Moscow Mistress, the almost-also-ran


It’s a story worthy of the big screen, and Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better. Moscow Mistress is one of the world’s top polo mares, played by one of the world’s top players, but things could have been very different for her.

The promise was always there: she started out as a racehorse. But she was unsuccessful on the track and was sold to Futa Oxanham in the Eastern Cape, where she was patiently brought on by his son, Ray. A few years later Doug Lund, a former South Africa polo player, visited Addo Polo Club where Moscow, a green horse, caught his eye. He purchased her even though the owner discouraged him, based on Moscow being his son’s pony, and feeling there were better horses available. Doug saw potential, however.

Doug had noticed that Moscow had suffered a muscle tear in the hindquarter from her racing days and sent her for three months of physical therapy before beginning her training program. He spent two years training and playing Moscow, getting her to the top level.

Doug sold Moscow to Tom De Bruin, another former South African international polo player, who took her to England. Tom then sold Moscow to Australian Ruki Baillieu, who later sold her to Zacara patron Lyndon Lea for what was said to be a record price.

Now, seventeen-year-old Moscow is played by Argentinian international star Facundo Pieres. Moscow was flown from England to play in the Argentine Open in November 2016, and is the first South African polo pony ever to play in the Argentine Open, the highest level of polo played in the world.

It’s a story of second chances, an equestrian rags to riches, with a universal theme: sometimes somebody sees something in you that nobody else does, and it changes your life.


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Opening hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 11am – 4pm.
Wine sales Monday and Tuesday by arrangement.

+ (27) 076 300 9740

Newstead Wine Estate
Redford Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay