfo’s status, David observes that the champion player is happiest at the barn with his horses. “There is no better fertiliser than the owner’s footsteps,” quotes David, referring to how Adolfo’s hands-on approach to the sport has made him the success he is.
“He’s just focused on the horses; he just loves them. We were talking the other day… he’s now 48 years old, but he says getting on a new horse is just so, so exciting, he just loves being part of it. For a long time, Adolfo was quite close to the Queen; she used to invite him to events, but most of the time he just wanted to be at the barn!” It’s Adolfo’s absolute dedication to the sport and desire to complete all facets of it – whether playing or breeding – to the best of his ability that captivates David. “Those are the things that really make it for me, it’s just that focus on doing it properly,” he says.
Adolfo is dedicated to horses and polo. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
The breeding side of Adolfo’s operation is world leading. One of the pioneers of equine cloning, he has successful cloned countless polo ponies. “He’s very progressive, that’s why he’s been the number one for so long; he’s always evolving,” notes David. “He tells me that with the cloned horses, there might be a tiny difference, but basically – as he can remember any horse he’s ridden – they’re pretty much the same as the horse they are cloned from.”
Adolfo and Poroto typically ride up to 17 horses per game each, and David himself has 12; bring a fourth player into mix, and the team requires around 70 horses per tournament. With a support crew of 30, including grooms, physios and vet staff, it really is a monumental team effort.
AN AUSSIE THOROUGHBRED
Scone Polo International’s horses are sourced from many places, including Australia. Earlier this year at the British Open Polo Championship for the Cowdray Gold Cup in the UK, the team of Adolfo, Poroto, David and Matias Gonzalez made the quarter finals – and three Australian horses were on the team. Two, DP Moana and EOP Lily, were bred by Ellerston Onassis Polo, while the third, Riviera, was an off-the-track Thoroughbred.
Poroto with Australian Thoroughbred Riviera. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
Riviera was scouted by Adolfo when he rode her at the 22-goal La Dolfina Cup at Ellerston earlier this year, and Poroto saddled up the mare for the British tournament.
By Ad Valorem (USA) out of Rivarea, Riviera was in training with the late Bob Milligan at Taree, however, she never raced – in fact, she never even made it so far as to receive a racing name! Lacking talent for the track, she was scouted by Adam Buchert, a talented equestrian allrounder who show jumped with the best of his generation and worked as a racing foreman before transferring his skills to polo.
Retrained by Adam for polo player and owner Angus Karoll, Riviera was one of a number of horses purchased by Victorian polo player Jack “Ruki” Baillieu four years ago. He initially gave the mare to his brother to play. “Riviera was so easy and so kind and just did everything well, it made it easier for him to play,” explains Ruki. “She’s also small in stature, so easy for an amateur to hit the ball from, and she has got a great turn of speed. She’s just a very complete horse.”
Ruki’s brother rode Riviera for a year and a half and then when he gave up polo, Ruki took over the reins himself. “When I got her back, I realised just how good she was,” he says. The mare’s prowess on the field did not go unnoticed; while still owned by Angus Karoll she claimed the Godolphin Retrained Racehorse Award at the 2017 World Polo Championship, and then later with Ruki was named Champion Polo Pony at the 2020 Melbourne Polo Cup.
At this year’s La Dolfina Cup at Ellerston, Ruki offered Adolfo the ride and Riviera was again awarded the accolade of Champion Polo Pony. David purchased the mare on Adolfo’s recommendation, and the rest is history.
THE LATEST TEAM MEMBER
Scone Polo International at Cowdray, L-R, David Paradice, Matias Gonzalez, Poroto Cambiaso and Adolfo Cambiaso. Image by Sarah Ebbett Photography.
It wasn’t just an Aussie Thoroughbred making an international debut for Scone Polo International at Cowdray; it was also the first tournament where the team was sponsored by Australian outwear apparel brand Driza-Bone. It’s only fitting that an international team based in Australia’s horse capital is backed by an iconic Aussie label.
Next on the calendar for Scone Polo International is the Abierto Del Jockey Club in Argentina from 12-23 September, a tournament they won last year. As David says, polo is all about the team – and with the right players, horses, support staff and sponsors, they’ll be giving their all as they attempt to defend their title in the sport’s heartland. EQ