Brooks looking to extend golden run in NZ Polo Open

Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
13 February 2024

Polo and thoroughbreds have been the two biggest passions in Kit Brooks’ life, and this week he will combine the two when he competes in the NZ Polo Open in Clevedon, Auckland.

Brooks is kept busy operating KB Bloodstock, his thoroughbred breaking-in, pre-training and ready- to- run business, but he always finds time to continue competing in the sport he loves.

The Cambridge horseman has been involved with horses all his life and spent his formative years learning to play polo, a sport that has since taken him all around the world to play at the highest level.

“I started polo when we moved to Cambridge in 2000,” he said. “I was lucky enough to work for the Clarkins, who are a big name in New Zealand polo. From there I went to England for their polo season for seven years, and then spent a few years playing in Australia.

“Between times I have done quite a few international trips playing for New Zealand, which has been awesome.”

During that time Brooks returned to play in New Zealand’s polo season, and has established a great record, particularly in the NZ Polo Open.

“I have had a pretty good run. I think I have now won the Open seven times in the last 10 years,” he said. “The last four or five times has been with the same team, Team Tiger. It has been the one big tournament for me.”

Thoroughbreds have played an integral role in Brooks’ polo career, and he believes they are the perfect breed for the sport.

“They are just super athletes,” he said. “If you get a good one, they are really willing, genuine, and try really hard. They are fast, athletic and they can stop and turn as quick as anything.

“New Zealand (polo) is predominantly thoroughbreds, but there are a few other breeds coming into it now. For me, I love the thoroughbreds.”

As well as breaking in thoroughbreds for the racetrack, Brooks has also re-trained a number of off the track thoroughbreds as polo ponies, and he has got a kick out of his former breakers coming back to be re-trained for a career on the polo field.

“All my polo ponies are off the track thoroughbreds that I have retrained myself,” he said. “A couple of those I have broken in to be racehorses and they have come back to me as polo ponies, which has been great.

“I would have 30 re-trained racehorses for polo. I go through and try them and if they don’t quite suit polo then I rehome them to someone they are better suited to.

“I sell quite a few of mine as well. I normally sell one or two of my better ones a year, which do well everywhere. I have sold quite a few to England and Australia over the last few years. New Zealand thoroughbreds are famous around the world for polo people, they love them.”

While polo is more of a hobby for Brooks these days, he still enjoys competing alongside operating KB Bloodstock, which in recent years has entered the ready-to-run market.

“We have been going with KB Bloodstock for a little while now, but we just keep getting busier and busier and growing the brand and doing more with that,” he said. “In the last few years, we have started the ready-to-runners and I have enjoyed doing that side of things as well.”

Brooks is looking forward to competing in the NZ Polo Open this week, with action kicking off on Tuesday, with the final set to take place on Sunday at 3.30pm.

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