Albury plays host to 2018 Australian Polocrosse Junior Classic

LET'S RIDE: Maya Scott, 13, Jimmy Grills and Thomas Wilms,14, warm up for this week's polocrosse carnival in Albury. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
LET'S RIDE: Maya Scott, 13, Jimmy Grills and Thomas Wilms,14, warm up for this week's polocrosse carnival in Albury. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Hundreds of young riders have converged on Albury, champing at the bit to hone their skills in a sport often referred to as rugby on horseback.

They have converged on the Albury-Wodonga Equestrian Centre this week for the 2018 Australian polocrosse junior classic, hailed as the “best junior competition in the world”.

With 200 riders from every state in Australia, 40 coaches and action-packed games scheduled under lights, this is a family friendly event where spectators are more than welcome.

Keeping an eagle eye on this young talent will be South African Bruce McLarty, coach of the winning World Cup team.

Junior events will be run in conjunction with Australian squad games and the Silver Stirrup and Bronze Bit Ladies Open during the April 17-22 carnival.

Away from the guts and grit on-field will be the glitz and glamour of a charity cocktail party Thursday night featuring guest speaker Hugh Bowman, jockey of wonderhorse Winx.

Bowman rode the exceptional racehorse to a record-breaking win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

This prestigious polocrosse event is being hosted by the Albury-Wodonga Holbrook Polocrosse Club.

Organiser Elissa Koch is encouraging anyone interested in witnessing the adrenaline rush of flying hooves and skilful riding to get out to the Thurgoona facility in the next five days.

“Polocrosse is a great spectator sport, it’s a great atmopshere and there will be huge crowds,” she said.

"With seven fields in action, it’s pretty electric.”

The local club will also conduct an auction to raise money for the Love Your Sister Charity.

Auctions in previous years have raised more than $6000 for deserving charities, according to Mrs Koch.

The  Silver Stirrup and Bronze Bit elite women’s competition begins on Thursday and will run to Sunday.

On Friday, the Australian Squad games will see 18 of the country’s top players vying for a spot in the upcoming 2019 World Cup Team.

Junior and squad games will also be held under lights on Friday night and the action will continue across all divisions on Saturday.

The finals of the Silver Stirrup and Bronze Bit competition will be played under lights on Saturday night while junior and squad finals will conclude on Sunday.

There will be trade stalls for horse enthusiasts, bar and canteen facilities available and entertainment by well-known muso Steve Bowen.