Getting to know you! - John Collins

5 minutes and 10 Questions with John Collins, Patron, Life Playing Member of Guards, Sponsor of the Talacrest Young Player of the Year Bursary, and Chairman of Talacrest, the World's Number One Classic Ferrari Dealer.


Q1: How did you first get in to Polo?

I was sitting having cup of coffee with Lord Cowdray after we had been racing some cars round Goodwood.  I was at his house and we were discussing cars and I said my back hurt and wasn’t into serious racing. He suggested I should take polo up. I laughed and told him that the only horses growing up in Glasgow were on John Wayne movies.  After a motoring event in Scotland the topic came up again and someone suggested it to my then wife and she bought me polo lesson at Ascot Park. I was literally dragged out and had two hour lesson with Tarquin Southwell.  I could not walk for two straight days afterwards.  I ended up buying Beechgrove (15 acres in Ascot), I also built Glebe Farm in Shurlock Row in 1996 and had 100 horses and 15 employees.  Michael came to see Beechgrove after I bought it and he laughed when I told him it was the most expensive cup of coffee I ever had.  He also put me in touch with Alan Kent. Then the Grace family and John Horswell and I became friends and I employed many young English players.

Q2: Favourite polo event in the World?

I love the Queen’s Cup. In the 90’s it was just magical. It was more fun then, as high goal players used to mix and come to parties and mingle.  Tinto Merlos was 3 goals when he played for me and the whole family would turn up at 8 goal matches.

Q3: Your top 3 items to take in your luggage when travelling?

Sneakers, tee shirts and half a dozen Budweisers depending on length of flight!

Q4: Best advice anyone ever gave you?

Don’t end up in jail!

Q5: Your motto to live by?

Your gut instinct is always right.

Q6: Your favourite La Martina piece?

The white jeans and top I bought last year.  I had been sitting in shorts freezing cold in the Royal Box when I suddenly clicked that I could just pop next door to the La Martina Store at Guards, put them on, pay and leave. I was so much warmer afterwards!

Q7: Your dream holiday destination?

I love West Palm Beach

Q8: Your favourite polo club?

Guards, without a doubt.

Q9: Your favourite Polo Pony?

Iris, an ex-racehorse who played two chukkas at the Coronation Cup one year.  She was amazing, truly a one-off.  I turned down a fortune for her from another High goal patron who saw me play her in the Duke of Wellington Final in 2000, when it was high goal and with more than a dozen teams. It took six games to get to the final.

10: In 5 Year’s time I would like to be… (complete this sentence)

..on my third career as a best-selling novelist.

 Thank you, John Collins!  We enjoyed getting to know you!

1 comment

John and I go way back to long before his polo days. Crazy Glaswegian but always had his “eye on the ball”.

Mark Ellen January 26, 2021

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