THE AUTUMN ISSUE 2019
S C O N E P O L O T R I U M P H S AT T H E Q U E E N ’ S C U P
FINANCIAL SERVICES . PRIVATE EQUITY . GLOBAL INVESTMENTS
HURLINGHAM THE AUTUMN ISSUE
CONTENTS 0 7_ P O N Y L I N E S The latest polo news, including the HPA chief executive’s column 16 _ G O I N G T O E X T R E M E S The Extreme Polo League is changing the game with franchising, international broadcasting, a global fixture, some new rules and the best players 18 _ C A L L I N G T H E S H O T S Owen Rinehart praises the umpiring of the 2019 UK summer season 2 0 _ A S I LV E R L I N I N G As Silver Leys Polo Club celebrates its 125th anniversary, we explore how the club is promoting the sport in its local community 2 4 _ L A S T I N G L E G A C Y Liz Higgins pays tribute to the late Robert Graham The Argentinian team at the Coronation Cup. From left: Facundo Pieres, Bartolito Castagnola, Juan Britos, Alfonso Pieres
26 _ T H R I L L S A N D S P I L L S The HPA Safety Advisory Committee reports on the findings of a survey conducted to investigate the rate of injuries in polo 2 8 _ P O L O15 0 HURLIN GHAM MAGAZIN E
C O V E R : D A V I D PA R A D I C E W I T H H E R M A J E S T Y T H E Q U E E N AT T H E C A R T I E R Q U E E N ’ S C U P I N J U N E . C O V E R P H O T O G R A P H Y : S A R A H H E S E LT I N E . T H I S P A G E : T H E A R T O F P O L O
We commemorate the 150th year of polo in England
Publisher Roderick Vere Nicoll
3 0 _ O P I N I O N: N I C K W I L E S H PA The soon-to-be chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association shares his visions for the HPA and how it will shape the future of the game
Executive Editor Peter Howarth Editor Jemima Wilson Designer Anna Gordon, Isobel Attrill Chief Copy Editor Lucy Frith
3 4 _ D R E S S I N G T H E PA R T Hurlingham Polo’s 1875 clothing range aims to elevate the visibility
Deputy Chief Copy Editor Holly Quayle
of polo through a series of high-profile ambassadors from the sport
Copy Editor Nick Atkins Picture Editor Louisa Bryant
4 0 _ F R I E N D LY F O E S
Contributing Photographer Tony Ramirez
Looking back at the International Cup Challenge of 1921 4 4 _ S AV O U R I N G T H E PA S T
S HOW MEDIA Editorial
The Earl of Tyrone describes how he is starting a whiskey tradition
Managing Director Peter Howarth
and prolonging his family’s legacy at Curraghmore House.
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51 _ T H E A C T I O N The action from the summer season including The Gold Cup, Queen’s Cup, Coronation Cup, the Royal Windsor Cup, Copa de Oro and the Silver Cup alongside a round-up of ladies polo
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6 6 _ P O L O O N T H E M A L L
Looking back at polo on the DC National Mall and how it remains
Colour Reproduction Rhapsody; rhapsodymedia.co.uk
a celebrated fixture of the sport
Printing Gemini Press; gemini-press.co.uk
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FOREWORD What a great summer of polo we have had in England on and off the field. The most exciting part was watching the Castagnola brothers play. Have a look at Ones to Watch in Talk, and in Action – they feature in the Gold Cup, the Coronation Cup and in Sotogrande. As Nick Wiles prepares to take over the chairmanship of the HPA later in the autumn, he lays out an agenda and what he hopes to achieve in the next five years in Opinion. In Features, we look at the HPA 1875 clothing range. If you happened to be on London’s Oxford Street or on the Tube in July, you may have seen advertisements for the brand. Elsewhere, polo player the Earl of Tyrone describes how he is starting a whiskey tradition and prolonging his family’s illustrious legacy at Curraghmore House in Waterford, Ireland. As a teenager in the 1970s, I used to play on Washington’s National Mall. In Archive, we look back on how it all started and look forward to celebrating 100 years of polo there in 2020. Hurlingham is sent to 10,000 players around the world free of charge. We rely on advertising to pay for the magazine. I would like to ask you all to have a look at the advertisers and if you need any of their services or products, reach out to them.
RODERICK VERE NICOLL PUBLISHER
For all the latest polo news and action, visit hurlinghampolo.com 4
J E M I M A W I L S O N is the editor
R I C H A R D L E P O E R , the Earl
S A R A H H E S E LT I N E is the
is an American freelance writer
of Hurlingham Polo magazine and
of Tyrone, is a 5th generation polo
founder of thegaitpost.com. Her love
from Brooklyn, New York. He writes
style editor at Show Media London,
player and captain of the Irish Polo
of polo stems from snapping her
on a wide array of topics, including
writing about style, watches and
Team. He learned to play with the
12-year-old son’s polo matches,
sports, history and culture.
jewellery for Brummell magazine,
Berkeley Branch of The Pony Club
as well as those of his heroes
A graduate of Hofstra University,
The Times Luxx and Boat
aged eight and now plays off an
throughout the High-Goal season.
he has also worked as a PR and
International. She is a passionate
outdoor 5-goal handicap. Four
A keen equestrian, eventing is her
marketing consultant. joshuam
equestrian and rides the Household
years ago he founded Curraghmore
first love, but the world of polo has
Cavalry horses in Hyde Park.
whiskey on his family’s estate.
certainly challenged her allegiances.
T H E A R T O F P O LO ; W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M
ONES TO WATCH CAMILO AND BARTOLOMÉ CASTAGNOLA
The polo world is in a frenzy. Two boys have burst onto the high-goal scene, winning the Gold Cup for the British Open in their first season, and we are totally mesmerised. Camilo ‘Jeta’ (left) and Bartolomé (right) Castagnola have been climbing the ranks for several years now, but this latest victory shot them into the polo stratosphere. Sons of seven-time Argentine Open champion Lolo Castagnola and Camila Cambiaso, the brothers’ titles have been earned thanks to their hard work and outstanding skill on the field.
If 18-year-old Barto is the archer, then 16-year-old Jeta is the arrow – the playmaker and the executor – and together they pose a threat to even the most established organisations. With the recent Gold Cup win, Jeta became one of the two youngest players to claim the prestigious title, an accolade he shares only with his uncle, Adolfo Cambiaso, who also won the competition aged 16. Barto also made his mark in test match polo this season, claiming the coveted Coronation Cup alongside Facundo
Pieres in the Argentine national team. The brothers will be playing the 2020 English season with La Indiana, but they have much to face before then – namely, the 2019 qualification tournament for Hurlingham and Palermo. Barto and Jeta, who will be representing their father’s La Natividad, get better by the chukka, and it won’t be too long before we see them taking on their uncle at Palermo’s number-one ground. Can they finish the year on a high and qualify for polo’s most vital championship? We can’t wait to find out.
DEAUVILLE GOLD CUP More than 2,000 spectators watched Edouard Carmignac and his team Talandracas win the Deauville Polo Cup for the sixth time on 25 August. Led by the formidable players of the Argentine Open, Fran Elizalde and Alejandro Muzzio, Team Barrière found themselves behind by four goals to one at the end of the first chukka. The team, titled by Martin Aguerre (winner of the Copa Camara 2018) had a sharp reaction in the second half and brought the score to 5-6, but the glimmer of hope didn’t last through to the end, and ultimately Talandracas (pictured below) came out on top.
POLO IN THE PORT Between 1 and 3 August, Montenegro’s first-ever polo tournament was held at Porto Montenegro, seeing international visitors join Tivat locals to enjoy worldclass sport set against the beautiful marina backdrop. Playing on the pop-up polo field on polo ponies imported to Montenegro for the event, the Porto Montenegro team (Charlie Wooldridge, James McCarthy and Jamie Morrison) defeated Global Citizen with a score of 9-7, while teams Boadicea and Universal Capital Bank finished with a score of 5-3 in the semi-finals. Organised by the Global Citizen Forum, the tournament enabled many spectators, young and old, to experience the thrill of polo for the first time. portomontenegro.com
JUSTINE JACQUEMOT; PMONT2011
It was a huge shock to all those involved with the HPA and Cowdray when Robert Graham died unexpectedly, shortly after the high-goal season had ended. A talented player who was 6 goals for many years, he was a major contributor to polo at Cowdray and to the HPA as chief umpire. He was a gentleman and diplomat on and off the field and was instrumental in building up the professional umpire group, as well as supporting the introduction of various rules to make the game more entertaining to watch. Various Frasers England teams have been in action. At the Beaufort, a young England team were glad there was not another chukka as Pakistan were getting into their stride. The picture was similar at Cirencester the next week when our Women’s team did well to hold off repeated attacks from Argentina early on and then score in the last minute to win 7–6. In the Coronation Cup against Argentina, the score was not so close. With three of the best of Argentina’s young players, led and fed by Facundo Pieres from the back, the opening chukka was a dramatic opening salvo of goals. The England players regrouped and fought back and the crowd was provided with a display of polo and horsepower that is rarely seen outside Palermo. As a country we were privileged to play not only the best country in the world, but probably the best 27-goal team that could be fielded.
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Major League Baseball ($5.5B)
National Football League ($3.5B)
National Basketball Association ($3.2B)
US Polo Assn ($1.7B)
NFL Players Association ($1.65B)
National Hockey League ($1.3B)
PGA Tour ($855M)
HOOKED ON POLO
I grew up riding Katie Horse, on our small family farm, and have always loved riding. Initially, I was doing everything while learning the ropes – transporting my horses, grooming, bandaging and tacking up, and a friend held the ponies for me between chukkas. Then, about eight years ago, Jim Gilmore called me to take over as patron from James Packer at Ellerston. I love the dynamics of team sports and tough exercise. A few years ago I road a mountain bike from Mexico to Canada up the continental divide with my son, doing 10 hours per day for 38 days. I used to play a lot of rugby and polo gives me the same level of physical fitness. There is no other sport where a person who is past his prime can contribute and play with the best players in the world, and there is nothing better than the pressure leading into a big game; the tired feeling of playing a hard game; and then winning a tough game against nice people and getting a cup from the Queen. My most memorable polo game was probably winning the Queen’s cup. I always try to give back to the community what I spend on polo. I also can’t stand being taken advantage of in any way, especially financially. If I see this is happening, I just won’t deal with that person again. I don’t have many polo skills but I do have a radar for being ripped off in polo – something I have learnt from business. In my business I have a philosophy of respect and gratitude; take no short cuts and always do the right thing. The same goes for polo.
USPA Global Licensing Inc. (USPAGL) announced that US Polo Assn, the official brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA), was listed as the fourth largest global sports licensor and 36th overall in License Global magazine’s prestigious list of top 150 global licensors. The brand jumped six spots in the overall rankings thanks to a record year in 2018 on all fronts. US Polo Assn reached $1.7B in retail sales, achieved double-digit growth, and expanded its footprint to include 166 countries and 1,100 US Polo Assn retail stores worldwide.
MALIA BRYAN Hurlingham magazine would like to correct that it was Malia Bryan, not Mia Novillo Astrada, who subbed for team Tonkawa in the US Open winter season 2019, where she shared the field with some of the best players in the world, along with Eduardo Heguy’s coaching. Bryan grew up in a polo-playing family and has always loved the horse aspect of polo and has become invested in working with developing green horses. Her perfect polo game is one where her horses perform their best, her team works together and she does a good job for the team.
W W W. I M A G E S O F P O L O . C O M ; U N I T E D S TAT E S P O L O A S S O C I AT I O N
David Paradice started playing polo 10 years ago with his hometown polo club Scone Polo and has now played up to 26-goal level
US POLO ASSN RANKED 4TH LARGEST SPORTS LICENSOR
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James Beim is stepping down after five years as the England captain. He has played for England at least 50 times. His record for the Westchester Cup is three out of three, and seven out of twelve for the Coronation Cup.
The qualifying tournament for the Argentine Open runs from the 16 to the 31 of October. Seven teams (two of 29 goals and five of 28 goals) are vying for two spots in the Hurlingham and Argentine Opens.
M O N U M E N TA L L A N D S C A P E S On 11 September, acclaimed sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green launched his book, PoloFest took place at the Denver Polo Club on the 31 August. There was a 34-goal exhibition match with 10-goalers Adolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling and Hilario Ulloa playing. Afterwards 10,000 people enjoyed musical performances from artists such as Kygo.
Green’s long association with renowned photographer Richard Foster. All photographs were taken around the sculptor’s home and studio on the South Downs. His giant
Horse at Water sculpture in London’s Marble Arch is well known but to see his works surrounded by nature and becoming one with the landscape itself is a revelation. The photographs along with a selection of sculptures will be on show at the Sladmore Gallery in Bruton Place, Mayfair until mid-October. nicfiddiangreen.com.
For the first time, the final of the Jockey Club Open was played at Palermo in front of a crowd of 3,000. There were also two amateurs playing: Curtis Pilot and Bob Jornayvaz. Pilot won 12-10 with the three Pieres brothers.
During the last weekend of September, 16 teams played in the 103rd Ambassadors’ Cup at the Helvetia Polo Club in Brazil. There were four separate tournaments with each team playing three games on very good fields, and eight nationalities were represented.
A COMPETITIVE SEASON
In July 2020, the first edition of The Polo Rider Cup will be played at the Chantilly Polo Club. Eight clubs from around Europe will play five chukkas for prize money. The idea is that each year the Polo Rider Cup will be played at a different club in Europe.
The stars of the season were the Castanoglas brothers; playing as a 20-goal side in the Queen’s Cup (lost in quarters) and 21 goals in the Gold Cup (won in overtime). They are young and dynamic with great bloodlines on both sides. Only Ali Albwardy (pictured above right) had the vision and canniness to pick them. He did the same with their uncle Adolfo Cambiaso 18 years ago. The trick to winning is partly due to having well handicapped players but the real magic is the chemistry of the team on and off the field. The ability to make all members of the team play above their handicap and as a team.
W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M ; R I C H A R D F O ST E R ; T H E A R T O F P O LO
Monumental Landscapes, at the Saatchi Gallery in London, celebrating Fiddian-
SADDLE UP WITH... JAMES HARPER COUNTRY: ENGLAND HANDICAP: 7 (UK) AGE: 40 When did you start to play polo? I started playing in the Goodwood pony club aged 12. The first few years, I just did the standard two weeks a year of pony club, then I got hooked.
LOVE OF MY LIFE BY JAMES GILMORE PONY’S NAME: TWITTER SEX: MARE ORIGIN: UK Twitter was bred by me in 2012 in the UK. Her dam Twiggy, and sire, Livingston, have very special Ellerston genetics. Twiggy (Kylie x Norman Pentaquad) has been played by Gonzalito Pieres for many years in the UK, and Livingston (Lizzie x Clark) was sold to the
What level of polo do you play? I play all levels of polo from 12 to 22 goal. I’ve spent most of my career playing in eight and 12 goal. I’m now lucky enough to be getting a go at the better levels too.
I think is due respect too as that is the pinnacle of our sport.
What makes polo special for you? It’s all about the horses for me. We spend our life preparing the horses and are always looking for the next champion. Also, my family lives and breathes polo, especially in the English summer at Cowdray. It’s a great place to hang out with them on a sunny day.
What is your most memorable polo game? Winning the Gold Cup with El Remanso last year. The whole thing was like a movie script. That was my first big tournament win and was something I dreamt of doing since I started playing. Also my first Coronation Cup in 2016 was special as that’s the one time you know you are in the top four for England. And being MVP and winning the Queen’s Cup this year, plus getting BPP with Jim Gilmore’s mare Twitter, was amazing as well.
Who do you respect most in polo? I respect anyone who can make a living from polo, as it’s a very tough career to choose. But if you can, you get to do something you love and have a lot of fun doing it. Anyone who has won the Argentine Open
Anything else you would like to cover? I’m approaching 40 years old and I’m having the best 5 years of my career by far. I think you should never stop trying to improve yourself and your horses, as you never know when you’ll get your chance.
Vicuña and Tanoira families as a three year old. I was fortunate to breed three very special fillies by him as a two-year-old colt – Twitter, Casola and Cello. Twitter is my perfect type of polo pony, big body, short legs and strong hindquarters. Very much opposite to a model. She has a beautiful economical action, a V8 motor and a flawless temperament. I would suggest she is self-made, but that wouldn’t do credit to any of us, especially Jake Daniels and James Harper (Harps), who have played and trained her so beautifully. In her short career she has already
won eight BPP awards with three different
It was with deep sadness that
players; winning BPP for Harps in the Queen’s
Cowdray Park Polo Club announced
Cup was special for all of us.
the death of former chief
Facundo Pieres played Twitter early last year
commentator Terry Hanlon in May this
in chukkas and asked for an option on her
year. He had been suffering ill health
when she had matured. He has played some
for several years. For many decades
amazing Ellerston ponies, including Dinghy,
Terry was known as the ‘Voice of Polo’
Claret, Martini, Elaborate, Sheltie and Cube.
entertaining crowds, which often
It will be exciting for me to watch him play this
included royalty, at the Cowdray Park
little superstar in 2020 and compare her to
Gold Cup and many international
this illustrious group.
fixtures. He will be greatly missed.
#LIVEAUTHENTICALLY @USPOLOASSN | USPOLOASSNGLOBAL.COM
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GOING TO EXTREMES Carolina Beresford explains how the Extreme Polo League is revolutionising the sport as we know it
There is a hot new league on the block, and this one really does promise to take polo to the next level. We’re talking franchising, international broadcasting, events, merchandising, hopes for gaming, virtual reality, and a global fixture showcasing the talents of the best players on the planet. The Extreme Polo League (XPL) has landed in Argentina, planted its flag, and clearly communicated its intention: to revolutionise polo as we know it. The mastermind behind the project is Juan Zavalía, a Swiss-Argentine investment banker with a deep appreciation for the sport. His ultimate mission is to professionalise the
game and create a media content company that focuses on promoting the XPL around the world. No easy feat, that’s for sure, but Zavalía is confident in his game plan, based on the franchising model adopted in sports such as basketball and motor racing. ‘How often do you have a sport with the tradition polo has, the elements of speed and adrenaline, and the chance to present it to a new audience?’ says Zavalía. ‘This is a huge opportunity. We hope to develop 12 professional franchises around the world.’ ‘Two things helped me in this venture,’ he continues. ‘Firstly, there was a shift in the Argentine Polo Association that brought
about a more active and entrepreneurial style of management, and secondly, the media landscape changed. We have been able to secure players, financing, and a media partner, and that has been crucial for the development of the league.’ The first step on the journey is the inaugural XPL event in Argentina, with the final scheduled on 5 October at Palermo. Six organisations are set to compete for the title and the prize money. With established names such as Ellerstina, Las Monjitas, La Ensenada, Albertina Abu Dhabi, La Pegasus Polo, and La Aguada, this first tournament will see the best players in the game take to the field.
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The particulars: the league welcomes teams between 28- and 34-goals; a maximum of two 10-goalers are allowed per team; a total of 10 horses per player, per match is permitted, and players must have a minimum handicap of four goals. The rule limiting the number of horses has been included in a bid to lower the costs of polo and make the sport more inclusive, while the four-goal handicap minimum will ensure that every player on the field is a professional dedicated to the sport. This is not a league for amateurs. Over the past few years other individuals have worked to form a wholly professional league, most notably Javier Tanoira and the All Pro Polo League, but the XPL has taken the concept of professionalism and merged it with an economic model that promises not
only to make this project sustainable, but also to make it profitable. Currently, the XPL event in Argentina is the main focus, but the league is busy fixing the dates for the 2020 calendar. The year will kick off with an event in Palm Beach in April; action will then continue in England, France, and hopefully Spain. In the first year, each team must commit to two events – one in Argentina and one in another country. The stakes are raised in 2021, when teams must compete in three XPL tournaments. Every polo fan dreams of experiencing the buzz, beauty, and heart-thumping thrill implicit in high-goal polo – now, thanks to the XPL, spectators around the world will be one step closer to the action. Buckle up, sports fans, this is going to be a wild ride.
Opposite: Standing from left: Alfredo Cappella Barabucci, Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Juan Zavalia Paunero, Felipe de Stefani, Mariano Aguerre. Kneeling from left: Juan M Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres, Guillermo Caset, Miguel Novillo Astrada. This page, from left: Miguel Novillo Astrada and Valerio Zubiaurre in action
T H E M O D E L P R O M I S E S N O T O N LY T O M A K E T H I S P R O J E C T S U S TA I N A B L E , B U T A L S O T O M A K E I T P R O F I TA B L E
M ATA I A S C A L L E J O / X P L
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CALLING THE SHOTS The umpiring of the UK 2019 summer season should be the model for all countries to follow, comments Owen Rinehart
As a spectator of only quality polo now, the games in the 2019 Queen’s Cup and Gold Cup for the British Open were some of the best I’ve seen, other than the Argentine Triple Crown. I think the reason for this was because the umpires didn’t call many fouls – the idea of calling a very strict game in the hopes that players will foul less has never worked. It causes players to ride for fouls and makes the games terrible to watch because the umpires blow whistles for the player who is late to the play, which is wrong in my opinion. Stoppage is boring and non-polo players don’t understand the call. The rules of polo were made for safety and the games I watched
were safe. Calling only obvious or dangerous fouls sped the games up and stopped players riding for fouls, because they knew they were going to be late for the next play if they did. The result was perhaps the fastest 22-goal polo played in a while, maybe ever. The quickness and talent of the players and the quality of the horses was great to see and that is what will sell the sport going forward. I’m not sure how the professional players felt about the style of umpiring during the season, but I hope they liked it. The aim of all of the polo associations is to bring more people to the game, either as players or viewers, and this summer season in the UK should be the model for all levels to follow.
If polo is played faster with fewer interruptions, it is much easier to improve, plus amateurs understand the game better and are less afraid to make mistakes. If pros are playing for fouls because the game is being umpired that way, players become frustrated, which leads to yellow flags, instant replay and boring polo to watch and play. The old way of using the third man was much better, either he saw a foul or didn’t, and a simple hand signal of yes or no solved it. If you are driving down the freeway and the cops are everywhere giving out tickets, the flow of traffic slows down to a really sluggish pace and becomes worse, because of stop-start traffic. It’s no different in polo.
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A S I LV E R L I N I N G As Silver Leys Polo Club celebrates its 125th anniversary, Alec Banner-Eve explains its mission to share the sport and the club with as many people as possible
This year, Silver Leys Polo Club celebrates its 125th anniversary – its ‘quasquicentennial’ for anyone searching for the word. Originally known as the Stansted Polo Club, established by Tresham Gilbey in 1892, the polo club moved in 1894 when Walter Gilbey (Tresham’s father) bought the site known as ‘Silver Leys’. Walter Gilbey was renowned for his founding of Gilbey’s Gin, and the original pitch was donated by Walter to the town of Bishop’s
Stortford for mainly equestrian and other “sporting activities.” Now, the original Silver Leys site is the home of the successful Bishop’s Stortford rugby team, and, located close by, in what is now the heart of the town, was Sir John Barker’s Grange Stud. According to Horace Laffaye’s The Evolution of Polo, in the early 1900s ‘Sir John Barker was the first breeder to select mares that had made
a reputation on the polo ground and bred good ponies from them’. The current polo grounds are only a stone’s throw away from this birthplace, in Bury Green, and in the last decade the club has seen a lot of change and huge amounts of organic growth. Bishop’s Stortford itself is a vibrant market town with good schools, and its excellent transport links to London and convenient location just minutes from
MHF POLO; H MALIK
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Left: The Silver Leys Polo Club has been running since 1892. This page: Silver Leys Team from left: Tom Leland, Will Almond, Kate Cook, Jessica Hawes won the BSG Trophy in 2017
Stansted Airport, combined with the surrounding Hertfordshire countryside, has helped to make it a fast-growing commuter town for London in recent decades. The polo club aims and hopes to further capitalise on this by offering local residents the chance to enjoy the relaxed green space at the club – a welcome contrast to an office or commuting. The whole ethos at Silver Leys has been to increase audience captivity and this has grown from players inviting their families to watch, to crowds of hundreds of people attending every tournament weekend. The more people coming through the door means more people talking and thinking about polo, and hopefully this contributes to the breakdown of perceived barriers for entry into the game. Polo is always going to be a trickier sport than many others when you need a horse rather than just a good pair of trainers and as a club we try to make it as simple and enjoyable to get involved as possible. As many know, the polo school MHF Polo has exhibited at countless country and horse shows, paraded through towns and cities as well as providing matches and talks to as many local primary and secondary schools as possible. Increasingly, with more hours worked in a week by both parents, and parenting constantly under scrutiny, spectators and players alike want to spend more time as a family. Locally and nationally, fine restaurants and nightclubs have taken a decline compared to the ‘family music festival’ or village fete initiatives, which have thousands of people attending weekend after weekend – crowds that would make any UK polo club’s eyes water. On weekends, we have everything from animal petting zoos and tug of wars to live music – we have been really
W E A R E O N LY S C R AT C H I N G T H E S U R FA C E O F W H AT I S POSSIBLE FOR A CLUB OF SUCH A UNIQUE SPORT
lucky and found some undiscovered gems. Polo clubs are more than geared up to cater for this type of event, after all, one of the world’s largest and most famous music festivals Coachella is held at a polo club. As a club, Silver Leys has an extremely supportive group of owners, a chairman and members, many of whom are a part of its journey and are aligned in wanting to share the sport and the club with as many people as possible. Most tournament weekends, members bend over backwards to create spaces for guests to leave their horses. But not only that, they make an effort every other
weekend to travel to other clubs and support them and hope that they will reciprocate. Any cash surplus has been put right back into sanding and improving the pitches and we have been extremely grateful to the club owners for installing an irrigation system and constructing a fantastic new polo arena. We feel we are only scratching the surface of what is possible for a club of such a unique and enchanting sport. While we will undoubtedly make some mistakes, we will continue to try new things and hope to share the sport and the club with as many people as we can along the way.
SOFT TOUCH From decadent black tie balls to chic cocktails, Favourbrook has velvet eveningwear for all occasions, writes Jemima Wilson
Founded by Oliver Spencer in 1993, Favourbrook is London’s most prominent purveyor of occasionwear, specialising in elegant yet striking attire for evening soirees, weddings and glamorous days at the races. From the sport of kings to the game of kings, the world of polo offers many reasons to dress up, and Favourbrook’s Autumn/Winter velvet eveningwear will see you stand out from the crowd.
Fascinated by fabrics, Spencer, who went on to set up his eponymous menswear label in 2002, started dabbling in textiles when he was at art school. Having experimented with using everything from ecclesiastical cloths to woven silks, his pieces are still made from the finest and most innovative materials, with a focus on sumptuous velvet. The velvet Chaucer Jacket is an ideal blend of a house coat and a dinner jacket,
combining satin shawl lapels with matching satin gauntlet cuffs and patch pockets, and is equally at home dressed up or down. Another contemporary update to the collection is the Recycled Cashmere Dinner Suit made from fabric manufactured in Portuguese mills at the forefront of sustainable production. Not only is it smart, it benefits the environment too. favourbrook.com
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LASTING LEGACY Liz Higgins pays tribute to the late Robert Graham’s incredible contribution to polo, from keen young player to Prince Charles’ teammate and chief umpire of the UK
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Opposite: Prince Charles (left) next to Robert Graham, Julian Hipwood and Guy Wildenstein’s team ‘Les Diables Bleus’ in 1982. This page: Robert Graham
M I C H A E L C H E V I S ; © W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M
HAP SHARP INVITED ROBERT TO R U N H I S P O L O O P E R AT I O N I N T H E UK, AND HIS FARM IN ARGENTINA
The polo community was saddened to hear of the untimely death, from natural causes, of Robert Graham on 7 August. Robert, a former six-goal player, was born on 7 March 1952 in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and was brought up with his brother and sister firstly in Scotland and later in Gloucestershire. His early equestrian career centred round the local branch of the Pony Club, where he had his first taste of polo. Thoroughly hooked, he asked his father if he could put off entering a career in the army for a year in order to play. Graham senior agreed and Robert enjoyed a great season, winning several trophies along the way. USA patron Michael Butler spotted the keen young player and offered him a place on his team. Robert approached his father again with a request for a second year in polo. He agreed that Robert could take up the offer of a place with another American patron, Hap Sharp – his future father-in-law – and the army lost him forever. Hap Sharp invited Robert to run not just his polo operation in the UK, but also his farm in Argentina where his ponies were bred and trained. By this time Robert had fallen in love with Hap’s daughter Betsy and asked if she would go with him to Argentina – as his wife. Hap wasn’t keen on the idea, Betsy being
only 18 years old, but Robert’s family were supportive. The two families met in London and Robert’s mother worked out how a wedding could be arranged in the short time before Robert was due in Argentina. She organised with the vicar that the lengthy reading of the banns could be waived and on Christmas Day 1973 Betsy and Robert married in Gloucester Cathedral. Winters were spent at the farm in Argentina and then it was back to the UK for the European polo season. Hap Sharp’s polo team, Greenhill Farm, was based at Cowdray, but they entered tournaments at other clubs – winning the Warwickshire Cup at Cirencester amongst others. 1975 was a memorable year for many reasons. The couple had to leave Argentina due to the serious problem of kidnap gangs targeting anyone who looked as though a ransom could be paid for them. Robert and Betsy headed for Florida where Hap was taking a team into the Sunshine League. They won several cups before heading to Spain, the only polo destination in Europe where 25-goal polo was played. They took home the King’s Cup and several others. Back in the UK, Greenhill Farm won the Cowdray Park Gold Cup and the team finished a brilliant year by winning the Copa
de Oro in Sotogrande. They played many seasons in the early days of Sotogrande, winning the Copa de Oro twice more. Robert continued to play in several notable teams, in 1982 reaching the final of the Cowdray Park Gold Cup with Guy Wildenstein’s Les Diables Bleus alongside Prince Charles and Julian Hipwood, losing to Southfields 7-6 in extra time. He later became a Grade-A umpire, the UK having become the first country to employ professional umpires for high-goal matches. He succeeded Brigadier Arthur DouglasNugent as chief umpire of the UK in 2003, a position he held until his death. Betsy and Robert bought the farm in Argentina from Hap Sharp and continued to breed and produce polo ponies assisted by English player Will Healy, manager of Ham Polo Club. The ranch has become a favoured destination for many young English players over the years as a place to improve their polo during the UK off-season. Robert is survived by his wife Betsy and their daughter Vanessa, born in 1984, who is now finance controller for Cowdray Park Polo Club. Robert also served on the committee that runs the Club, and will be greatly missed at Cowdray Park as well as in the wider polo world.
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THRILLS AND SPILLS Winston Churchill once famously said: ‘There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.’ And, while this may be true for the inside, our four-legged friends have also proven to be quite damaging for the outside, especially in the polo world.
We have long been dissatisfied with the quality of injury statistics in our largely volunteer-run sport. Unlike sports such as racing, where race medics collate statistics on fallers and fractures, our sport relies on volunteers at all but the biggest clubs to collect data, and at
haematoma / contusion / bruise
muscle rupture / tear / spasm / cramp / haematoma
dislocation / subluxation / instability
tendon tear / tendinopathy
POLO INJURIES BY TYPE
injury to meniscus / articular cartilage
other bone injury
the end of the year many clubs claim that no injuries occurred. To get a better idea of our injury rate, and how we compare to other horse sports, we surveyed members in 2019 on HPA sign-up, asking about injuries they suffered in 2018. Around 439 submissions later, a 20% response rate, we found the most commonly injured area was the head and face, and the most common type of injury was a fracture. While 439 responses is not bad, we are hoping an increased response rate in the future will help us to get a more accurate view of injuries, especially since people who were injured may be overrepresented in the responses. This survey also assumes that players in the 2018 season return for the 2019 season but does not take into account those who sustained injuries so serious that they have had to hang up their boots during or after the season. We are aware of a handful of such cases. Thankfully, there were no deaths during polo in 2018. As for the results, the most common type of injury sustained last year was a fracture, with 25 respondents having sustained one. Another common type of injury was a muscle rupture or ligament injury, with 14 reported. Five players reported concussion, and a further five experienced dislocations. It is important to bear in mind that these numbers should be multiplied by five, in order to get the overall rate of injury. Interestingly, despite the amount of injuries reported, polo has a very low rate of injury per chukka, of 0.12%. This is the same as Irish flat racing, which has a 0.12% injury rate per race start. Irish Point to Point has 0.89%, and Irish National Hunt has the highest of them all, at 1.07%. Alongside injuries, the results of the distributed survey also show us the average number of chukkas played per club. However,
© W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M
Sam Coates and Victor Chua of the HPA Safety Advisory Committee report on the findings of a survey conducted to investigate the rate of injuries in polo
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the results may be skewed due to a very small number of respondents in some clubs. Disregarding some obvious anomalies, the club with the highest average number of chukkas played was Great Trippetts, with 250 chukkas. Following Great Trippetts is Holyport with 240, Twyford with 225, Guards with 209, Cambridge County with 193 and the Beaufort with 188, respectively. Furthermore, the survey results show us the average number of chukkas per age group, and the age group with the largest average number of chukkas is the 51-60 group, with an average of 136 chukkas. The 31-40 group follows, with 130 chukkas, then 41-50 with 121, 21-30 with 115, 61+ with 104, and interestingly 20 and lower, with an average of 98 chukkas. Management guru Peter Drucker said: ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure’. We hope that more players will take part in next year’s survey.
Above: Victor Chua on the field
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THE BIRTH OF MODERN POLO Director of Polo150, Mark Cann, explains how the initiative is celebrating 150 years of polo in the modern era
Chris Eubank, Mark Cann and Darius Sarosh of the ERSF at a Polo150 event in June
Events endorsing these Polo150 messages have so far included four matches in June between a team of aspiring players from the Polo Africa Development Trust charity in South Africa and a variety of Polo150 invitational teams. Everyone who witnessed the games – especially those at Cirencester as part of the Cotswold International Day and Guards the Outsourcing Royal Windsor Cup Final day, which the Queen attended – were astounded at the horsemanship and speed at which these talented young athletes played. An example of other initiatives includes Hackett London hosting a spectacular photographic exhibition to highlight 150 years of the sport. Graham Budd Auctioneers held a specific online polo auction and HPA 1875 have produced a celebration Polo150 historic clothing line. On the polo field, games recognising the celebration of Polo150 have occurred all over
the world on every continent, acknowledging the messages of polo and the sport shared and enjoyed by so many. One hugely positive outcome of Polo150 will be that it will raise money for polo-related charities throughout the world, including Poloafrica, helping many others to enjoy the great game. If readers would like to contribute, donations can be made directly via JustGiving or through the UKAFPA website (ukafpa.org.uk). Polo150 has been an extremely successful initiative that has, in many subtle ways, united the sport while giving it publicity outside the normal mediums. Its formula will no doubt be duplicated as other significant anniversaries come up for clubs, tournaments and associations. As in 1869, a debt is once again owed to the Armed Forces for their contribution to the game and especially to the culture of polo. ukafpa.org.uk
© W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M
This year marks 150 years since “hockey on horseback” – as it was originally known – was first played in England. To celebrate such a significant anniversary, Polo150 was created to develop and manage a series of events to commemorate the date universally recognised as the beginning of today’s game. The first acknowledged game in the UK was played in 1869, predating the FA Cup, the Ashes and modern Olympics. It was organised by officers stationed at Aldershot in Hampshire. Soon etiquette and rules were established and polo was being played at a variety of clubs around the country. In a forward as patron of the UK Armed Forces Polo Association (UKAFPA) HRH The Prince of Wales wrote in its annual magazine: ‘As we celebrate and enjoy this most exhilarating and challenging sport, the central message of Polo150 is to emphasise the special aspects of polo, such as the strong affiliation with the military, all over the world; the fact that men and women compete equally indeed, it is the only contact sport where this happens, even at the highest level: and, most importantly, the relationship between the player and the unique polo pony... Polo150 initiative brings the world of polo together to celebrate a most remarkable sport – from which I still bear the scars! – and send my very best wishes to everyone in the world of polo as we celebrate its 150th birthday.’ The UKAFPA has been leading the celebrations for Polo150, which have been marked by the use of the Polo150 celebration ball – played for the first time in Florida’s Westchester Cup. The initiative highlights a number of key messages, including polo’s strong affiliation with the military, the fact that it is the only contact sport where men and women compete equally at the highest level, as well as the philanthropic nature of the sport.
A new era The HPA’s soon-to-be chairman Nick Wiles explains his vision for shaping the future of the sport I L L U S T R AT I O N : DAV I D YO U N G
Naturally the prospect of following on from Stephen Hutchinson as chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association later this year is something that is both an exciting and a somewhat daunting prospect. As a result, the last few months have been very busy as we think through the challenges faced by the sport today. I read a very insightful interview with Chip Campbell in Hurlingham Polo magazine earlier this year in which he talked about his time as chairman of the United States Polo Association. He discussed the challenges he has faced in bringing about changes in the USPA, managing an all-volunteer committee-run organisation, and the slow-paced decision making and implementation process, all of which make change difficult to achieve and the antithesis of what most of us are used to in our own businesses. While so much of what Chip described in the USPA is equally recognisable in the HPA, as he properly observed, this is the framework within which we have to work. As a result, for me it is important to set out a clear agenda for my tenure as chairman of the HPA, to be accountable for its delivery and to adopt Chip’s thesis of seeking to leave it better than you found it. It was with this in mind that we produced the Vision for Polo consultation document, earlier this summer, which set out a longer-term plan for the sport and our priorities for the next five years. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of feedback and engagement throughout the sport in response to this consultation document. I have had many conversations at the side of the ground over the summer, in addition to the written comments, all of
which has been helpful in understanding the range of views in the sport. It is unlikely that we are going to be able to accommodate every view and suggestion, but we have listened and made significant changes to the original draft as a result of the process. We also have to be mindful that there is concern about additional rules and bureaucracy being imposed on patrons and players by the HPA, and a desire to see any new rules being introduced in a measured and clear way. A central theme from the feedback is the reality of three different constituencies within the sport today – high goal, victor ludorum, polo at bigger clubs and regional polo. Each of these constituencies have different requirements to flourish and may, in the future, require separate committees to support their development. There is little doubt that the overall handicapping policy and tournament
conditions should provide the framework for fair and competitive polo at all levels. During the consultation process, these were the areas with the most feedback and the widest range of views. It’s clear at the grass-roots level, there is a need for the greatest flexibility in both, to encourage newcomers to the sport, give them time to develop and the opportunity to play safely with experienced players. At the higher levels we need to build on the significant progress that has already been made in establishing a more progressive, transparent and fairer handicapping system, which ensures players are moved up in handicap more quickly and anomalies are addressed without hesitation during the season. This approach to handicapping, combined with making changes to tournament conditions and the composition of teams, is also seeking to make both fairer for all players and teams. There is no desire in this approach to impose greater restrictions, endanger the livelihood of professional players or discourage patrons, but it is important for the HPA to work harder to make the sport fairer and support the British game and its development. I am already aware that one or two clubs are not intending to adopt the HPA tournament conditions for internal tournaments. Of course this would be a pity, but as often is the case in this sport there is the challenge of ‘polotics’ and conflicting agendas. I don’t think we can let this deter us from seeking to be confident and bold in proposing changes, which we believe are consistent with a modern agenda and will be to the benefit of the sport as a whole. I believe handicapping policy and tournament conditions will continue to be
WE ARE CONFIDENT IN PROPOSING CHANGES T H AT W E B E L I E V E W I L L BENEFIT THE SPORT AS A WHOLE
Opposite: Nick Wiles with his son, Luke, Nico Antinori, Nick and Tom Beim in a winning 6-goal team in 2014. This page: Nick Wiles will soon be the chairman of the HPA
Action from the Junior HPA Rocksavage finals on the Castle Ground at Guards Polo Club
actively debated and will always be hot topics, given they are two of the issues we most need to get right. In the short term, we also have the impact of Brexit to consider, in terms of how it may affect visa entry requirements for overseas players and also create the opportunity to ensure there is a British player in each team at every level, including high goal. In the very short term we need Home Office guidance for the 2020 season, so that patrons and players can make plans with confidence. However, it is important for the next five years to be about more than just handicapping and tournament conditions – there are some important areas of common ground throughout the sport, such as the importance of grass-roots development, the development and education of young players, the raising of standards of conduct, behaviour, discipline and animal welfare, the importance of a coherent commercial strategy to bring needed funding and sponsorship in the game and the need to modernise the overall governance structure of the HPA as the governing body. All of these issues are crucial to the long-term welfare and development of the sport and will be at the heart of the
respective HPA committees in terms of a plan and accountability. There are a number of these areas I feel passionately about and see the need for a fresh approach and energy in order for us to make progress, and from the conversations I have had over the past few months, it’s clear that many others feel the same way. • We have to work harder to encourage new players into the game and support clubs and organisations that are already working hard to achieve this. • We do need to give greater support to young players and, in particular, think about how we can create an education programme that gives them more rounded skills so that they are better equipped to manage their careers and beyond. • We must improve the standards of conduct and behaviour on the field. Every other sport is working hard to do this and our sport should too. We need to eliminate unsporting behaviour and foul language, and raise the standards of horse welfare. The behaviour from some players this season towards fellow players and umpires has been unacceptable and has no place in the sport. • We need to strengthen relationships
with other leading international polo associations around the world. This way we are going to be better able to tackle shared challenges in the game and maximise opportunities for all players. • As a polo community, we need to get behind the work being done by King of Games to develop the Hurlingham Polo 1875 brand. The success of the brand is important to the sport and has the potential to bring much-needed revenue for the future. • We need to modernise the governance of the sport and seek to broaden the range of people willing to contribute to the HPA, thereby ensuring the governing body properly reflects the breadth of its members and the sport as a whole. At the moment it feels like there is a lot to do. I think the next stage will be to ensure we have the right people in place to lead the key HPA committees and for these committees to take ownership of the key elements of the vision we have set out. This way we have the best chance of making tangible progress and building on the strong foundations of the sport today. To return to Chip Campbell, hopefully, if we achieve this, we will leave it better than we found it.
THE ART OF POLO
DRESSING the part From high society to the high-street, Hurlingham Polo’s 1875 clothing collection aims to give everyone a piece of the action, writes Jemima Wilson
HURLINGHAM POLO; THE ART OF POLO
hile equestrian-inspired style became popular with those in and out of the polo world thanks to luxury brands such as Hermès, Gucci and Ralph Lauren making it ‘fashionable’, there are relatively few polo-specific clothing brands known by those who do not follow the sport. However, with many polo clubs in the UK aiming to encourage new players into the game, it is a perfect time for polo clothing brands to contribute to raising the sport’s profile and provide an accessible entry point for people from a diverse range of backgrounds. There is no doubt that polo, and the lifestyle associated with it, is still regarded as relatively exclusive by many, but thanks to new initiatives aimed to introduce the game to a wider audience, it is starting to get more exposure and become more accessible. Indeed, if you happened to be on London’s Oxford Street (the busiest street in Europe with 500,000 daily visitors) in July, you may have seen advertisements lining the length of the street for Hurlingham Polo’s latest clothing range, or spotted it stocked in one of House of Fraser stores around the UK. It is a remarkable achievement for a brand that started with an online-only presence to launch its own individually branded areas in one of the biggest, and oldest, department store groups in Britain
while running a nationwide advertising campaign targeting the likes of Manchester, Reading and Leeds. Yet, despite Hurlingham Polo’s recent expansion, and its increasing focus on lifestyle clothing to attract customers who aren’t already part of the polo community, the brand remains loyal to the heritage and history of the sport. For example, the theme of its advertising campaign, For the Rule Makers, was used as the point of focus – nodding to the Hurlingham Polo Association, which drew up the first formal set of rules back in 1875. The Tattersall Check Shirt for instance, from the spring/summer collection, features a distinguished pastel colour scheme that dates
THE THEME OF ITS CAMPAIGN, FOR THE RULE MAKERS, WAS A NOD TO THE HPA , WHICH DREW UP THE FIRST S E T O F R U L E S IN 18 75
Opposite: Hurlingham Polo 1875 brand ambassador, Nina Clarkin, models the brand’s latest collection. Right: Brand ambassador Charlie Hanbury
From left: Fred Mannix Jr, Nina Clarkin and Charlie Hanbury in a photoshoot for Hurlingham Polo 1875
back to the 18th century, imitating the patterns displayed at its namesake, the world-renowned Tattersall’s horse market, which remains the UK’s foremost horse auctioneer to this day. The same collection also features more contemporary pieces such as the blouson jacket, which, with its refined construction, has a sleek and modern appearance, accented with military piping as an understated reference to polo’s military heritage. Inspiring ambassadors are integral to brand promotion and elevation, and to ensure its connection to the sport remains deeply rooted, Hurlingham Polo has enlisted the support of some of the game’s biggest players as brand ambassadors. The premier global brand ambassador Fred Mannix Jr is the highest-rated Canadian polo player of all time and patron of the legendary Alegria side – current champions of the esteemed Molina Cup. ‘What really differentiates Hurlingham Polo is its heritage, tradition and authenticity,’ says Mannix. ‘Other polo brands simply don’t have this. Polo, its British home and its international appeal, will be highlighted in the brand’s imagery and messaging. The aim is to create an authentically global lifestyle brand.’ Mannix’s ambassadorial counterpart, Nina Clarkin, has an equally impressive CV; captain of the England women’s side, ranked
as the world’s No. 1 female polo player and a family tree that is absolutely steeped in polo history – her father and uncle were both winners of numerous high-goal tournaments in the 1970s and 80s. Clarkin speaks as highly of Hurlingham Polo as Mannix does, also commenting on the character and culture of the brand: ‘I was thrilled when Hurlingham Polo asked me to be a global brand ambassador. When I was shown the lookbook and talked through the idea and ethos behind the brand, I really bought into it all. I wear so much of the collection and love the clothes, so it’s incredibly easy for me to represent the brand.’ Supporting this dynamic duo is Charlie Hanbury, a patron of, and player for, the Gold Cup winners El Remanso. Hanbury has played for the England polo team and is no stranger to being written about in the press. He is married to Yoanna Otto, the daughter of Princess Anna Oettingen-Wallerstein, and the pair were named among the most glamorously dressed guests at Princess Eugenie’s wedding last year. Mannix, Clarkin and Hanbury recently featured together as part of Hurlingham Polo’s latest photoshoot to capture the personalities of each ambassador and to announce their connection to the brand. Leading England polo player Ollie Cudmore has also recently been
INSPIRING AMBASSADORS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR BRAND E L E VAT I O N , A N D T O E N S U R E ITS CONNECTION TO THE SPORT R E M A I N S D E E P LY R O O T E D
A Hurlingham Polo 1875 campaign poster in London’s Oxford Street
Above: Fred Mannix Jr playing in the Queen’s Cup. Left, from left: Tommy Severn, Hugo Taylor and Luke Wiles
© W W W. I M AG E S O F P O LO.C O M ; H U R L I N G H A M P O LO
welcomed on board as a brand ambassador, and has played for the national side on a number of occasions. Cudmore has won the Gold Cup British Open, the Westchester Cup and has played in a number of high-goal tournaments in Argentina and Australia. In addition to this growing group of established polo greats, Hurlingham Polo is also developing its line-up of the sport’s best up-and-coming talent to help develop and support the future stars of English polo. Hugo Taylor, Luke Wiles and Tommy Severn, three of the game’s most promising players, were previous Hurlingham Polo ‘Young Guns’ who have now been promoted to full, senior brand ambassadors. The next cohort of Young Guns is set to be announced shortly. As the end of 2019 approaches, the retailer is working hard behind the scenes preparing to roll out the brand internationally, with Hurlingham Polo now trademarked in more than 100 countries worldwide, and is in the process of appointing international partners to achieve this. It is also continuing to develop new lifestyle collections, including the launch of its Polo 150 collection created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of polo in England. The collection features products designed with a vintage aesthetic, using distressed versions of the classic Hurlingham Polo crest to emphasise the historic nature of this unique range. Whether worn by a professional polo player, or an aspiring fan, the Hurlingham Polo collection has something for everyone. hurlinghampolo1875.com
FRIENDLY FOES Joshua Casper recounts how the International Cup Challenge of 1921 marked the dawn of a golden age of sporting competition on one of polo’s historic grounds American poloist J Watson Webb II bowed to just one man in his life, according to his grandson Sam. The man was His Majesty King George V, and the year was 1921, when America’s new ‘big four’ sailed to London to play on the hallowed turf of the old Hurlingham Polo Grounds, bound and determined to win the first Westchester International Cup since the Great War. It had been seven years since the great Leslie Cheape and the Brits shocked the
Americans on their own soil and regained possession of the coveted Westchester Cup in 1914, ending the run of America’s famed ‘big four’. It was at Hurlingham in 1909 where the Americans had won their first International Cup, which began a threematch hold on the coveted trophy. The scourge of war had ended such frivolities. ‘The editor of the volume on polo in the British Sports and Sportsmen series describes it thus,’ noted author Nigel À Brassard. ‘By the close of 1918, emerged an
England where the grim reaper had gathered with no sparing hand from the very flower of sportsmen.’ In June 1914, the British were in the States playing polo, and in August, the Great War broke out. Captain Cheape fell on the battlefield in 1916, as did a generation of young men, and British polo was torn asunder by the horror of war. The HPA even delayed the International Challenge for a year in 1920 due to a lack of horses. All but one of the men who played in 1921 had seen action in the war.
The Westchester Cup matches returning to Britain marked the turning of a page and a harbinger of polo making a revival, in which pomp and circumstance were supplanting austerity and mourning. While on opposing sides, British and American polo players personified the ethos of gallant sportsmanship. And, though pride and competitive spirit were always at the fore, these men were gentleman in the truest sense of the word; virtue and victory held equal import. Before Britain’s erstwhile victory, in a gesture that epitomised the camaraderie that existed between the two sides, when the late Captain Cheape broke his nose, the 1914 match had been postponed at the Americans’ request. This kind of spirit would again be prominent in 1921. ‘The first and foremost point to be stored in our memories in connection with the 1914 International matches is the good sportsmanship of the Americans,’ wrote British umpire Keith Markham in Polo Monthly. ‘I trust they know by now how their action is appreciated and lauded by all the English.’
Now, the back of the greatest back of all time put America’s chances in peril. American team captain, and legendary back Devereux Milburn – the lone holdover from the famed ‘big four’ along with HP Whitney and the Waterbury brothers who won the last International at Hurlingham – had succumbed to a back injury. Arriving just days before the match, Milburn said he was ‘not confident but hopeful [he] could play’. The British four, recalling the grace of the Americans that typified polo of the era, offered to postpone the match, but it went on as scheduled. When the procession of ponies cantered onto the pitch, Milburn was in the saddle, joined by Webb, Louis Stoddard and wunderkind Tommy Hitchcock, determined to avenge their loss. Though resolute, ‘the sportsmanship shown by the Americans in readily assenting to [English WWI veteran Beauvoir De Lisle’s] selection as the arbiter of the contests has evoked the warmest approval of the British public,’ noted the Associated Press (AP). Again, good will and competitive spirit were in harmony.
Webb for one, a dogged competitor, took the match as the most important of his life. The Vanderbilt heir arrived three months early with his family in tow and rented an estate complete with lawn tennis and a polo field, just to acclimate him and his treasured ponies to the slower British fields. He practised daily. Britain still boasted three members from the 1914 team: 10-goaler and team captain Vivian Lockett, Frederick Barrett, who played at nine goals, and Henry Archdale Tomkinson, an eight-goaler. Lord Wodehouse, a 10-goal player who, along with Major Barrett and Lockett won the gold medal at the 1920 Olympics, replaced the fallen captain Cheape. The Hurlingham Club spared no expense to ensure the splendour of the affair. The Americans were made honorary members of Buck’s Club and treated to a luncheon with the King. Unfortunately, the hobbled Milburn could not attend. Hurlingham even built extra grandstands and played host to another luncheon for 1,200 and a tea for 5,000. Majesty and splendour were making a return via the Game of Kings.
THE WESTCHESTER CUP M AT C H E S R E T U R N I N G T O B R I TA I N M A R K E D T H E TURNING OF A PAGE AND A HARBINGER OF POLO M A K ING A RE V I VA L
Opposite: The trophy is posed with the Star-Spangled Banner. This page: A programme from the day in June 1921 at the Hurlingham Club, with hand-written scores
‘Three o’clock had struck,’ said The New York Times, ‘and the Guards Band moving as one man marched to the centre of the ground, and whirling round, faced the royal box. The shrill cheer of the children sounded from the road outside and the royal procession arrived… as the Royal Standard was hoisted and the bands played British and American national anthems while the spectators stood. Both teams were presented to the King and Queen.’ Hurlingham was awash with royalty and the social elite. The next two British monarchs were in the royal box, the Prince of Wales and Duke of York, joined by polo aficionado King Alfonso of Spain, Queen Mother Alexandra and dignitaries including Winston and Mrs Churchill. The American ambassador was their guest. It was a sight to behold. Two Union Jacks and two Star-Spangled Banners danced in the wind as the band, dressed to the nines in the pre-war uniforms, sent the crowd aroar. The first chukka had yet to commence, but triumph was in the air at Hurlingham. The match was one of the great internationals in history. The play was frantic – the Americans dictated the pace, using speed to outgun the Brits’ more genteel style of play. With Milburn far from peak form, Webb played the best game of his life. He was the best player on the field that day by all accounts, stymying the great tactician Lord Wodehouse at every turn and led the American attack with five goals. In a cartoon, the Daily Mail quipped: ‘Webb, the American giant who scored five goals and accidentally started the Cup rocking on our sideboard.’ This also marked the debut of the great Hitchcock, who was playing in his first international and had returned to Europe on the polo pitch after leaving school at 17 to fly with the famed Lafayette Escadrille during the war. Riding number two, he scored four times, marking the beginning of possibly the greatest run of high-goal polo ever. Said Pulitzer’s New York World European edition after the first match: ‘Eleven to Four. This tells the tale. Before one of the most distinguished galleries that ever witnessed a sporting event, the Americans made sporting history… before two kings and two
T H E 19 21 I N T E R N AT I O N A L C U P CHALLENGE USHERED IN A GOLDEN AGE
queens and about a dozen princes and princesses and all the world’s great horseman raised the Star-Spangled Banner in the greatest triumph polo has ever seen.’ The second match was closer, but Britain never held a lead. The States jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first chukka. Despite a valiant effort by the British to get within one goal, Watson, Webb and Hitchcock scored goals in the final chukka to put the match away. This time Stoddard, the future USPA president who was on the last winning team with Milburn in 1913, led the way with four goals while playing in his last international, with Webb adding three.
The Americans had captured the coveted Westchester Cup. The 1921 International Cup Challenge ushered in another golden age of polo on both sides of the pond, with matches routinely drawing upwards of 30,000 fans. Lord Wodehouse, who wrote the foreword to the Earl Mountbatten’s book, Introduction to Polo, was tasked with trying to form a foursome who could compete with the American four. Though the British were noble adversaries, America would hold onto the illustrious Westchester Trophy until the tradition of the International Cup Challenge fell victim to another world war
and the Hurlingham Polo Grounds entered the archives of history. The two teams would play only one more time at Hurlingham, in 1936. It would be over a half-century before Britons would know the glory of an International Cup victory against the States on British soil. ‘Winning the Cup in 1921 was the highlight of his career,’ said Webb’s grandson Sam. When Lt Col. Webb, who fought with the 311th field artillery at the Western Front, arrived in Britain, he made sure to make a detour to France, and show his 11-year-old son the newly discovered Trench of the Bayonets at Verdun, since memorialised as a monument to the sacrifice of the Great War. Though he was now at Buckingham Palace with his teammates, bowing before the King as the Westchester Cup Trophy was presented, the indomitable Webb wasn’t about to forget where he had been.
Above: The American ponies are paraded ahead of the match. Right: A selection of photographs taken in 1921 of the stable and players at Hurlingham Polo Club
Savouring the past Laying down a whiskey tradition is how the Earl of Tyrone is prolonging his family’s illustrious legacy at Curraghmore House
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urraghmore House near Portlaw, County Waterford in Ireland is a historic house and estate and the seat of the Marquess of Waterford. The estate was part of the grant of land made to Sir Roger le Puher by King Henry II in 1177 after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Wales, and the legacy has lasted 842 years to this day, where the ninth Marquess of Waterford, Henry de la Poer Beresford, aka ‘Tyronie’ to the polo fraternity, resides with his wife Amanda. To maintain a legacy, you must have a true passion for its survival, and this is something that the Beresfords have maintained within polo, with a fivegeneration dynasty of polo players, which started with Lord William Beresford VC. Lord William learned to play polo while stationed with the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers at Islandbridge Barracks, Dublin in 1870, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of valour during the battle of Ulundi in 1879. Sergeant Fitzmaurice of the 24th Regiment of Foot was trapped underneath his horse and even though the Zulus were
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L O R D P AT R I C K S AY S HIS PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT IS FOUNDING THE POLO PONY WELFARE COMMITTEE
Opposite: The grand Curraghmore House in Ireland. This page, from top: Lord Patrick Beresford, the 8th Marques of Waterford, Prince Philip and Paul Withers with the Gold Cup they won in 1969. Lord William Beresford’s act of bravery during the battle of Ulundi in 1879
Right: The All Together Now Festival is held on the Curraghmore Estate Portlaw County Waterford, Ireland. Far right: Richard, the Earl of Tyrone and Flora, Countess of Tyrone
advancing in great numbers, Lord William returned to save Sergeant Fitzmaurice by mounting him on his horse and riding him to safety – a display of bravery and great horsemanship. John Hubert de la Poer Beresford, the eighth Marquess of Waterford, and his brother Lord Patrick Beresford played for Windsor Park with the Duke of Edinburgh and Paul Withers. They were the last all-British team to win the British Open in 1969 until the quartet of Brits that made up El Remanso won it last year in 2018. No mean feat, not only for the game 50 years ago but also for today’s modern game. Lord Patrick Beresford was the first polo manager at Guards Polo Club. He organised the first chukkas on Smith’s Lawn in 1954, and this was the year he was first commissioned
into the Blues and Valerian Douro. His commanding officer assigned Lord Patrick the duty of organising polo on Smith’s Lawn in Windsor Great Park, and the reason for this was because Prince Philip, who had been mastering the art of polo while stationed in Malta under the tutelage of Lord Louis Mountbatten, wanted to shorten his travelling distance to Cowdray to be able to play. And why not play in his own back garden? Lord Cowdray very cleverly gave Prince Philip some horses and with the convenience of having polo so close to Windsor Castle, he grew his passion for playing the sport. The fact that the royal family were involved in playing polo was an incredible promotion in itself, and in hindsight, certainly heightened the exclusive image of the sport and its attraction to the world to want to be a part of it.
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W O O D A F F E C T S A B O U T 7 0 % O F A W H I S K E Y ’ S TA S T E , S O T HE BU Y ER IS H AV ING T HEIR OWN E X PRE S SION O N A R A R E S I N G L E- E S TAT E I R I S H W H I S K E Y
It very much laid the foundation for what polo is today, and the Beresfords were proud of their involvement. Lord Patrick also started the polo pony welfare committee, which was adopted by many polo organisations around the world to the benefit of every polo pony that has played the sport since, providing a safer and more professional set of standards for the care of polo ponies. Lord Patrick says this is his biggest achievement within polo. Caroline de la Poer Beresford, the eighth Marquess of Waterford’s wife, and mother to Henry, Charles, James and Alice also came from polo stock. Her father Captain Richard Wyndham-Quin of the 12th Royal Lancers was a part of the winning Irish side that claimed the last Patriotic Cup versus England played in Hurlingham in 1921. He was wounded in the First World War and awarded the Military Cross for his bravery. All three of John Hubert’s sons turned professional in their own right; Henry, the now 9th Marquess of Waterford, was a professional based in Cirencester for 25 years and his brother Charles represented
England on numerous occasions and reached a seven-goal handicap. Henry’s son Richard, the Earl of Tyrone, achieved a six-goal handicap and currently mainly plays the England circuit of mediumand high-goal polo. Charles’ son Tommy maintains a six-goal handicap and mostly plays the high-goal circuit around the globe. Tommy achieved greatness when winning the Queen’s Cup with Adolfo Cambiaso in 2017, and later went on to narrowly lose the US open with Adolfo the following year. Curraghmore Estate is made up of 2,500 acres of formal gardens, woodlands and grazing fields, making it the largest private demesne in Ireland and one of the most spectacular to visit. Times change and diversification is key to maintain the upkeep of estates that were designed to survive simply through farming and forestry hundreds of years ago. The Curraghmore Estate plays host to the hugely successful music festival named All Together Now, where in the first weekend of August every year thousands of festival goers arrive to enjoy one of the most unique
Left: A field of barley on the Curraghmore estate. Below: Curraghmore’s whiskey casks
CURRAGHMORE IS A RARE AND EXCLUSIVE S I N G L E- E S TAT E IRISH WHISKEY
surroundings in Ireland, with the sound of some of the best acts in the world from all genres reverberating around the magnificent landscape. Richard, the Earl of Tyrone, has set up Curraghmore Whiskey. The whiskey is single-estate, meaning only barley grown on the rich lands of Curraghmore is used in the distilling process. With the new-age whiskey drinker showing fascination for how, what and where the whiskey has come from, Richard wants to map out a clear route from start to finish down to the fine detail of explaining in which field the barley was grown at Curraghmore. A mid-17th-century carriage horse stables has been renovated into the Curraghmore Whiskey tasting room, and this is the real home of Curraghmore Whiskey, where members can visit to taste their own tailor-made single-estate pot-still Irish whiskey. Currently, Curraghmore Whiskey is producing very small batches every year, so it is an extremely rare and unique whiskey.
They have a third-party distilling partnership in the Great Northern Distillery managed by John Teeling, and bottled stock is not available, but will be released in the future. At present there is the opportunity to buy a cask of Curraghmore Whiskey that comes with a tailor-made aspect. Tailormade meaning the buyer can choose what type of cask they use to mature their whiskey in. Wood affects about 70% of a whiskey’s taste, so essentially the buyer is having their very own expression on a very rare singleestate Irish whiskey – a truly unique offering within the world of whiskey. On buying a cask, the buyer becomes a member of Curraghmore Whiskey, which not only offers a wonderful whiskey adventure from start to finish following the maturing of their Curraghmore Whiskey, but it gives members direct access to the estate. Managed by Richard, a member can access all the wonders the estate has to offer. And you can only imagine what 800 years of family history looks like. curraghmorewhiskey.com
Polo & Sporting Art Specialists Established in 1978
Antique George V English Sterling Silver Presentation Bowl, 1919 Antique George V Sterling Silver Presentation Cup, 1930 George III Presentation Trophy by Henry Chawncer, c. 1790
George IV Presentation Cup by Rebecca Emes & Edward Barnard, c. 1824
Antique Victorian Sterling Silver Presentation Champagne Cup, 1899
Antique Edwardian Sterling Silver Presentation Bowl, 1906
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ACTION THE LATEST POLO ACTION FROM AROUND THE WORLD
THE ART OF POLO
From left: James Beim and Alfonso Pieres in the Coronation Cup
THE ACTION 5 2 _ C O R O N AT I O N C U P Argentina’s trip across the pond paid off as they outplayed the English hosts for the sixth time 54_CARTIER QUEEN’S CUP Scone Polo celebrate a winning debut, taking on Park Place at Guards Polo Club 56_BRITISH OPEN GOLD CUP The Castagnola brothers gave an impressive masterclass in polo as Dubai were victorious
against VS King Power at Cowdray Park Polo Club 5 8 _ C O PA D E O R O MB Polo beat Brunei to secure one of the most prestigious titles of the season at Sotogrande’s Santa Maria Polo Club 6 0 _ S I LV E R C U P Tonkawa dominated the entire tournament to take the 119th USPA Silver Cup at Aspen Valley Polo Club
6 2 _ R OYA L W I N D S O R C U P Guards Polo Club played host to a competitive tournament with Lucas Monteverde Jr continuing his family’s impressive performance on the field for the UAE Polo Team 64_LADIES POLO La Ruleta demonstrated skill and experience leading the team to five victories in the 18-goal, while the 12-goal was just as competitive in an exciting ladies season
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THE CORONATION CUP Carolina Beresford describes how Argentina stormed to victory in one of the most prestigious events on the international polo circuit
The Coronation Cup trophy, first presented in 1911 by the Roehampton Club to honour the coronation of His Majesty King George V, is one of the most coveted in test match polo. Until 1939, the Cup was played by the winners of the London Open tournaments – Ranelagh, Hurlingham, Roehampton – and the Inter-Regimental. But in 1971 – following two post-war revivals, and a special edition to mark the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – the event was established as an annual international match.
Since then, England has challenged a guest country for the honour of securing the trophy every year. The most recent event was hosted by the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club for a second consecutive year, on a damp, overcast day in late July. The weather, always wise, foresaw the disappointment that lay ahead for England fans. The local team, even with their champions – 2019 Queen’s Cup winners James Beim and James Harper – were outplayed by a superbly skilled Argentine
team. Lead by 10-goal role model Facundo Pieres, Argentina also boasted a newly crowned champion: golden boy Bartolomé Castagnola. The 18 year old had just finished winning his first Gold Cup tournament, a competition he won exactly a week before the Coronation Cup clash with England. Playing alongside the Ellerstina back and the boy from Cañuelas were Juano Britos, who qualified for the semi-final of the Queen’s Cup this season, and Facundo’s younger cousin, Alfonso Pieres.
Now, on paper, two 27-goal teams rode onto the field that day. But it was plain for everyone to see that the Argentine team was infinitely superior. Of course, both Britos – who was named MVP of the match – and Castagnola are rated a goal higher in Argentina. However, given the recent determination and grit of the English – particularly the Harper-Beim duo, winners of the 2018 Gold Cup alongside England teammate Ollie Cudmore – the crowd wasn’t expecting the match to be so onesided, to say the least. The expectation and excitement that emanated from the stands and pony lines
as the first ball was thrown in evaporated quickly. The chukka ended 5-0 in favour of Argentina, and that was it for England. By the end of the second period, Jack Richardson had scored England’s only goal, and by half-time, they were trailing 3-9. The Argentines, secure in their dominance showed mercy on their opponents, and slowed their pace. Even so, the English could not stop them from scoring. The match finished 14-6 in favour of the visiting team. Despite the harsh result, Harper was positive after the match. ‘We want to be playing this stuff more often,’ he
confirmed. ‘It’s all a learning curve, and we still enjoyed it.’ The victory gave Argentina their sixth Coronation Cup title. Facundo Pieres has now won all three editions he has played (2009, 2014, and 2019). ‘It was kind of done in the first chukka, but we knew we had to keep our concentration up,’ shared Facundo. ‘We struggled a little with that in the third and fourth. We always kept a four- or five-goal difference, however, so that was good for us. It is very important for us as Argentines to win. We cannot afford to lose at polo, so it was great to finish as we did.’
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T H E E X P E C TAT I O N AND E XCITEMENT T H AT E M A N AT E D F R O M T H E S TA N D S AND PONY LINES AS THE FIRST BALL WAS THR OWN I N E V A P O R AT E D
Opposite page, from left: Jack Richardson on the ball with Barto Castagnola and Juan Britos. This page, from left: Facundo Pieres and Barto Castagnola in a victory embrace
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CARTIER QUEEN’S CUP Diana Butler reports on how Scone Polo won Cartier glory on debut Scone Polo made an impressive debut in the UK’s high-goal tournaments this season, reaching both the final of the Cartier Queen’s Cup and the semi-finals of the Gold Cup for the British Open Championship. Not a bad start for David Paradice, Nico Pieres, James Beim and James Harper. David Paradice’s team first showed their mettle in the Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club. They delivered a strong performance to win in front of a packed crowd, playing their spectator-pleasing, four-man polo to win the match 9-5. After such a game, it was not surprising that Australian Paradice received a huge cheer from an appreciative audience when
he stepped forward to receive the coveted cup from HM the Queen and Laurent Feniou, managing director of Cartier UK. Scone Polo’s opponents in this final, Andrey Borodin’s Park Place, were runners-up for the second successive year and, on paper, were favourites to lift the cup. So few were surprised when the game started in Park Place’s favour – they were 2-0 up after the first chukka and although Scone Polo got themselves on even terms in the second (3-3), Park Place were in the driving seat. Scone Polo’s story in this year’s Queen’s Cup competition has been impressive though and this final was no exception. Many people had written them off after they had lost their
first two league games. Things changed in their third match of the tournament – Scone Polo suddenly found a winning way of playing. Some great teamwork had put this team in the final and it won them the Cup too. Park Place struggled to counteract Scone Polo’s increasing confidence in the second half – failing to score at all in the fifth – and all of a sudden, with just seven minutes left to play, this was Scone Polo’s game. English international James Harper, who had a brilliant game at back for Scone Polo, was named the Cartier Most Valuable Player. He also received the Cartier Best Playing Pony Rug for Twitter – a Jim Gilmore-owned, seven-year-old chestnut mare. He went
PARK PL ACE STRUGGLED TO COUNTER AC T SCONE POLO’S CONFIDENCE IN THE SECOND H A L F – FA I L I N G T O S C O R E AT A L L I N T H E F I F T H
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Opposite: Juan Britos eyes the ball while being chased by James Harper. This page: The winners, from left: James Harper, David Paradice, Nicolas Pieres and James Beim
forward to collect the pony prize from HM the Queen accompanied by his grooms, Charlotte Waddy, Lucy Taylor and Becky Cronin. HM the Queen also presented the Cartier Trophy to Hugues Carmignac, son of Edouardo and patron of Talandracas. They beat Jean-Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco 11-8 in an earlier match on finals day. There was little air between these two teams at half-time – 7-6 to Talandracas. However, the momentum changed when La Bamba’s David Stirling retired after the third chukka – he had been injured in the second chukka and although he continued to play it was clear he was in some pain. Pablo Pieres subbed for him, but a change of personnel upsets a team’s dynamics and La Bamba failed to score in the next two chukkas. Talandracas, meanwhile, fired through four more goals. La Bamba got back into the game in the sixth, but it was too late and Talandracas won the sub final by three goals.
The winning team’s Alejandro Muzzio was later named The Most Valuable Player, receiving his prize from HM the Queen. Twelve teams entered this year’s competition, with the majority of quartets featuring new line-ups from last year. Adolfo Cambiaso, the most successful player in the history of the Queen’s Cup – which celebrates its 60th birthday next season – might have been absent this year but his nephews, Bartolomé and Camilo Castagnola made the headlines instead, thanks to their confident and mature play for Rashid Albwardy’s Dubai team. They are definitely a duo to watch. Top Srivaddhanaprabha’s VS King Power, making a welcome return to the Cartier Queen’s Cup, reached the semi-finals this time around, knocking Dubai out of the tournament in the quarters . King Power’s young star, Juan Martin Zubia, impressed in that game and is another on the ones to watch list. In fact, the 2019 Cartier Queen’s
Cup introduced us to many talented young players who will surely add their names to this trophy in the future. Defending champions La Indiana had a nightmare start to their 2019 high-goal campaign as their patron, Michael Bickford, broke his arm in the warm-up tournament. His team reached the semi-finals though and will no doubt deliver another strong campaign again next year. UAE Polo were also without their patron, HH Sheikha Maitha bint al Maktoum, due to injury, but another rising star, Lucas Monteverde Junior, proved he was more than capable of patroning this team. They lost out in a stand-out quarter-final match, in extra time, to Park Place on the stunning Castle Ground at Flemish Farm. In fact, this game was a great example of the outstanding quality and competitiveness of the entire 2019 tournament, with teams evenly balanced throughout the three weeks of this competition.
Juan Zubia on the near side, followed by Barto Castagnola and Polito Pieres
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BRITISH OPEN GOLD CUP
Liz Higgins reports on a memorable victory for Dubai in the 2019 King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship
The final of the King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship at Cowdray Park boasts the largest audience of any polo event in Europe and is a gala day for the sport – attracting aficionados and firsttimers alike. This year Nic Fiddian-Green’s stunning sculpture of a horse’s head formed the centrepiece of the revamped retail village and bar areas, dominated by the Nyetimber hospitality bus. A variety of singers entertained from the bandstand throughout the day, a traditional funfair with helter skelter and gallopers drew the youngsters, and when the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team dropped onto the pitch, 12,000 spectators knew the match would soon begin. The four-week-long King Power Gold Cup opened on 25 June with 10 teams in contention. Cowdray Park has cleverly constructed the tournament to include 10 trophy presentations. The Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy opened the 2019 Championship and exciting, close-fought matches were seen throughout including the Midhurst Town Cup, Smith-Ryland and Cooch Behar Cups, the Argentine and Hungarian Ambassador’s Cups and, new for 2019, the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Trophy, played in memory of the King Power chairman
who tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club in October 2018. Two superb semi-finals played for the Ellerston and Tramontana Cups took ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha’s VS King Power team and Ali Albwardy’s Dubai to the final. With VS added to the King Power team name in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, his son ‘Top’ played at number 1, Polito Pieres taking the number-2 slot, Marcos di Paola at 3 and Juan Martin Zubia at Back. Dubai fielded 16-year-old Camilo Castagnola at 1, Rashid Albwardy, son of patron Ali Albwardy, at 2, Bartolomé Castagnola at 3 and Ignacio du Plessis at Back. Dubai’s Camilo Castagnola secured the opening goal of the match and by the end of the third chukka the score stood at 6-4 in Dubai’s favour. Fortunes changed after half time, a fantastic piece of play between Pieres and Zubia enabling Zubia to narrow the gap to 6-5, ‘Top’ then levelling the score at 6-6. Another terrific goal from ‘Top’ and VS King Power were ahead. Pieres extended the lead to 8-6 and by the time the fifth chukka ended the score was 11-8 in VS King Power’s favour. Brilliant play by the two young Castagnola brothers in the sixth chukka saw Dubai pull up to 11-11. Excitement rose in the crowd as
Pieres took VS King Power back into the lead, but Barto scored as the chukka ended making it 12 goals apiece. The match was forced into an extra chukka and Zubia raced to Dubai’s end only to send the ball agonisingly wide. In came the ball from the back line and off raced Barto, the intuitive combination with his brother enabling Camilo to dive forward and put the ball between the posts. Dubai had won the King Power Gold Cup on a score of 13-12. Jon Rudkin, director of football for Leicester City FC, presented individual prizes to all players, the tournament umpires and commentators before handing the coveted Gold Cup to Rashid Albwardy. The Most Valuable Player of the match award went deservedly to Polito Pieres of VS King Power. Open Chacota, owned and played by ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha, was voted Best Playing Patron’s Pony, and Camilo Castagnola’s fantastic Van Rebelde, was awarded Best Playing Pony of the match. Not only had the crowd enjoyed a thrilling match, but there was still shopping to be done and friends to catch up with. Many spectators lingered until late in the evening to enjoy the music and a last glass of Nyetimber English sparkling wine while watching the sun sink over the Cowdray Ruins. Another brilliant Gold Cup was sadly over.
ACTION COPA DE ORO, SANTA MARIA POLO CLUB, SOTOGRANDE, SPAIN, AUGUST 2019
COPA DE ORO MB Polo stormed to victory to secure the trophy in one of the European season’s most prestigious titles, writes Carolina Beresford
Sotogrande is undoubtedly one of the most attractive polo destinations in the world. The 2,500-hectare luxury resort, located in the municipality of San Roque in the Spanish province of Cádiz, reaches its peak in August, when several of the most impressive polo professionals congregate to play the high- goal season. Charmed with the promise of world-class polo fields, golden beaches, internationally renowned golf courses and a non-stop social scene, polo fans and players alike eagerly await the start of the season at Santa María Polo Club. The 2019 Torneo Internacional de Verano
was one of the most competitive in recent years. The lack of quantity in terms of competing high-goal teams was compensated for by the inherent quality of the recognised organisations fighting for the titles: defending Gold Cup champions La Indiana, Dos Lunas, Bardon, Brunei, and MB Polo. Even so, Brunei’s influence was felt in every facet of the season, with the country’s royal family represented in both the medium and high goal: Princess Azemah headed her organisation in the 14-goal, while in the 20-goal Prince Bahar Jefri commanded Brunei and Prince Mateen fronted MB Polo.
And they all reigned supreme, claiming three of the most important titles of the European season. Princess Azemah’s Brunei won the medium-goal Gold Cup, Prince Bahar Jefri’s team secured the high-goal Silver Cup and MB Polo took the most prestigious title of them all: the high-goal Gold Cup. It was not all plain sailing for Prince Mateen’s organisation, however. Pablo Mac Donough, the team’s leading professional, suffered a fall in the second league game of the Silver Cup and fractured two ribs, putting him out for the rest of the season. But MB’s ambitions were
not marred, and Polito Pieres, playing off 10-goals, was called in to replace the La Dolfina champion. Playing alongside his cousin, 19-year-old Tomás Panelo, and 23-year-old Tommy Beresford, Pieres and Prince Mateen qualified for the high-goal Silver Cup final, where they faced Brunei. Bahar’s teammates, generously handicapped as they were, boasted a superb mix of experience and youth, with 10-goaler Juan Martín Nero setting the tone, Santi Stirling working hard in midfield, and 16-year-old wonder boy Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola executing every play. They beat MB Polo by one in the last seconds
of the final to win the second high-goal trophy of the season. Brunei, undefeated so far in the competition, were favourite to win the Gold Cup, and as the tournament progressed, it seemed that they would go all the way. The two Brunei-based organisations met once again in the final, and that’s when the dance began. Prince Bahar Jefri scored the first goal, but MB replied quickly, as an approach shot by Pieres set Panelo up for goal. While Panelo has played regularly in the States and in Dubai, this was his first high-goal season in Sotogrande. His excellent riding skills and ability to be in the right
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place at the right time put MB Polo on the scoreboard, and while Brunei managed to secure a two-goal advantage in the third, MB kept their cool and mounted their attack. With Pablo Mac Donough in the wings offering strategies and suggestions, MB Polo started the fourth fully focused. Castagnola still posed a threat in attack, but Panelo’s offensive talent came through and MB took control of the game. Beresford scored a crucial goal in the sixth to take his team up by two (8-6), and Polito sealed the deal with his only conversion of the match. The bell rang and golden glory rained over MB Polo, giving all players their first high-goal Gold Cup title.
Opposite page: Tommy Beresford dribbles the ball in front of Jetta Castagnola. This page, from left: Tomás Panelo, Prince Mateen, Polito Pieres and Tommy Beresford
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S I LV E R C U P Sharon Robb reports on how Aspen Valley Polo Club made history throughout the summer polo season in Colorado
Five years after Aspen Valley Polo Club was founded by Marc and Melissa Ganzi, the club brought 20-goal polo to Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Circuit for the first time and instantly became the summer destination for polo. Six 20-goal tournaments were held throughout the summer including the prestigious 119th USPA Silver Cup, USPA North American Cup and Triple Crown of Polo, all held mostly at the club’s two newest fields, McClure River Ranch. The 20-goal polo and world-class fields and facilities attracted some of the world’s top players including 10-goalers Sapo Caset
and Hilario Ulloa, Sebastian and Tincho Merlos, Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan, the highest rated player in the United States at eight goals. ‘Word has gotten out inside the pro community that now there are really good fields here and there is really competitive polo,’ Marc Ganzi said. ‘The highest polo now played in the United States is in Aspen in the summer. There is not a higher level of polo. I think we are sort of writing our own history here in the Aspen valley.’ Among the highlights of the season was the 119th USPA Silver Cup captured by
Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, A, Juan Martin Obregon, 5, Sapo Caset, 10, Mason Wroe, 4). In the final, Tonkawa led Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Lucas Lalor, 5, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8) from start-to-finish for an impressive 15-10 victory. Tonkawa finished the six-team tournament undefeated at 5-0. Caset, who dominated the game, was the unanimous choice for Most Valuable Player. Caset scored a game-high nine goals and was instrumental in his team’s successful run. In one of the most exciting games in USPA North American Cup history, La Karina
ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB
T H E H I G H E S T P O L O N O W P L AY E D I N T H E U N I T E D S TAT E S I S I N A S P E N I N T H E SUMMER. WE ARE WRITING OUR OWN HIS T ORY HERE IN T HE A SPEN VA LLE Y won its 20-goal tournament debut. The Aspen-based La Karina (Brian Boyd, 0, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Sebastian Merlos, 8, Kris Kampsen, 6) defeated McClure River Ranch (Hilario Figueras, 3, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Stewart Armstrong, 3) with a stunning 15-12 victory in front of a worldwide USPA Polo Network audience. Former 10-goaler Sebastian Merlos was named MVP. ‘The polo gods were with us,’ said Boyd, the only amateur player in the championship final competing in his first 20-goal tournament. ‘Nobody gave anybody an inch. It was a war out there.’
The World Polo League Triple Crown of Polo season finale also lived up to high expectations. Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Mariano Gracida, 4, Nic Roldan, 8, Juancito Bollini, 4) led Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, A, Salvador Ulloa, 7, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8, Juan Bollini, 5) from start-to-finish for a thrilling 12-11 victory. Roldan was MVP. Overall, the club hosted a record 15 tournaments, both grass and arena, at the medium- and high-goal level and had a record turnout of novice players at The Polo School under the direction of former 8-goaler Juan Bollini. ‘What Aspen Valley Polo Club is
Opposite: The trophy table for the Silver Cup. This page, from left: The winners of the Silver Cup, Mason Wroe, Juan Martin Obregon, Sapo Caset and Jeff Hildebrand
doing for polo and for Aspen, it’s put us on the map,’ Roldan said. ‘The fact we are able to share polo here in Aspen is incredible. Marc and Melissa and a lot of the club members and club owners are all really passionate about the sport. They’ve built these new fields and barns and brought a lot of attention and a lot sponsorship.’ In addition to the polo, the club made more history raising a record $600,000 at its annual charity event, Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar fundraiser, held during the Silver Cup final and benefitting the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.
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ROYAL WINDSOR CUP Rising star Lucas Monteverde Jr delivered an impressive Royal Windsor glory, reports Diana Butler
The talented young player Lucas Monteverde Jr played with a maturity that belied his 13 years to deliver the Out-Sourcing! Inc. Royal Windsor Cup to his UAE Polo Team patron HH Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. His poise and courage, reminiscent of his father and namesake, impressed everyone watching the final of the UK’s leading 15-goal tournament at Guards Polo Club. This included the Most Valuable Player judges, as Monteverde Jr later received this coveted prize from HM the Queen, who was
accompanied by Haruhiko Doi and David Matsumoto of the sponsors. This win was particularly important for Monteverde Jr’s patron, HH Sheikha Maitha, as she was making a welcome return to polo after injury left her sidelined since the start of the UK season. In addition, UAE Polo added their name to the Out-Sourcing! Inc. Royal Windsor Cup for the first time with this 10-7 win over Alan Fall’s Mad Dogs. That said, Fall’s team, who were also looking to win this trophy for the first time, had kept themselves in contention until the
final chukka, producing some fast flowing polo on The Queen’s Ground. UAE Polo pulled away in the fifth and final chukka to win this match. Mad Dogs’ James Harper, who had received the Best Playing Pony prize in the previous week’s Cartier Queen’s Cup final, did the double here, stepping forward with his grooms, Charlotte Waddy, Lucy Taylor and Ellie O’Malley to collect the prizes for the gelding Skiff, an Australian-bred 11-year-old gelding. In total, 21 teams had entered this tournament and so the sub final, for the
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Opposite: MVP Lucas Monteverde Jr with a perfect neck shot as Will Emerson looks on. This page, from left: David Matsumoto, Lucas Monteverde Jr and Her Majesty
Mountbatten Cup, was equally hard fought. Andras Tombor’s Bardon retained the Cup, defeating Tunde Karim’s Shoreline 8-5 in the morning match. Alexandra Mountbatten was joined by film and TV star Gillian Anderson and the sponsor’s Kazuhiko Suzuki to present the prizes. This is Out-Sourcing! Inc.’s second year of sponsorship, bringing a hint of Japan to Guards Polo Club, and highlighting the Royal Windsor Cup in the UK calendar. In addition, Out-Sourcing! Inc. expanded its support this year by sponsoring a team. The OS Challengers, featuring Nina Clarkin, James Emlyn, Mark Tomlinson and Nico Antinori, played three 15-goal tournaments, including the Royal Windsor Cup. Incredibly they reached the final of two of them – the La Martina Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Centenary Trophy and the Coworth Park Challenge – and the semi-finals of the Out-Sourcing! Inc. Royal Windsor Cup.
The annual carriage driving parade usually concludes this tournament, but this year, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of polo in the UK, an additional match was scheduled. This featured a visiting PoloAfrica team, highlighting the work of the South African charity, which uses polo as a tool to help disadvantaged adults and children. Playing for the Churchill Cup, the visiting team battled for all four chukkas, but lost 4-3 to a Spillers Polo150 team, made up of military polo players. Two other charities that use polo and horses to help disadvantaged children – the Power of Polo and Ebony Horse Club, of Brixton – had an invaluable opportunity to showcase their work with some matches on semi-finals day. An appreciated addition to the tournament’s agenda, which firmly highlights David Matsumoto’s philanthropic focus for both the game and the wider polo community worldwide.
GUTTER CREDIT IN HERE
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LADIES POLO Alice Gipps gives an overview of the exciting 2019 Ladies polo season in the UK
Ladies polo in the UK has been powering forward this season with great support from clubs around the country. The women’s 12- and 18-goal kicked off at Black Bears in June and ran through to the end of August, finishing with Guards. Alicia Woods’ La Ruleta team, led by Nina Clarkin, Lucy Coddington and American Olivia Uechtritz, dominated the 18-goal, starting off their winning streak of five major trophies by beating Celine Lawrence’s Tarantula at Black Bears. They beat
Cirencester and Beaufort and Tarantula once more before coming up against the sponsored team Inspire4design at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. Seven strong teams entered the Berkshire Ladies Festival 18-goal. Inspire4design with Alice Gipps, Kirsty Otamendi, Charlotte Sweeney and Bryony Taylor did well to reach the finals as a newly formed team, however, La Ruleta’s experience together was evident, and they took home yet another trophy.
Lastly at Guards, among 10 teams, they came up against H. H. Sheikha Maitha’s UAE team in the final with Hazel Jackson-Gaona, Milly Hine and Catalina Lavinia. La Ruleta had lost to UAE by a goal in an earlier league game, but they came back fighting in the final and were phenomenal. Clarkin kept the team together; Lucy did a fantastic job of taking out men and making clever plays; Olivia grafted on the men and can be credited for some super plays; and Alicia once again scored impressive goals.
THE ART OF POLO; ALICE GIPPS
Their determined team effort gave them a 7.5 - 6 win, which also secured them the Victor Ludorum series, having won four of the five tournaments. Clarkin’s New Zealand mare Heidi won the BPP award. Having reached four finals, Tarantula had a super run in the 18-goal. Heloise WilsonSmith who had a storming season off five goals played with Rosie Ross, Jess Andrews and Celine Lawrence, and although beaten by La Ruleta three times, they won against Cowdray Vikings at Knepp Castle Polo Club. The UAE ladies team made their first visit of the season to Cowdray, where they also came up against Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings in the final. Lila, with Hannah Parry-Jones, Lottie Lamacraft and Sarah Wiseman, had knocked La Ruleta out of the semi finals, so had a good chance against UAE and started well but UAE dominated after the first two chukkas, winning 6-1. The 12-goal level was no less competitive, particularly at Cowdray. Polo
Quarterly started off by winning at Black Bears against the home-based team Carlton House with Rebecca and Alice Servaes. Polo Quarterly were also finalists at Knepp Castle, however they came up against Sophie Kenna’s Coombe Place team, who started on her winning run with Sammy Luff, Dayna Waechter and Lottie Lamacraft. They also went on to win at Cirencester against XC Medical and at Cowdray again against Carlton House. X Country Medics took home the 12-goal trophy against Peregrina at Beaufort. The two levels worked well this season but with more women participating and climbing up the handicap ranks there are plans to up the game and come on a par with the mixed high goal for a couple of tournaments. The idea being that if it is well planned this will hopefully encourage more patrons and players from abroad as well as British sponsors to participate. The Guards 22-goal exhibition in August saw two strong sides play on the Queen’s
Ground. Alice Servaes, Lottie Lamacraft, Nina Clarkin and Siri Evjemo-Nysveen played against H.H. Sheikha Maitha, Milly Hine, Hazel Jackson-Gaona and Rosana Turk. With those, such as Clarkin, who have the greatest influence at the top of the game focused on the future of women’s polo, it will continue to grow and reach its full potential. Argentina is a good example and has shown its women players how seriously it takes their participation by including the women’s Argentine Open on the main finals day at Palermo. It’s hoped that the expansion of women’s polo in the British polo season will be welcomed with just as much enthusiasm for the 2020 season. The Cotswold International hosted the England v Argentina Women’s International at Cirencester in June. Frasers England came out winners against a formidable Argentine side. The South Americans have a lot of talented young women coming up the ranks who are getting better all the time.
H O P E F U L LY T H E E X P A N S I O N O F WOMEN’S POLO WILL BE WELCOMED WITH ENTHUSIASM IN 2020
Opposite: Lia Salvo (in blue) and Alice Servaes (in red) at the Cotswold International. Above, from left: La Ruleta: Olivia Uechtritz, Alicia Woods, Lucy Coddington and Nina Clarkin. Right: Alice Gipps (in purple) with Nina Clarkin (left) and Alicia Woods
POLO ON THE MALL Jemima Wilson explores the origins of one of US polo’s greatest traditions – polo on the DC National Mall
As the First World War was drawing to a close in 1918, the US Army was keen to maintain morale within its ranks. For them ‘physical fitness, teamwork and combativeness’ was key – and polo was a great way to enhance these attributes. Over time, the military launched a remount programme and built indoor riding armouries throughout the country. Thanks to the support from the military, the profile of the game was boosted on a national level. One of the largest remount stations built was in Front Royal in Virginia, where a large number of US cavalry officers from the War Department were based. The game became a useful tool for the training and development
of officers. Those who remained calm and strategic under pressure on the polo field quickly moved up the ranks, while others would enhance their skills through the game. By 1920, army officers from Fort Myer were playing polo in the Washington DC National Mall; a place that has since played host to the International Polo Cup. The following year, the War Department held the first Annual Military Polo Ball in Washington, combining sport, military and society. Guests President Warren G Harding and his wife Florence were the first tenants of the White House to attend a polo game on the National Mall, and the president became the first patron of the polo match
on the DC National Mall, a tradition that has continued with every US president since. That match led to the first International Polo Match to take place on US soil, which saw the War Department take to the field against Cuba. Military polo continued to grow in the US and abroad. The matches on the National Mall championed the military tradition of sportsmanship while boosting patriotic support of the game. This post-war spirit helped to maintain relations between the US and other countries, and today – almost 100 years since that first foray into polo on the Mall – the International Polo tour remains as vital to the spirit of the game as ever.
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From left: Doug Vere Nicoll. Roger Rinehart, Raymond Vere Nicoll, Owen Rinehart at The Mall in 1972
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