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The business of polo: Cloney ponies

January 3, 2013

IMAGINE a football match pitting 11 clones of Wayne Rooney against 11 more clones of the same spud-faced Manchester United striker. Even avid Wayne-watchers might find it a bit dull. But polo fans may one day be treated to something similar. No one is proposing to clone the stallions who wield the mallets, of course. But the stallions they sit on are another matter. Outstanding polo horses are hard to find and horribly expensive. Each world-class rider may have dozens, the best of which may cost more than $200,000 each.So breeding great mounts is big business. It used to be hit-and-miss, but new technology is making it less so. In 2010 the world?s first cloned polo pony was born. The technique has since caught fire in Argentina, the global capital of professional polo. Adolfo Cambiaso, probably the world?s best player, has teamed up with Alan Meeker of Crestview Genetics, a Texan firm, to clone eight of his mounts.The clones look and act like their ?parents?. Dolfina Lapa, one of Mr Cambiaso?s star mares, is ?meaner than mean?, says Mr Meeker. Her clones? ?They?ll kick you, they?ll bite you?just like Lapa. It?s uncanny.?Polo?s various governing bodies have...

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