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Contents

POLO TIMES

Publisher Margie Brett margie@polotimes.co.uk Editor Yolanda Carslaw yolanda@polotimes.co.uk Deputy Editor James Mullan jamesmullan@polotimes.co.uk Art Editor James Wildman james@polotimes.co.uk Advertising Karen Saunders karen@polotimes.co.uk Subscriptions Becky Ford becky@polotimes.co.uk Accounts Debbie Mason accounts@polotimes.co.uk

Contributors Diana Butler, Arthur Douglas-Nugent, Mark Emerson, John Horswell, Lorna Jowett, Lucy Northmore, Tony Ramirez, Andrew Seavill, Herbert Spencer, Alex Webbe Front cover American flag by Jon Helgason Designed and typeset by Wildman Design www.wildmandesign.co.uk Printed by Stones – Banbury, Oxfordshire Mailers Jordan & Co – Witney, Oxfordshire Subscription per annum UK £55 Europe & Ireland £65 Rest of the World £75 email: admin@polotimes.co.uk or subscribe online at www.polotimes.co.uk

Polo Times

22 & 70 Island drama on Barbados News 4 8

All the latest news HPA news

Comment 12 13 14 16 19 20

Obituary: Jim Edwards Herbert Spencer’s global view Interview: Kenney Jones Arthur Douglas-Nugent’s umpire’s corner John Horswell’s players’ forum Your views: letters to the editor

Reports 22 28 30 32 36 38

40 Euro polo special

Veuve Clicquot Barbados Open Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge Sotogrande: Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial SUPA National Schools Arena Championships Around the world Around the clubs

Features 40 44

European special: Euope’s polo hotspots Embryo transfer in the UK

The knowledge

44 & 48 Understanding embryo transfer

48 51 52 55 56 61 64 66

Duty vet with Mark Emerson: embryo transfer Horsemanship with Andrew Seavill Pony power: BPP in the Barbados Open Feeding with Lorna Jowett: electrolytes Travel: London’s Westbury Hotel Property: summer lodging for overseas pros Gear: boots and bandages What’s on in April – tournament information

Polo Times Limited holds the copyright & database right to the information it publishes in Polo Times and on the Polo Times website. No content may be reproduced or distributed without the consent of the Editor. ‘Polo Times’ is the trade mark of Polo Times Limited.

68 70 72 75

Out and about: Australia vs England in NSW Out and about: Barbados Open social photos Out and about: Arena polo at the LG Arena Exclusive reader offer for all PT subscribers

56

ISSN 1461-4685

82

A week in the life of: Derreck Bratley

Travel – London

East End Farm, North Leigh Oxfordshire OX29 6PX Tel: 01993 886 885 Fax: 01993 882 660 email: admin@polotimes.co.uk www.polotimes.co.uk

© Polo Times Limited 2009 and Database Right 2009

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from the Editor The devastation when a player of any level and in any situation loses a pony is bad enough: few of us can imagine how horrendous it is for the Lechuza players to lose up to a dozen each in one fell swoop. And this is before one even starts taking into account the monumental task of rebuilding a string that has been carefully nurtured over many years and the cost it will entail. The scenario is made worse by the fact that the nature of the game – the deciding round of the US Open – meant Lechuza would have brought most of their best horses. The list of the dead makes for heartbreaking reading; the names alone can almost make you cry, and looking at it reminds me of the sole commentary at the Argentine Open, when a solemn and mellifluous voice reels off the pony list at the start of each chukka. Victor Vargas’s Xuxa, a 13-year-old chestnut mare; Abrigadita, also 13; Teletubi, an eightyear-old bay; Lunita, a nine-year-old chestnut. The 12 ponies Vargas lost were bred by the likes of the Merloses and the Piereses. The youngest was Shakira, a grey, just six and bred by Alfonso Pieres. Nicolas Espain had bred the two nineyear-olds he lost, while Sapo Caset lost two seven-year-olds, Holandesa and Can Can. Five of Juan Martin Nero’s ponies died. Ranging in age from six to nine, they were named Princesa, Vasuda, MiniBank, Pelusa and – the only gelding among the 21 dead – Guaruncho. According to Argentine newspaper reports, Nero had recently bought the eight-year-old chestnut Thoroughbred MiniBank, who three weeks before the disaster won best playing pony in the final of the USPA Gold Cup, for US$200,000. I know Polo Times readers will be thinking of Lechuza and their ponies, and many are also considering what the implications are for our sport – whatever the final outcome of this horrific affair, and whoever is held accountable for the deaths. Read more in Herbert Spencer’s article on page seven about how far polo lags behind other horse sports – the HPA is the only association of the “big three” that has a policy on permitted substances and tests accordingly. The consensus among insiders is that this is an opportunity for polo to wise up, worldwide.

Yolanda Carslaw

4 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Lechuza ponies a year ago, walking out before the quarter-final of the US Open. All four Lechuza players lost ponies

How the tragedy unfolded in Florida AFTER DAYS OF SPECULATION following the deaths of 21 ponies belonging to the Lechuza Caracas team on 19 April, the circumstances surrounding the tragedy were becoming clearer. On 23 April a Florida pharmacy issued a statement saying the firm had incorrectly prepared a supplement that was given to the Lechuza team’s ponies. Lechuza also issued a statement, acknowledging that a Florida vet had written a prescription for the pharmacy to create a compound similar to Biodyl, a French-made vitamin and mineral supplement (see page seven). The manufactured version, which is in common use in Argentina and other countries where it is licensed, is not licensed in the US. It remained unclear as to whether anyone had broken the law. Jennifer Beckett of Franck’s Pharmacy in Ocala, northern Florida, said in the statement to Associated Press that the business conducted an internal investigation when the tragedy came to

light and found that “the strength of an ingredient in the medication was incorrect.” The statement did not say what the ingredient was. Initial findings by the state agriculture department revealed the horses suffered internal bleeding. It was conducting further tests for chemicals, and hoped to have some results the day Polo Times went to press. All four members of Lechuza lost horses in the tragedy – Vargas lost 12, Juan Martin Nero five, and Sapo Caset and Nicolas Espain two each. Collectively they were thought to be worth well over £1m; their ages ranged from six to 13. A memorial procession was held after the US Open semi-finals, in which Audi and Las Monjitas advanced to the final. The Palm Beach Pipes and Drums led a solemn crowd to the area where the horses had died adjacent to the field. Following a rendition of Amazing Grace, the crowd gathered carnations and silently placed them in the lake.


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Photograph by Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post / ZUMA

in the tragedy last month at Wellington, Palm Beach

Palm Beach-based polo reporter Alex Webbe, who witnessed the horror first-hand, describes polo’s darkest day unday 19 April was a warm, sunny Florida day. We had just finished watching the noon match. Las Monjitas beat previously unbeaten White Birch. Nacho Figueras was hoping against hope that White Birch would win. A White Birch loss would keep the dreams of winless Black Watch alive in the US Open. A three-goal win over Lechuza in the 3pm contest would vault them into the semi-finals. “I think this is the first time I’ve ever cheered for White Birch to win,” said Black Watch’s Neil Hirsch, with a wry smile. But White Birch would lose, and the only thing Black Watch could do would be to become the spoiler. By beating Lechuza, they would knock them out of the Open. There was a strong breeze in the air as spectators walked from the Las Monjitas game to the stadium. Tailgaters were setting up their

S

Newspapers across the spectrum covered the tragedy, from the Daily Mirror (left) to the Daily Telegraph (right)

afternoon fare, wine was being poured, brie was being cut, Champagne was being iced. And the horse trailers began to arrive. It was just after two o’clock. Moments later we heard the announcement. “The game is going to be delayed 30 minutes,” said announcer Tony Coppola,” the horses are experiencing an allergic reaction.” That’s when we started thinking something was wrong. I was speaking with David Andrews, former polo announcer for Palm Beach Polo and Country Club for a great many years. “Something isn’t right,” I said. He agreed. I looked across the green expanse of the number one field and saw the tarps that were used to shield the rare injured horse or player. I set off across the field and in the middle I met polo historian Horace Laffaye, also on his way across the field. “This isn’t right,” I said. “No, it isn’t,” he replied as our pace quickened. The closer we got, the clearer the scene became. Horses were down on the ground. Most shielded by blue tarps, but visible just the same. Those that weren’t on the ground were walking on unsteady legs. One veterinarian after another arrived, going straight to work. Grooms from all X

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News X teams were assisting with IVs, carrying bags of ice

Nothing could stop this plague that took one horse after another

Vets treat a stricken pony. According to statements, all those given the supplement collapsed and died

considered; another team; an angry wife or business associate. None made any sense. Former seven-goaler Felix Crespo, referred to in the press as the “unlicensed” Argentine vet, was one of the first to be thrown under the metaphorical bus, but word also leaked that Crespo, after working

desperately to save the horses, accompanied a group to the state facility in Kissimmee for testing, taking samples of the injected materials to hand over to the authorities for testing. And all the while, calls for a drug testing policy for US polo echoed across the country. F

Photograph by David Lominska

eyes, tears running down his cheeks. Men, women and children sobbed at the sight before them, and still there was nothing that could be done. “We tried to lower their heart rates,” said Palm Beach Equine Clinic’s Paul Wollenman. “We iced them to lower their temperatures, but they just kept going.” Wollenman wasn’t sure of the body count, but initial figures spoke of seven. It grew to 14 and then 21, with rampant speculation putting it higher. The horses were shipped immediately to a State-operated laboratory where necropsies were performed to determine the cause of the deaths. There followed a great deal of speculation – and escalating, increasingly far-fetched press tales. I got calls from as far away as Hong Kong asking about the horses and speculating on the cause. Friends of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez were

Photograph by Brandon Kruse / The Palm Beach Post / ZUMA

to cool off the horses. Polo photographers put down their equipment in an effort to assist these beautiful, struggling animals as they fought for life, but nothing could stop this unknown plague that took one horse after another. More and more tarps appeared as the body count escalated. More and more volunteers helped remove the bodies of the dead, trying to assist the living, but they continued to expire with nearly every veterinarian in Wellington now on the grounds. Horace and I looked on, restrained from getting closer by the growing security and police that set up a perimeter. To my left I saw my friend Tom Wicky silently watching, sunglasses shielding his

Happier times: the Lechuza team and entourage weeks before the disaster at the same venue, after beating Audi by a goal in the final of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup

6 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk


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How polo’s drugs policy lags behind other sports he sudden death of more than a score of ponies from the same yard, whatever the cause, has highlighted the fact that polo lags behind other equine sports in the control of substances that are allowed to be given to horses to make them fit for competition, writes Herbert Spencer. A preliminary survey of the world’s largest poloplaying nations indicates that those playing under the rules of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) follow its lead in substances regulation and drug testing, as does the Federation of International Polo (FIP) for its tournaments. But two of the “big three” countries –

Photograph by The Palm Beach Post / ZUMA

T

groups of substances that are prohibited. National federations follow this by listing banned drugs by name: there are, for example, well over 200 on the prohibited list of the US Equestrian Federation, including a number of homeopathic remedies. The FEI goes well beyond the banning of performance enhancing drugs, taking the view that even a mild pain reliever can mask a more serious problem, making it possible to push a horse too far accidentally and seriously injure it. David Woodd, chief executive of the HPA, David Morley, chairman of polo pony welfare and vet NHH Knapp, another committee member, met shortly after

Lechuza Caracas in the US and UK VICTOR VARGAS’S LECHUZA team has taken part in the US Open since 1999 and in the UK for around six years. At the time of writing Lechuza was a confirmed entry in the Queen’s Cup at Guards, due to start this month, with a team fielding Vargas, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Guillermo Caset and Juan Carlos Harriet. However, Miguel Novillo Astrada had recently received a two-month ban in Argentina after an altercation with Hilario Ulloa – a ban which is also effective in the UK. At the time of the tragedy the team had enjoyed a successful US season. In the 26-goal they reached the finals of the CV Whitney Cup, losing by a goal to Audi. They went on to beat Audi in the finals of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup, which fielded the same eight contenders as the US Open. In the UK Lechuza won the Cowdray Park Gold Cup in 2007 with Sebastian and Pite Merlos (who was replaced by their brother Agustin during the final after Pite was injured) and British player Henry Fisher. They beat Loro Piana, 11-10. At the time they cited one of the reasons for their success at Cowdray as their establishment of a UK string, as it was the first year they hadn’t flown the bulk of their horses to the UK from America. In spring 2008 Lechuza dropped Pite and Sebastian Merlos shortly before the US Open amid reports of the brothers’ volatile behaviour on the field. They were replaced by Sapo Caset and Guillermo Aguero. The same year, Roberto Gonzales was taken on as team coach for the US season. Lechuza made it to the final of the US Open in 2003, and won the CV Whitney Cup in 1999 and 2002. Their “barn” in Florida lies 10 minutes west of International Polo Club Palm Beach, and they have a set-up in England in the Berkshire area.

What is Biodyl?

Shocked bystanders watched as vets descended on the Lechuza pony lines. But nothing could be done

Argentina and the USA – have no rules governing medication or testing. At least two associations, the HPA and the Australian Polo Council, have already reviewed their drug control regulations in the light of the pony deaths in Florida last month. The HPA’s rules are quite simple, occupying less than a page in its 2009 Blue Book. They state that the administration of any drug or substance which is not a normal constituent of horse feed is banned, with the exception of 11 substances listed, including bute and Ventipulmin. While some drugs banned in other sports may be appropriately used in moderation for polo ponies, the book states, heart stimulants cannot be given under any circumstances. By contrast, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), world governing body of such horse sports as jumping, dressage, eventing, reining and endurance riding, generalises no fewer than 30 substances or

the disaster late last month with members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London. “The Royal College is happy with our rules on substances,” Woodd said, “and we will continue to drug test to enforce them. They were also happy that our rules state clearly that members of the HPA should only use vets who are registered with the Royal College,” Woodd said. The HPA tested some 30 ponies in the Queen’s Cup and Gold Cup tournaments last season. Leon Reardon, president of the Australian Polo Council, said his governing body is currently reviewing prohibited and permitted drugs and looking to tighten up its controls. In the US meanwhile, where the USPA has no regulations controlling equine medication, there were urgent calls from professional players and team owners alike for the association to adopt rules for substance control and dope testing for ponies.

LECHUZA’S STATEMENT after the tragedy said that a Florida vet wrote the prescription for the pharmacy to create a compound similar to Biodyl. The supplement, made by Merial, a leading multinational animal health company, is available by prescription in some countries and over the counter in others. The manufactured version can be given in water or as an injectable solution, and its intended uses include reducing physiological stress and preventing azoturia (tying up) in performance animals. According to a recent news report for Associated Press, a source at the Argentine Equine Veterinarian Association said the supplement is commonly used on competition horses in Argentina. The contents of the mixture ordered by Lechuza from the Florida pharmacy, according to the same report, included vitamin B, potassium, magnesium and selenium.

Juanma’s words SEVERAL DAYS AFTER the disaster Juan Martin Nero was back in Argentina, writes Carlos Beer. The tragedy of the Lechuza horses hastened his return, and one of the first things he did was to try new horses in Pilar. Juanma didn’t want to talk much about what happened. “Nobody did anything strange,” he said. “We don’t have doubts about the origin of the problem: there were five horses which were not given the supplement and they are the only ones that are OK,” he added – 48 hours before news broke of the the Florida pharmacy’s findings. www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 7


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News News in brief ◗ HIGH-GOAL PATRON Dorothee Huijnen, a familiar face on the Argentine Sotogrande and Argentine polo scenes for 20 years, is selling 31 Argentinebred ponies through the UK-based Eastwood Stud. Belgian-born Huijnen has for some years been quietly running a breeding programme, using stallions bought in a joint venture with Kerry Packer and Gonzalo Pieres for embryo transfer, such as Dandy Constancio. Amongst the 31 horses for sale are eight-year-olds scheduled to be played in this season’s high-goal by the likes of Glen Gilmore and Lucas Monteverde. Five of these are the progeny of ponies that have played the Argentine Open, such as Chance, Teca, Morocha and Laura. Roughly half of the sale stock are playing ponies, with a number of foals and several breeding mares making up the remainder. Visit www.eastwoodstud.com for details. ◗ TICKETS FOR the Audi Polo Awards are still available as the preparations for the gala evening on 18 May continue. More than 300 guests are expected at the Hilton Park Lane, where master of ceremonies Hamish McLachlan is set to be joined by a celebrity to present the 10 main awards to the biggest success stories of 2008. Tickets cost £195 per person and the Heaton-Ellis Trust will be the main charity beneficiary. Online voting continues and any registered UK polo club member can cast their votes now, at www.audipoloawards.com. ◗ THE QUEEN’S CUP at Guards has a new title sponsor in the shape of Harcourt Developments, an awardwinning property development, management and investment company with a broad portfolio of projects worldwide. As Polo Times went to press, a few days before the closing date for entries on 30 April, the tally of 22-goal teams signed up to play was expected to reach up to 16.

8 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Successful Brits look ahead IN WHAT THEY hope will be a foretaste of the English season, Malcolm Borwick and James Beim have been enjoying success in Argentina with Matias MacDonough on Jerome Wirth’s Enigma team, the same side which will play this summer’s UK high-goal. The team won two Autumn Polo Tour 22-goal tournaments back-to-back, at Centauros and Ellerstina, playing 10 games between early March and midApril and losing just one. In both finals they beat South American-dominated sides featuring the likes of Jaime Huidobro and Lolo Castagnola. The Polo Tour Centauros featured six teams, while the Polo Tour Ellerstina attracted eight, including some the biggest names in the game. Since England’s win at the Westchester, in which Beim played, he and Borwick have spent two months honing their game with the team. Beim has been based with the MacDonoughs, while Borwick, along with patron Jerome Wirth, has been at La Quinta, the Tomlinsons’ estancia.

Enigma has been training as the same foursome in Argentina on and off since November and will play out of their expanding new base at Todham near Cowdray in Wirth’s first bash at UK high-goal. Todham is also home to the ponies of players such as Ruki Baillieu, Rob Archibald and Pepe Riglos. The team returned to England on the last Monday in April, once Borwick and Beim had finished competing for England in the Four Nations Cup at Palermo (see below).

“We’re feeling confident,” said Beim. “Usually when you join up with a new side it takes the first five practices or even the first couple of tournaments to get used to playing together. We don’t need to worry about that as we already know how we all play. “However, though we’ve had a good couple of months in Argentina and it feels good to be well prepared, we’re not so naïve as to think we will win everything in the UK – for a start, everyone is on different horses.”

England’s 2008 Coronation Cup side were reunited in the Four Nations at Palermo

England earns valuable experience at Palermo FOUR CORE members of the England squad played three internationals within 10 days at the end of last month in Argentina when they contested the 28goal Four Nations tournament at Palermo. As Polo Times went to press, hosts Argentina were due to play Brazil in the final on Sunday 26 April. An England side of Luke and Mark Tomlinson, Malcolm Borwick and James Beim lost out to both finalists in the opening rounds, but were due to fight it out with the Rest of the World for third place over the same weekend.

In the opening phase of the competition, which ran over two weekends, England dominated their first game against Brazil, at one point leading 9-4 and starting the final chukka 12-10 up. However, they were beaten 15-14 in overtime, and lost to Argentina 12-8 a day later. Though they played well in this second game, too, they were undone by a strong final two chukkas from the hosts, when Lolo Castagnola filled in for the injured Adolfo Cambiaso. However, the matches provided a brilliant

opportunity for the England side to play together at top level, with their coach Javier Novillo Astrada at the sidelines and George Meyrick, who is five goals in Argentina, there as sub. “In the space of 10 days we doubled the number of internationals we’d usually play in a year,” said Mark Tomlinson. “It was great to be able to play together again and we certainly all hope to hit the ground running when we get back to England.” A full report will appear in the June issue of Polo Times.


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Sign of the times – will Recession make a triumphant comeback this season?

Banned shirts deliver a blast from the past DOES ANYONE RECOGNISE these shirts? Seventeen years ago, during the last downturn, George Milford Haven had them specially made, with a downward graph and red “danger” colours, for a team he named Recession. The shirts – modelled here by William Beresford and Nick Dann – had just one outing in the last recession when George and teammates Will Roberts, Robert Hissom and Guy Farley wore them for an

eight-goal tournament at Cowdray. Afterwards, an order came that they were not to appear again. “Lord Cowdray banned the name – and the shirts,” recalls George. “He said it was all too negative.” George adds that the main thing the shirts show is how long he has been playing polo, but Polo Times is more interested in whether they’ll be making a public reappearance this year. Would the powers that be crack down again, we wonder...?

New umpiring initiative gets underway A NEW PROJECT is underway to improve umpiring in polo to bring it in line with other sports, in which umpires work worldwide and standards have been raised significantly. The project’s aim is to prove that there could be a Polo World Umpiring Group consisting of full-time professional umpires who have no commercial or financial interest in polo – whether as playing professionals, pony producers or team managers. “The perception of impartiality and independence is important,” says the Beaufort’s director of polo Olly Hughes, who has been working with Claire Tomlinson on the project. The project is in its infancy, and Claire has been discussing how it might work with Bob Reeves, a sports psychologist from Bristol University who has been involved with polo for some years. He has brought on board Ed Morrison, who runs the Elite Group of Rugby Union Referees. “Rugby umpiring is considered a good analogy for polo umpiring: they have to keep control of 30 big men and there are ways of doing that,” says Hughes. “Rugby is a technical and dangerous game where serious injuries can occur, and rules must be obeyed.”

Initially the group would be small, working on the three main high-goal Opens, and existing side by side with professional umpire groups in different countries, such as the HPA’s high-goal group of around 10. Hughes envisages it would be paid for by a combination of team contributions and sponsorship. He adds: “As it progresses, there would be opportunities for sponsors who wanted worldwide exposure attached to polo.” With all this in mind the Beaufort has this season for the first time taken on a professional chief umpire in the form of Jason Dixon, whose sole polo activity is umpiring and conducting seminars and one-to-ones about umpiring. The club is also bringing in a new club rule, as in rugby, which states that any “talking” to the umpires – with the exception of welfare and safety issues – during a match is an offence, and incurs the same penalties as technical fouls. A system of feedback from team captains is also getting under way at the Beaufort, whereby complaints can be investigated and there can be an improvement in understanding between players and umpires. www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 9


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Latest from the HPA HPA chief executive David Woodd rounds up the news from UK polo’s headquarters Welfare booklets All playing members will now receive a Welfare Booklet, which is produced in both English and Spanish. Please read it and pass it on to your groom.

Frolic Farm provisionally affiliated Following the stewards’ meeting on Wednesday 15 April, Frolic Farm Polo Club has been awarded provisional affiliation.

Membership cards Following the launch of membership cards last season, all members with an HPA handicap will soon be sent their card, along with the rules and umpire DVD for this year. The cards allow club managers to

verify players’ handicaps and memberships easily and efficiently. Players of a one-goal handicap or above will once again receive a pocket rules book on the basis that, as an accomplished player, they will – hopefully – help to umpire. The above will only be distributed to players once the HPA has been both notified of their membership and given their correct postal addresses by clubs. Therefore, if you do not receive anything, it will most likely be because the HPA has not been given your correct contact details.

Arena handicap changes A reminder that the end-of-season arena handicap changes, as agreed at the HPA meeting on 13 March

Cambridge makes a stand THE VARSITY POLO match between Oxford and Cambridge will be re-launched in its traditional format this year, to be played as a day in its own right at Kirtlington Park on Sunday 7 June, rather than as part of the Jack Wills Polo Day at Guards. The change has been instigated by Cambridge University Polo Club, whose members had become concerned with the nature of the event in recent years. “The Varsity polo match has been played since 1868,” said match organiser and member of Cambridge University Polo Club committee, Katie Cooke. “We felt the recent focus had drifted from the traditional ethos of the Varsity game and taken on a more commercial feel which wasn’t really a day out for the students. Cambridge’s aim is to make

10 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

polo accessible, so this year’s student afterparty won’t come with a heavy price-tag.” Last year’s Jacks Wills Polo Day also showcased games between Eton and Harrow, both schools’ old boys and the Old Blues from both universities. “We felt the Old Blues game in particular was lost amid so many games, pushed out onto one of the distant grounds and not seen by anyone,” said Cooke. “This year’s event is exclusively dedicated to the Varsity games and will be a great day out for the two universities.” Oxford University will still also play at the Jack Wills Polo Day – a day earlier, on 6 June – but will play Durham University instead of Cambridge. For information on the Varsity Day, sponsored by Bicester Village, visit www.varsitypolo.co.uk

(and published in full on page 68 of the April issue of Polo Times), will be effective from Friday 1 May.

Dates for the diary Courses 13 May (11.45am) – Voluntary Assistants’ Course, with David Morley in Petworth 10 June (9.30am) – Seminar for coaches, RCBPC Meetings 11 May (2.30pm) – Council meeting, Cavalry & Guards Club, London 22 June (10am) – Mid-season handicap meeting, HPA headquarters 24 June (10.30am) – Stewards’ meeting, Cavalry & Guards Club, London

Longdole plays host to Pony Club arena action THE PONY CLUB SQUEEZED all its arena championships last month into one day at Longdole, writes Tony Emerson. In retrospect it worked, because they hit on the one April day that the Longdole microclimate was benign, but five sections playing 67 chukkas in one arena was a big ask, and the experiment probably won’t be repeated. The Enfield Chace Jorrocks team proved the high-goal adage that the pony is 90 per cent of the game, and won their section comfortably. The Berkeley took the Handley Cross section, and a very well balanced Beaufort team played consistently to beat seven other teams in the Surtees. In the Loriner, which featured 13 teams, VWH defended valiantly in the final to force a draw against a hard-hitting Cottesmore team before winning the resulting penalty shoot-out. The Rendell section was divided into two equal pools of four, won by RA/Pytchley and OS&B. OS&B’s victories owed much to Charlotte Sweeney, the outstanding player of the tournament.


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Irish boxing legend and keen polo player Steve Collins has welcomed a dynamic new management to St Albans Polo Club

As Herts folds, St Albans opens A FORMER CHAMPION boxer who plays polo has facilitated the revival of a polo club on his property just outside the M25, granting a two-year lease to a new chairman and management committee. The St Albans Polo Club was initially set up in 2003 by Steve Collins, the former WBO and WBA Middleweight and Super-Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World. Collins, whose “fighting” is now done on the polo field, is also known for his role as a bouncer in British gangster film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. This season’s new management

team includes polo manager Gill Lines, whose son Dean is a three-goal pro, and new chairman Martin Randall, a patron whose company Crystal Direct becomes the club’s major sponsor. The relaunch could fill a void left by the closure of another local club. In late March members of Hertfordshire Polo Club received a memo from its chairman, Rick Aspland-Robinson, saying the club would cease to be a members’ club this season. He thanked members for their support over the years and said ponies could remain at livery until the end of April.

The club, based at the Woolmers Park property once owned by the Lucas family, had been resurrected 15 years ago by keen Pony Clubbers. It was then run in an official capacity for a decade and last season had around 60 playing members registered. Polo Times tried to contact its chairman and polo office without success. Meanwhile, St Albans Polo Club, which is a mile from junction 21a of the M25 and has two boarded grounds and a stick-and-ball field, was due to hold its first tournament over the first weekend in May.

News in brief ◗ IN A SIGN of the times, the Laureus Polo Cup, scheduled for 21 June in Cheshire, has been cancelled. Organisers failed to secure a major sponsor for what would have been the tournament’s second year and have been forced to pull the plug. Guests at last year’s inaugural event included tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Boris Becker, England cricket hero Sir Ian Botham and Hollywood actress Uma Thurman. Adolfo Cambiaso was lined-up to play in this year’s fixture. ◗ OLIVER TWIST POLO, a Gloucestershirebased polo and pony-producing set-up, is selling up so Emma Oliver, its founder, can concentrate on a new career as a writer. Also the home of Emma and her husband Simon, Talland House near Cirencester (originally the home of the Talland School of Equitation), is on the market with Knight Frank for £1.8m. Emma is writing her first novel, which she describes as “a romantic drama set against the background of international finance and high-goal polo”, and predicts

it will be on the shelves in 2011. The couple, who are also keen hunt followers, plan to move to Somerset. ◗ SCOTLAND-BASED novices interested in a fast-track polo programme are once again being sought by David Leyden Dunbar, director of Team Management International (TMI) and the organiser of an annual corporate black tie entertainment evening of indoor polo at Gleneagles Hotel, the Festival Cup. The tournament pits six novices in a pro-am game before a Scottish arena side plays an international match against a visiting nation. This year they welcome Argentina. The selected novice players will need to be prepared for three months of intensive training, and are responsible for covering their own costs, which can be up to £5,000 each. However, organisers are anxious to attract participants from all walks of life and suggest that costs can usually be covered by sponsorship. “Our aim is to immerse new blood into regional clubs,” said Dunbar. “We operate a similar scheme for Midlands-based

players at an outdoor tournament at RLS in September.” ◗ INJURED POLO PLAYER James Servaes has come off a ventilator following complications due to an infection after his transfer to the Sheffield Northern and General Hospital’s spinal unit in early April. He is showing encouraging signs of improvement but looks likely to remain there in rehabilitation for the next four to six months. James, 61, was left paralysed from the chest down following a fall playing polo at the family’s Carlton House Arena Polo Club in East Anglia on 27 December. ◗ STUDENTS FROM England were the victors in the tightly fought SUPA TriNations Cup at Polo Wicklow last month, in which they saw off the challenge of students from Ireland and Scotland. Each side was made up of a girl and two boys, and they played each other in a round-robin format over two days.

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Photographs courtesy of Belinda Edwards, Lucy Monro and Tiger Mountain Group, Nepal

News Obituary

Jim Edwards at the Nepali jungle lodge Tiger Tops, which he took over in 1971. Visitors included the Duke of Edinburgh, and elephant polo began there in 1981

JIM EDWARDS

1935-2009

Herbert Spencer pays tribute to a great innovator, entrepreneur and explorer, who made history by bringing elephant polo to the masses im Edwards, who died aged 73 in Kathmandu on 24 March following a stroke, was widely recognised for his pioneering work in developing tourism in Nepal and for his conservation and charitable endeavours there. However, it is as coinventor of elephant polo that he will be best remembered in the polo world. Arthur Victor James Edwards was born in Gosport, Hampshire, on 24 November 1935, and went to school in England and Jersey. He had a varied career, from butcher’s delivery boy in Jersey to banking with Lloyds in England and Sweden, to working at Pan American Airways in New York. He first arrived in Nepal in 1962 and in 1971 took over Tiger Tops, an ailing jungle lodge, building it up to achieve world fame. He lobbied the Nepalese government for creation of a national park in Chitwan, to which it agreed in 1973. Since then his Tiger Mountain travel group has organised tours in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet and Sri Lanka. It was in 1981 that Jim met Scotland’s James

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Manclark, polo player and former Olympic tobogganer, in St Moritz. Manclark suggested that the elephants Jim used to carry tourists through Nepal’s jungles could be trained to play a new version of polo. Jim thought no more about the idea until, a few months later, he got a telegram from Manclark: “Arriving Kathmandu April 1. Have long sticks. Get ready elephants.” After rules and tactics had been adapted for players, who sat high on the elephants with mahouts guiding them, elephant polo soon became a popular, fun event in Nepal, attracting such celebrities as Sir Edmund Hillary, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, comedian Billy Connolly and the Duke of Argyll. Later Jim founded the World Elephant Polo Association and the sport spread to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Profits from the annual world championships at Tiger Tops, sponsored by Chivas Regal, have gone towards helping with schooling, medical care and other support in local villages. As a pioneer of eco-tourism, Jim received numerous awards. He was founder and president

of the International Trust for Nature Conservation (ITNC), a UK-registered charity that encourages local participation in conservation projects throughout the world. He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club in the US, member of the St Moritz Tobogganing Club and honorary member of the Sirmoor Club, 2nd Ghurkhas. “Jim was a great character who will be sadly missed,” said James Manclark, who still plays polo to this day and has been ambassador to FIP since its inception. “He had so many things in his life, not just elephant polo. He was a great explorer and entrepreneur, a fantastic story-teller and was just wonderful company.” Jim Edwards, twice married, is survived by a daughter and three sons, including his eldest, Kristjan, who has taken over the World Elephant Polo Association. His family, which held a memorial for him in Kathmandu last month, asks that donations be made to the ITNC in his memory – at www.itnc.org. F


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Global view Comment With Herbert Spencer, who has been following polo around the world for 40 years

Innovation at the expense of integrity? A sports hospitality company run by former All-England rugby player Victor Ubogu is organising a polo event at Bath Racecourse in May [news, Polo Times, April] but, as there is no polo ground there, what will the playing surface be like? The same question arises with exhibition matches on Clapham Common organised by Ascot Park Polo Club in June.

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National Polo League, and heads of state worldwide …”. Since when have heads of state sanctioned polo teams? The “National Polo League (NPL)” appears to be connected with the America’s Polo Cup organiser Tareq Salahi and is billing itself as “the governing council of pro-am polo”. Come again? Given that the US Polo Association (USPA)

verybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon with presumably wellintentioned efforts to introduce polo to wider audiences – producing special events away from the clubs. It’s happening on both sides of the Atlantic, in some cases profit-driven, and has clearly put the sport’s governing bodies in a quandary. Any moves to raise the public profile of polo are to be applauded, but some events are being staged without conforming to the regulations of the national associations that run the sport. This can raise serious questions regarding the rules of the game, the grounds on which it is played, safety, insurance of players and ponies, perhaps even legal liabilities and, not least, the very image of polo. Of the four events at new venues in the United Kingdom this year, only one is sanctioned by the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), the sport’s governing body in Britain and Ireland. Organisers of the London Polo Championship at Horse Guards Parade next month wisely got the HPA’s blessing before proceeding with planning their arena polo event. Not so Polo in the Park, which is being staged at London’s Hurlingham Club in June by financier and player Daniel FoxDavies. Not only will the matches be played on an under-sized ground, but organisers are deviating significantly from the wellestablished rules of the game as enforced by all the national associations and the Federation of International Polo (FIP). Fox-Davies has also formed and is the self-appointed chairman of the officialsounding “World Polo Association” to run his breakaway version of the sport that he hopes to take to Russia, the US, China and other countries. Fox-Davies met last month with HPA stewards who expressed hopes that the safety of players and ponies would be assured.

Since when have heads of state sanctioned polo teams? The USPA needs to challenge these outrageous claims

© Crown Copyright, images from www.defenceimages.mod.uk

has been governing this essentially proam sport since 1890, it needs to challenge NPL’s outrageous claim straight away. Polo should welcome efforts to expand its player and spectator base by introducing it to the general public at special venues. However, it remains the responsibility of the governing bodies, including the HPA, USPA, other national associations and the FIP, to ensure that such events are run according to the accepted rules of the game and to the high standards they strive to maintain. Otherwise exhibitions can give the public a misleading impression of what competitive polo is all about as a sport and potentially damage its image. Horse Guards Parade will host an event that is sanctioned by the HPA

Across the Atlantic, the organisation behind the America’s Polo Cup has been hyping “internationals” between teams called “USA”, “England”, “Italy” and “Australia”. Neither the event this month nor its “USA” and “Australia” teams are recognised by the respective national associations, despite such spurious claims as “United States Official Polo Team [is] recognised and sanctioned by the

MIS-ASSOCIATED? The announcement of a new “World Polo Association” has led to some confusion with the communications consultancy, World Polo Associates (WPA), which this writer formed in 1986, a name under which I published and promoted the sport for 20 years. My WPA is now part of Herbert Spencer Media. I take this opportunity to declare that neither my WPA nor I have anything to do with the “World Polo Association”. F

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Photograph by Herbert Spencer

Comment Interview

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Kenney Jones, who has strong ideas about polo on TV. “Keep our traditional rules but be clever with the filming,� he says


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Rock star Kenney Jones, an HPA steward and the founder of Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Surrey, talks to Herbert Spencer about big crowds, prize money and his hungry eye for televising the sport enney Jones was born in East London in 1948, the son of a Stepney lorry driver. The only family connection with horses he can find, he says, is an ancestor who was “a sergeant-major in the Boer War and who rode and played the harmonica. Guess I got some of his genes.” The music genes kicked in first. Teenager Kenney began drumming at home and by the age of 16 had his first hit single with the rock group, Small Faces. He became one of the world’s top drummers and, as well as Small Faces, went on to play in a succession of other groups, including The Faces, The Who, The Law and now The Jones Gang. The collection of gold and silver discs he showed me on my visit is impressive and he’s still drummin’ away aged 60. The horses came after Kenney made enough money in the music business to afford the feed. First it was hunting and show jumping, then polo. “I was with Bryan Morrison at some music do in the late sixties and he invited me to have a go at polo,” Kenney says. “He took me to Ham Polo Club’s ground in Richmond Park and said I took 17 swings at the ball and hit it every time, so I must have had some talent for the game.” Kenney took a few lessons at Ham, riding mentor Bryan’s ponies, but the pressure of touring with The Faces prevented him taking up the sport seriously. His passion for polo really began in 1986 when he became a founding member of Bryan’s new Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, first taking lessons with club pro Philip Elliot, then playing regularly there and at other clubs. “Along the way we formed the first polo rock team,” he says. “Sometimes it was me, fellow drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police, guitarist Mike Rutherford of the Mechanics and music publisher Bryan playing celebrity charity

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matches.” He achieved a one-goal handicap, which he still holds today. At home in Ewhurst, near Cranleigh in Surrey, Kenney first built a practice ground by his house, where he staged charity matches to benefit village activities. “It’s important that you get the local community behind you from the start,” he says. Then in 1995 he opened Hurtwood Park Polo & Country Club on his nearby acreage. “For the clubhouse I found a big listed barn which a farmer wanted to get rid of. I got permission to move it provided we retained its architectural

We have pop and classical concerts, off-road driving, show jumping – anything goes, and that way we can operate in the black character. We dismantled it beam by beam and moved it to my property, reassembled and faithfully restored and adapted it.” Today the facilities on Hurtwood Park’s 270 acres include six grounds and the clubhouse with a restaurant and a full drinks and music licence. The whole Jones family is involved, including Kenny’s wife Jayne, who organises all the offfield activities, and his sons Jay, 20 (handicap 1) and Cody, 14 (-1). Some of the club’s events draw crowds most other clubs can only dream about. “Our biggest success was when Kuoni, the travel company, was sponsoring.” Kenney says. “Their event started with 3,000 spectators, then over the years built up to 25,000 as they brought in associated firms such as airlines.” Kenney credits the success of his club to an eclectic approach to its activities. “It’s difficult to run a club with just polo,” he says, “so we’ve

offered much more. We have pop and classical concerts, show jumping, off-road driving, corporate team building days – almost anything goes. That way we can operate in the black, although for now we plough the profits back into club development. “Recently we’ve spent more than £250,000 bringing our grounds up to high-goal standard and we are currently in the process of doubling the size of the clubhouse to 12,000 square feet.” Last season Kenney, backed by the international mobile phone company Fly, offered a £50,000 “winner-takes-all” cash prize in Hurtwood Park’s 18-goal Polo Masters tournament. This year there is $100,000 up for grabs in the Masters (11-17 May). Some polo traditionalists look askance at prize money rather than just trophies. “But look at the big cash prizes in other horse sports, like show jumping,” says Kenney. “Why not in polo as well if it encourages top-class competition?” It was in 2000 that Kenney turned his promotional talents, developed over four decades in the music business, to getting polo on television. “Sky Sports was doubtful at first, and said we needed to change the rules, for instance playing on a smaller ground. I convinced them otherwise: keep our traditional rules but be clever with the filming.” The HPA asked Kenney to head a TV committee, then abruptly dropped him in favour of a steward. But it was Kenney’s pioneering work that got the ball rolling, and coverage is now a regular feature on Sky’s summer schedule. Kenney was elected a steward of the HPA last autumn and no one doubts he will be an outspoken one. “I’ve got ideas for expanding TV coverage,” he says, “but all the clubs need to cooperate on this. We should look to filming not just the big events, but also show viewers some of the smaller clubs. I’m available if I’m needed.” F

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Comment Umpire’s corner With Arthur Douglas-Nugent, deputy chief umpire for the HPA

Dangerous play, deceitful appeals and developments on DVD n an interview reproduced in the last issue of Polo Times, the late Paul Sweeney was asked if he would like to see any rules changed. His answer, which would strike a cord with many, was: “Yes, to place more emphasis on dangerous play and less on minor infringements.” This is, of course, more a question of interpretation than the need for any change in the rules – thank goodness. We will put over the message at our various meetings with umpires at the beginning of the season. However, while of course dangerous play must be penalised, there is another element which involves fairness. A player who breaks the rules and gains an advantage by doing so – via a foul hook or a second tap for example – should still be penalised, even though it may not be inherently dangerous. The minor misdemeanour, which often occurs in the throw-in, could perhaps remain unpunished in the interest of keeping the game flowing.

immense benefit from a post-match analysis by the officials. Secondly, however, there is no doubt that radio has a part to play and clubs are encouraged to wire up their umpires and referees. We will never eliminate human error entirely but, by application and experience, we can strive to reduce mistakes to a minimum.

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LEARN AT YOUR LEISURE A revised Umpire and Rules DVD has been produced for this season, which should be required viewing for any aspiring umpire. The script has been shortened with a crisper commentary and clearer graphics. The main pointers to good umpiring are clearly explained and the rules are well illustrated with examples, even to the extent of venturing into that minefield area of

Watching match DVDs, what really stands out is the sheer number of occasions players appeal when there is absolutely no reason for them to do so

VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR So what does the Football Association in the UK think of introducing technology into refereeing? Not much, it would seem – they have stated just recently that, for now, football will remain a game for human beings (we should be thankful for that anyway) with errors occurring on the field of play. They are trying to improve refereeing, though seem to have quietly dropped their “Respect” campaign as the players’ abuse of referees continues. They do accept that you will never erase human error completely. So where does polo stand? Firstly, we have no intention of introducing DVD technology into umpiring – it is not universally available and it does not give a definitive answer in a lot of cases. Though, having said that, if a match has been filmed, there is

UNAPPEALING APPEALING I have spent some time during the close season watching DVDs of high-goal

the antics of the players. Easier said than done, of course.

matches. Apart from the incredible skills on show and the athleticism of the ponies, the thing that really stands out is the number of occasions that players appeal for fouls when there is absolutely no reason for them to do so: too often they are the ones who have perpetrated the misdemeanor. The point here is that umpires should be absolutely clear that it is up to them alone to make the correct judgment and that they should not be influenced by

FOUL FOR THOUGHT Last month’s conundrum A player is playing the ball on his offside. Under what circumstances can an opponent ride over the ball to frustrate him? The answer is now specifically spelt out in the rules and reads as follows: “This (riding into a stroke) does not prevent a player from riding over the ball on a legitimate ride off when an opponent is tapping the ball or has not started the downward swing of a full forehand or backhand stroke.” This month’s puzzle A player goes to take a Penalty 6 (60 safety) and taps the ball to a team-mate on the 30-yard line. What should the umpires do?

who has the right of way as an approach is made to the line of the ball at an angle. Just don’t ask me to explain it. Another perhaps less contentious area shown in the DVD is the “offsetting foul”. This particular stratagem gets no mention in the rules – perhaps it should. The most obvious example is when a player turns on the ball without moving it and an opponent runs into him from behind, often to emphasise the foul. In this example, if the umpires judge that the second player could have avoided contact but chose not to do so, they would be correct in awarding an offsetting foul and, after explaining the reason for their decision, should order the players into a lineout and throw in the ball. Copies of the DVD, which includes the new rules on penalty taking, are available for purchase from the HPA, as is the 2009 Pocket Rule Book. F


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The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club North Street,Winkfield, Windsor Berkshire SL4 4TH 01344 890061 info@rcbpoloclub.com

www.rcbpoloclub.com

The Prince of Wales Trophy Saturday 6th June – Saturday 13th June The Prince of Wales Trophy now in its 23rd year is one of the earliest and prestigious high goal tournaments in the calendar. Attracting a large number of well-known national and international celebrities. Now running for the 3rd year running in conjunction with the Queens Cup. For one glorious week, guests and the public will be able to watch high goal polo culminating with a thrilling ?nals day on Saturday 13th June. The leading polo players and teams will play off in a series of knockout, high action, high goal games, at the RCBPC. Complimenting this will be a full programme of entertainment and special events for corporate, sponsor and public ticket holders.

The Pro Alvear Polo Match Saturday 20th June

The club encompasses 270 acres of magnificent Berkshire countryside; it is easily accessible, (5mins from Ascot station or 40 minutes from central London off the M4) and the club’s facilities are second to none. Members have the benefit of 6 polo grounds, stick and ball field, stabling for 200 ponies, all weather arena, 2 exercise tracks, indoor wooden training horse, 2 polo schools, changing rooms, tennis courts, croquet lawn, Royal Pavilion with sponsors enclosure and grandstand seating, marquees and hospitality tents, the biggest Asprey polo shop in the UK and of course the superb club house with huge French doors leading onto the terrace and manicured lawns. A full programme of polo and social events are planned for the 2009 Summer season at the RCBPC, the season opening on Saturday May 2nd and concluding on Sunday September 27th. All levels of polo are played throughout the season for more information on our tournaments or becoming a playing or non playing member, please contact the polo office. All are welcome to come and enjoy polo, please have a look at our website for full details.

Founded by Juan Pepa in 2003, the Pro-Alvear Charity supports the egalitarian economic, social and educational development of the Argentinean Pampas region. Hosted for the time at the club, this event is an amazing evening of polo, dinner and auction followed by a star studded party. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Fundacion Pro Alvear.

The Polo Festival Saturday 1st August – Sunday 9th August The Polo Festival in association with Tally Ho Farm is held at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo club in August, 27 teams played last year in the largest festival of its kind in the UK. The Polo Festival runs over 2 weeks. The launch drinks party kicks off proceedings, followed by a huge themed party on the first weekend for all members, players and guests. Culminating in a huge finals day focused on the family and of course the polo.

‘Pink Polo’ The Ladies Open tournament in association with the Breast Cancer Campaign

Saturday 22nd to Monday 31st August This event is set to be one of the summer calendar’s darlings. The day will run around the final of the ladies open and will include a celebrity-sponsored match. Fantastic charity auctions, wonderful shopping and an all round thrilling day of pure British summer time pleasure. Profits raised will support innovative world-class research to beat breast cancer.


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Players’ forum Comment With John Horswell, the outspoken sultan of swing

Ringing off the hook for players on the look want to play polo, so my advice remains constant: clubs should do all they can to get the most out of any extra capacity they might have – be inventive. Clubs can create new and exciting selling points by adapting their existing products. Perhaps try stick and balling with clients, stick and ball lessons, hold organised practices, or play polo later in the evening mid-week to make it easier for people to get to. Schooling members

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COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH MORE HOURS This year I was forced to work between 10 and 12 hours over all four days of the Easter weekend. The fact is this: for clubs and players in the recession of 2009, we will each just have to work almost twice as hard to make the same money. Clubs will be forced to innovate this year, which will undoubtedly bring with it opportunities. There are still people who

suppose, the more people do it, then the more these teams will end up being competitive with each other. However, my advice to all going down this road is to mix and match their alliances. In my experience it can sometimes be a friendship-breaker, especially when results are not going so well. Hence, in building teams of this nature, I have only ever encouraged sharing with the same person for one or

This year, sharing teams is all the rage again – it had recently come to be seen almost as a signal of defeat

Extra selling points for clubs include stick-and-balling with clients

ponies could be a idea to help keep players on board and cement their relationship to your club. There are many ways of keeping the meter running. From a patron’s point of view, the ability to take advantage of this, spread the budget and focus on improving their game rather than winning matches should make all these new innovations of interest. HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? There has been a great upsurge again recently in patrons wishing to share teams with each other – at all levels. In recent years this had largely diminished, as it was seen to be uncompetitive and almost a signal of defeat. However, this season it looks like being “all the rage”. And, I

ome years ago a much wiser person than I told me that I should change my phone number into a premium rate sets of digits. They based this idea on the fact that well over 90 per cent of the calls I receive are from people who are after information and advice. As a self-confessed technophobe, with computing skills that have regularly been described as “utterly tragic”, unsurprisingly I did not follow up on the suggestion. However, this season has started in the same vein and the phone calls I receive are increasingly from professional players looking for work and offering to make it very much worth my while if I can help them. I have also noted that there seems to have been a general deflation in the amounts they are asking for their services. The recession has meant things are looking quiet and, in particular, it seems that the further away from London one goes, the quieter the professional scene is looking. A lot of professionals who traditionally would have found enough employment in their local area have been ringing up looking for work anywhere they can get it. Nevertheless, despite this, most people seem to have bought their ponies in and have got them fit, so I can only assume that the commitment remains more or less the same, while perhaps their enthusiasm for tournament polo has been trimmed to fit in with the new economy in which we find ourselves.

two tournaments at a time. You can then swap it around and maybe husband resources to do one or two tournaments on your own. Nevertheless, the noticeable difference this year is the number of teams fielding two or even three patrons in the low-goal sphere as people adapt and look to find a way forward. It is the world’s best game and so naturally no one wants to miss out. I suspect it will be a good year to be in pony rentals because those without their own ponies for whatever reason can still keep their eye in and do a bit. LOOKING FORWARD Personally, I am looking forward to the challenge of providing polo and services at a level and a price that keeps as many people in the game as possible. Any spare time left should be utilised in encouraging new people to come into the game at an affordable entry level. Then, once the famous green shoots of recovery all the pundits are frantically looking for begin to sprout and slowly become the shrubbery of an economic upturn, we will hopefully have plenty of new people coming through, ready to take the game forward again. F

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Comment Your views

Letter of the month Whoops – whips

Letters letters@polotimes.co.uk Gilgit in London? Dear Editor Picking up the article in December’s Polo Times on the return of polo to Hurlingham, which I confess I’ve only just spotted, I have a wild suggestion to offer – in more ways than one. But before accusations that my article on Gilgit polo in your August issue, followed by its translation into Spanish for Argentina’s El Federal Polo, has gone to my head, just perhaps it is not quite as silly as it sounds. And forgive me for using you as the source for passing it on to the right ears, but who betters your influence. Assuming the basic object at Hurlingham is to bring polo to the general public by presenting a close-up view of a super-exciting sport, then the answer is the introduction of Gilgitstyle. No other polo is so thrilling, so free, and so spectator-friendly, with play only 30 yards in front (village street), an advantage Hurlingham needs anyway with its restricted area – and most significantly it is a totally anti-elitist ethic. To spectators, the excitement of watching any sport – but certainly this one, so fiercely fought with no rules and no interfering bodies – cannot be equalled. Balance that against the dreaded Blue Book, three umpires, permanent whistle interruptions then followed by midfield debates and see which draws greater London crowds. To à Brassard’s comment in the Hurlingham article, “If you could make polo simpler and faster-moving people might be more gripped”, then this is a ten fold answer. Of other factors that fit neatly, take the suggested hitting out after each goal. Instead of forcing such a disadvantage, go for the fantastic Tumbuk (where the scorer charges, ball in hand, to the centre and whacks it in mid-air). Rather than getting rid of whites, no doubt ending up with the ghastly colour sabotage of which cricket is guilty, the answer is to adapt to the old Gilgit baggy style of clothing, though even those tribesman are now clad in baggy whites, according to Bruce Cowley’s article on his trip to Gilgit last year in the March issue. As for rock bands, ye Gods, that’s

20 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

It would seem to be an excellent idea to test-drive various pieces of polo equipment for the benefit of players, but perhaps one should insert a word of caution. Last month’s issue included a review of various whips that were available for purchase – and a gaudy lot they were. A starting point of the review should have been the HPA rule on the use of whips, which has now been expanded in Annex B to read: “In play, a player should be penalised if he strikes his pony more than twice, but should he apply such force so that the crack can be heard around the ground then that too shall be penalised…” Thus it may not be entirely appropriate to extol the virtue of a particular whip thus: “A nice whip with a long tail for that extra reach, and also makes a nice sound”; and another, “a flexible whip; makes a nice sweet sound”; and a third, “a long lightweight whip, produces a good whipping sound”. What of the pony on which these whips were tested and what of the players who should be penalised for using them? Perhaps the next step is to test-drive helmets – but who will be the brave soul who volunteers as the guinea pig?

Arthur Douglas-Nugent Midhurst

◗ PT would like to clarify that ponies didn’t take part in the assessment of last month’s whip – and thoroughly agrees with our esteemed columnist Arthur that the swish the whips made when swung around in the PT office was perhaps not terribly relevant!

The writer of the letter of the month wins a bottle of La Chamiza Argentine red wine

“This one sounds more like a swoosh than a swish” an insult too far: no way can polo be allowed to lose that much dignity, again the perfect answer is the Cernais and Drums (weird bagpipes without the bag) with their novelty, wildness and frenzy rising in intensity with the flow of play, an inseparable part of Gilgit polo. To quote Bruce Cowley, “the music intoxicates you, driving out fear, exhaustion, everything except the game”. Wild and lawless or not, bringing in its antiquity and remoteness would enhance the public’s definition and appreciation of the sport for what it is, and not a plaything of the rich; it

would certainly knock the elitism for six. Coming on to players I am not suggesting that they should all be Gilgit players but sufficient in numbers to control the game and show off their fantastic skills. As for 10-minute chukkas, theirs are 30 minutes, far more spectator-riveting than continual disruption. I may be sticking my neck out for ridicule at the mention of Gilgit polo but before you allow everyone to blow their tops, ask them to pause a moment and give the factors a thought. Besides, polo needs a kick up the .... – it has become hideously

rule-bound, regulation-strangled and prostituted by professionalism: gone are the days when it was played for the sheer thrill of the sport, and not slavery to winning and the cheque book. Think too, of the tremendous benefit bringing this polo to Hurlingham would be to Gilgit and the people of that whole remote Himalayan region who produce the teams which we’re told by Cowley numbered 27, no less, last year – and that is six a side. Major Mike Fraser Dunkeld, Perthshire


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Diana Wethered and Texano, originally bred in Chile for polo, take a giant leap

The Chilean chaser I normally stay incognito for fear of exposure of my and my horses’ double lives. So it came as a blow to my cover to find Col Justin Stanhope-White in the commentary box at the Taunton Vale Team Chase on a sunny Sunday in March. Like me, he had friends on polo ponies at this showcase event. This fixture is the Badminton of team chasing: massive, consistent and relentless. All three courses are up to height on fixed timber, over height on landing and with greenery to the sky – and there are no specifications on width of fences and ditches. The Open requires a bold, obedient and fast horse. What better to fit that description than a polo pony? Of course the “airborne ability” factor needs checking before you can expect your ball-chasing mount to leap in the air. In my case that had first been done by Lucinda Green, when I took my teenage son’s latest Chilean import, a four-yearold called Texano, to one of her cross-country clinics after I’d lost my jumping horse. Texano, bred by the Itturate family, was fresh off the plane having been earmarked by Giles Ormerod for his son, Eden. However, I’d liked the look of the horse and Giles had let me pinch him. At the clinic Lucinda rode Texano for 10 minutes and declared: “This horse has been to Badminton in a previous life!” The pony hadn’t been bought to jump, but a dual-purpose “Jack of all trades” quite suited the cheque book. Texano played club and Pony Club polo through to Gannon in 2007, but it became clear he could become master of his “other trade”. He’d learnt what he needed from

polo: to lead or stay behind; to be bold, brave, obedient and independent; to speed up or slow down when asked; not to be strong; to turn fast and cut corners – and most importantly, to look after himself. I found a replacement polo pony for my son, and Texano has proved Lucinda right – he flew unfalteringly round the Taunton Vale Open and is flourishing in his team-chasing career.

Diana Wethered Marlborough

◗ Diana is PC Polo branch manager for the Avon Vale and team chases with the Wishful Thinkers. ◗ Has your polo pony mastered more than one trade? Tell us by writing to letters@polotimes.co.uk Starting them young My husband, a keen polo player, and I relocated to New York a few months ago. We are missing UK polo, but have a NY club to go to now and will head to Palm Beach next month. This [below] is a totally unplanned picture of our 14-month-old baby girl, Jecca-Millie, with Polo Times. I thought your readers would enjoy it!

Lisa Cooper New York

Is this Polo Times’s youngest reader?

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Report Veuve Clicquot Barbados Open 2009

Drama at dusk

Photographs by James Mullan

With the collapse of Cow Williams in the subsidiary final, and an Argentine pro almost ordered off the field in the Open final, the action was far from laid back at the climax of the Bajan season at Clifton Polo, says James Mullan

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lifton Polo’s typically gregarious Bajan crowd were left with more to discuss than ever this March, as the 2009 Barbados Open culminated in a finals day peppered with talking points. It had it all: friends, team-mates and brothers facing off in a dramatic final; a nasty health scare; the pivotal retraction of a controversial umpiring decision; and a race against time to complete the day’s play ahead of the rapidly fading light. The health scare involved 76-year-old Sir Charles Williams, the man known as “Cow”, whose insatiable passion for polo with years of competition and ongoing support for the game internationally has made him one of the Caribbean’s best known personalities worldwide. With the subsidiary final hanging in the balance after three high-scoring end-to-end chukkas, Cow slumped from his saddle and fell to the floor as the teams assembled on the half-way line for the start of the fourth and final period. The panicked cries for help from the Argentine professionals immediately told the 600 or so of us on the sidelines that this was potentially serious. Given Cow’s age and that, by his own admission, he has “never been busier” in both his business and his polo lives, several spectators were left fearing the worst as the ambulance raced across the ground to his aid. After a long delay he was taken to the pony lines by paramedics and replaced for the last seven minutes by the umpire’s father, Philip Atwell, also an employee of Cow’s giant construction firm, CO Williams. To everyone’s relief, Cow recovered sufficiently to watch the rest of the match – in which his Courtesy Car Rental side held on to the one-goal advantage they had when he collapsed, eventually winning over Mount Gay 10-9. “It was my fault. I didn’t drink enough water,” Cow said later. “I can put it down to dehydration and a bit of heat stroke. I should have been more careful. But within an hour, my heartbeat and blood pressure were right back down to normal. I’m fine and definitely have no intention of stopping playing just yet.” X

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Lengthening shadows across the Clifton lawns during the final reminded players, spectators and organisers that they faced a race against time to finish play in daylight

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Report Veuve Clicquot Barbados Open 2009

Photographs by James Mullan

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The much-anticipated Open final followed swiftly on the heels of the subsidiary match. But after so many delays in a game punctuated by numerous fouls and Cow’s injury, the shadows were already growing long on the Clifton lawns before a ball had even been struck between Mercedes-Benz and Veuve Clicquot in the tournament’s showpiece silverware decider. Tongues were already wagging before the final too: the game would bring together two of Bajan polo’s most colourful players on opposite sides in a major tournament for the first time. Last year’s winners and usually the best of friends, Bruce Bailey, who owns Clifton Polo, and Philip Tempro normally play all their polo together. Like Cow, they are also both local construction moguls with a fiercely competitive streak by nature, something which was sure to make their domestic showdown as opponents rather than team-mates a gripping affair. In addition to this, interest amongst the travelling support in the crowd – which counted the Bajan Prime Minister David Thompson amongst its number – was generated by the clash of two brothers, in the shape of Juan Cruz Benoit and Matias Benoit, ensuring further that the two sides’ face-off was a palate-whetting prospect. The game did not disappoint. The polo itself was of a higher, cleaner standard than the at-times scrappy play of the subsidiary final and, like the earlier game, was also a match made memorable for one incident in

24 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Polo Times recommends…

Where to stay Polo Times enjoyed wonderfully relaxing accommodation this year at Reeds House, a collection of tasteful and spacious private beachside apartments available for short-term lease or rent, perfectly situated between Holetown and Speightstown on the beautiful west coast of the island. All apartments are fully furnished and comprehensively kitted-out, with a terrace or balcony giving out onto or overlooking a white, sandy and largely secluded beach. They are equally suitable for couples, families and groups; attention to detail is impressive and staff welcoming. Find out more at www.bajanservices.com or by calling +1 246 422 2618

Winners Mercedes-Benz (l-r): Louis Venezia, Philip Tempro, Nacho Acuna and Matias Benoit, who shows he has made up with umpire Martin Fewster (in grey). Fewster originally sent Benoit off before settling on a marginally more lenient punishment

particular. Fortunately this time it was not an injury or anyone falling ill. Rather, it was the confusion surrounding the sending-off that never was. Having just returned from a behavioural suspension in his native Argentina, the MercedesBenz team’s highest-handicapped professional, the volatile Matias Benoit, appeared to have been thrown out of the game by umpire Martin


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A British perspective Fewster for persistent fouling and backchat. However, both umpires must be in agreement for such a severe penalty and, in consultation with fellow British umpire Tom Morley (who had been knocked out of the tournament earlier in the week), Benoit was allowed to play on. “Martin made the initial call and, while it may have looked on the sidelines as though I overruled him, we decided that another severe penalty would be more appropriate,” said Morley. “So we moved the play from their own 30-yard line to a penalty on the 30-yard line at the other end of the field. And Matias was given a final warning. “No one really wanted to see him go, as we were all anxious to preserve the sporting edge we had seen beforehand and allow the sides to continue to make a real game of it.” Fewster revealed later that Gonzalo Fucci and Bruce Bailey of the Veuve Clicquot side had, in a particularly sportsmanlike gesture, also added their weight to the argument that another penalty would be more appropriate. “We didn’t want to play against three men,” said Fucci at the after-party. Sporting indeed, but it did them no favours. Just as commentator John Simpson announced news of the England cricket team’s collapse in X

Six-goal British professional Tom Morley has been visiting Barbados for the last three years to play polo for Sir Charles Williams. “Barbados is a fantastic place to play polo and is becoming more and more popular with many of the British pros. Players such as Malcolm Borwick, Jamie Le Hardy, Jonny Good, Ollie Taylor, Chris Hyde and Ed Hitchman are often here in the English spring and we all love the attitude to the game here. As pros, we’re expected to work hard but they certainly make sure you play hard too, which can make some of the early mornings here interesting! The polo is of an increasingly good standard as well and, behind Argentina and England as the two leading places to play, it’s where I love coming next. They’ve created what I can only describe as a ‘fun standard’, for both pros and patrons, where its always relaxed and enjoyable, but the polo is good as well.”

The patron’s view As well as being one the wealthiest men on Barbados, 76-year-old Sir Charles “Cow” Williams still plays in the island’s biggest tournaments and operates a polo club and base with over 120 horses in work. A self-made man, he began playing polo in 1962. “Barbados prides itself on fair polo, played at a decent standard. Our ponies are looking better and better here. My greatest satisfaction today is seeing ponies bred and schooled here on the island playing, and playing really well. Some patrons think you can’t do it locally but, with Jamie Dickson, over the last few years, we have produced some fantastic ponies. This is the first year in eight that I haven’t brought a single pony from Argentina. I would say I have a dozen home-bred horses here which could hold their own in the UK high-goal. The game is growing here, which I find really exciting. I want to grow it for my sons and grandchildren, and the clubs need to work together to that end and keep as much of polo’s money on the island as possible. I have a lot of affection for the Open in particular, as I won it in its inaugural year in 2004 with my two sons and a pro. We were the only team with just one professional, so that victory ranks as one of the real highlights of all my polo accomplishments.”

Action from the subsidiary final between Mount Gay (in red) and Courtesy Car Rental (in white). The game was disrupted by the collapse of Cow Williams just ahead of the final chukka

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Report Veuve Clicquot Barbados Open 2009

Clockwise from top: Cow Williams receives treatment from paramedics as his fellow players look on in concern; Gonzalo Fucci, Bruce Bailey and a groom pose alongside Rhumbera, the best playing pony in the final; winning patron Philip Tempro accepts the Barbados Open trophy from the Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson

X the second one-day test match against the West

Indies nearby, so too did it look as though Veuve Clicquot’s last chance of victory had tumbled with the potential lifeline of a man-advantage taken away. Further delay, in any case, would have presented another problem that would usually have borne far more relevance to the cricket – the light. The afternoon’s first game hadn’t begun until 3.30pm, because of the lunchtime heat in the Caribbean, and with the time out for Cow’s collapse and the protracted delay of the Benoit controversy, the last few chukkas of the final were contested in dim conditions. The deteriorating visibility towards the end made playing more challenging and, from the stands, rather damaged the spectacle of what should have been the tournament’s pièce de résistance. As it was, the four-man Mercedes-Benz side held off the attentions of the similarly weighted Veuve Clicquot team to win the 2009 Open, 7-5.

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Tempro triumphed over Bailey – owing much of his victory to some expert link-up play between the excitable Matias Benoit and the superb Nacho Acuna, who played well above his threegoal handicap. As darkness fell, the crowd proceeded to the after-party satisfied by an eventful day; the organisers already discussing next year. Should they start half an hour earlier? Or play the subsidiary final in the morning of the previous day? Either way, on the basis of this year’s drama, the island’s future as an exciting medium-goal venue looks assured. Polo on Barbados has experienced a wholesale rise in entries over the past 18 months. To buck the global trend organisers have been clever: quietly reducing tournament handicaps, creating a welcome environment for new patrons and reuniting the island’s four traditional polo venues to drive the game forward together. F

Barbados Open, 15-22 March 2009; Barbados Polo Club; Lion Castle Polo Estate; Clifton Polo Result: Mercedes-Benz beat Veuve Clicquot, 7-5 Principal sponsor: Veuve Clicquot Handicap level: 10-goal Number of team entries: six Chukka scores (Mercedes-Benz): 2-2; 5-3; 6-4; 7-5 Most valuable player: Nacho Acuna Best playing pony: Rhumbera, owned by Bruce Bailey and played by Gonzalo Fucci (see page 52) Final teams: Mercedez-Benz (10): Louis Venezia 0; Philip Tempro 2; Nacho Acuna 3; Matias Benoit 5 Veuve Clicquot (9): Rhys Odle -1; Bruce Bailey 1; Juan Cruz Benoit 3; Gonzalo Fucci 6 Subsidiary teams: Courtesy Car Rental (10): Adam Deane 1; Jamie Dickson 4; Jacinto Crotto 5; Sir Charles Williams 0 Mount Gay (10): Stewart Gill -1; Alex Cole 2; Luis Galvan 3; Martín Espain 6 Subsidiary most valuable player: Jamie Dickson


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Report Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge

Brits abroad descend on the desert A British feel prevailed at Desert Palm Polo Club’s showpiece game, while three teenage brothers stole the show against Young England, says Diana Butler he fourth Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge welcomed plenty of familiar faces this March. The teams for the main game featured several English patrons, not least the new chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers. Clive Reid and Sir Michael Rake were also in the fray, playing alongside Ali Albwardy’s sons Tariq and Rashid at their father’s Desert Palm Polo Club. To add to the home-from-home feeling, key members of staff from Guards Polo Club were also on site – under the command of CEO Charles Stisted – injecting an additional touch of tradition to this, the newest of the annual Cartier

Photographs courtesy of Guards Polo Club and Camilla Alfthan

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International fixtures that are played throughout the world. The weather played along too, providing players and spectators with rare black clouds for much of

The first ball of the game was thrown in from a magnificent Bentley the afternoon and ensuring the Anglo-feel couldn’t go unnoticed. The string of camels in Cartier rugs which led the teams onto the main ground at Desert Palm,

with Ali Albwardy’s Desert Palm Resort and Spa as an elegant backdrop, helped remind spectators where they really were. And, when a magnificent Bentley – this year a GTC Speed – drove onto the ground so that Bentley company director Christine Gaskell could throw in the first ball of the game, it was certain that we were in Dubai, not Windsor. (I can’t see the grounds committee at Guards allowing that one!) Ali Albwardy took a keen interest in both games, seated in the Royal Box alongside HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, who is president of the International Equestrian Federation as well as wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai. He must have been suitably impressed by the quality


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of polo in the early game – featuring a Bentleysponsored Young UAE team versus a Cartiersupported Young England Squad for the Desert palm Trophy at 3pm – because he made an unscheduled journey down from his box to present the most valuable player award. Thirteenyear-old Mohammed Bin Drai (see box, right), whose Young UAE team defeated the Young England squad 9-5, was the recipient. The La Martina MVP award in the main match of the day that followed was awarded to Ali’s youngest son Rashid after some great play for Qatar Airways. However, there was little to choose between Qatar, the eventual winners, and Emirates NBD (National Bank of Dubai) after the match was decided in an extra, fifth chukka. Umpire Oliver Ellis signalled for the extra period after the sides were locked at 5-5 at the end of the fourth chukka. Who would break the deadlock? Martin Valent supplied a fantastic pass for the Indian player Sanjay Kapur, who found the space between the flags, and we had our answer – Qatar took their second successive victory. During the presentation, Emirates NBD’s Rudolfo Ducos received the Cartier best playing pony blanket from Princess Haya, for his pony Rashud, whom he played in the third chukka. Afterwards, Cartier donated a cheque for 646,000 dirhams (more than £100,000) to Princess Haya for the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR). The jeweller’s generous donation will fund an educational programme for refugees in Zambia. F

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Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge, 27 March; Desert Palm Polo & Equestrian Centre, Dubai Result: Qatar Airways beat Emirates NBD, 6-5 Principal sponsor: Cartier Handicap level: 6-8 goals Number of team entries: two La Martina MVP: Rashid Albwardy Best playing pony: Rashud, owned and played by Rudolfo Ducos Cartier International Dubai Challenge teams: Qatar Airways (6): Sanjay Kapur 1; Rashid Albwardy 1; Martin Valent 4; Nick ColquhounDenvers 0 Emirates NBD (7): Clive Reid 0; Tariq Albwardy 1; Rudolfo Ducos 6; Sir Michael Rake 0 Desert Palm Trophy teams: Cartier Young England (-1): Tabitha Woodd -1 / Jack Taylor -1; Charlie Aprahamian -1; John Kent 1; Freddie Dear 0 Bentley Young UAE (-3): Mohammed Bin Drai -1; Halid Bin Drai 0; Faisal Al Rifal -2; Rashid Bin Drai 0 Most valuable player, Desert Palm Trophy: Mohammed Bin Drai

The Falcons fly again

In the 1980s Egypt’s Alex Ebeid set up the original Falcons polo team, which included such players as Ernesto Trotz and Howard Hipwood, writes Camilla Alfthan. Their success on the English and French polo scene (winning the Cowdray Park and Deauville Gold Cups) is the inspiration behind the name of the first and only family team in the Arab world, “the Dubai Falcons”. The team consists of the four Bin Drai brothers, one-goaler Saaed, 34, zerogoalers Rashid and Halid, both 16, and Mohammed, 13, a minus-one. Ebeid, a friend of the family, introduced the eldest brother to the sport at an early stage and encouraged him to start playing. Saeed explains: “I only started 11 years ago, from scratch and with no riding experience, just like my brothers did later, in 2005. The riding was tough and painful but as soon as I had the mallet in my hand and hit a few balls the feeling was great.” Before polo, Saeed played racket sports and competed in jet-ski championships. Today, polo has taken over – he stables 30 horses at Ali Albwardy’s Desert Palm Polo Club, where he and his three half-brothers, who are still at school, play polo up to four times a week. The foursome has already played together in Dallas and all over England, and Saeed has now played eight times in Argentina, where he won the Bronze Cup at Ellerstina in 2006 with his team, Polo Dubai. In England, one of his main highlights was playing with Ali Albwardy against Prince Charles the year the prince decided to retire. In the UK, the brothers base their polo operations out of their farm in Pegglesworth, Gloucestershire, where they have 24 horses. Last summer, they played nearly all the six- to eight-goal tournaments in the area and won the six-goal Doug Brown Cup at Cirencester Park. They analyse each of their matches afterwards with their three-goal professional, Nicolás Petracchi. Back in Dubai, there is not yet an organisation that encourages matches between the clubs. However, the Desert Palm has more than 30 members who play regular small tournaments. Cartier International Day is already the big one of the year and the three youngest brothers played against Young England again in 2009, for the third time in a row. This was the first year they won.

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Report Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial Trophy

Hizan shines bright in Sotogrande sun Tony Ramirez reports on the spring season in southern Spain, in which two dynamic sides emerged in a class of their own to build a lively rivalry ix teams entered the 30th annual Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial Trophy, played for last month at Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande, Spain. The tournament is a tribute to the late Jose Ignacio Domecq Gonzalez, locally renowned as a wine maker and an excellent polo player. Domecq, who was born in Jerez in 1914 and died there in 1997, reached a handicap of five goals and was still playing off two goals at the age of 76. Four of his seven children and two of his grandchildren inherited his love of polo and their activity in the game, as players and coaches, has ensured the survival of the family tradition to this day and boosted the Spanish game in so doing. As with many tournaments, organisers were forced by the current financial recession to drop the handicap level of their leading section, lowering it from 10-12 goals to 8-10 goals, and dispense with the 2-5-goal section altogether. However, while they lost the five teams from this low-goal section, the medium-goal still attracted as many team entries as in 2008 and brought with it players from Spain, England, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina and Belgium. Spectators were already familiar with many of them, having seen those of team Scapa/John Smith emerge victorious in the Conde de Guaqui Memorial Trophy, the opening tournament of the Sotogrande spring season, just a couple of weeks earlier. The same team had played under the name of Navalagua and had impressed, so they seemed the obvious contenders to watch out for as the seven days of the Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial Trophy got underway. Sixteen matches later and, sure enough, the Scapa/John Smith team had another shot at victory as they lined up for the final in brilliant sunshine on the Los Pinos grounds. However, their opponents would be the same side they only narrowly beat a few weeks earlier – team Hizan. Both teams arrived at the final undefeated but Hizan made a surprise change of player ahead of

Photographs by Tony Ramirez

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The victorious Hizan team of (l-r) Juan Losada, Pablo Mora, Gabriel Gomez and Adrian Gonzalez

their showdown, giving them an extra goal on handicap before the ball was even thrown in to start the match. However, it looked to have backfired when Scapa/John Smith overcame their narrow advantage quite easily to finish the first

Organisers chopped the handicap level and attracted as many team entries as in 2008 chukka ahead, 4-1. But Hizan came back strongly in the second, scoring four goals of their own to regain the lead, 5-4. Hizan then continued to take control of the match thereafter and had their revenge for defeat in the previous tournament, eventually prevailing 14-10. Britons Nacho Gonzalez and Richard Fagan were on the victorious Billingbear Park side – whose patron is Swede Roger Carlsson – in the subsidiary final of the tournament, where they beat Santa Quiteria, 12-10. All six teams joined together for the presentations in the two-storey pavilion tent at Los

Pinos, where a reception followed, in which players, patrons, families, sponsors and spectators enjoyed drinks and tapas in true Spanish style. Hizan went on to taste victory again over Scapa/John Smith a week later. In the final tournament of the 8-10-goal Sotogrande spring season, the Doña Maria de las Mercedes Memorial, Hizan took the bragging rights over their closest rivals with a 13-11 win in the final, beating three other teams to the last title of the spring. F Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial Trophy; 3-12 April 2009; Santa Maria Polo Club, Sotogrande, Spain Result: Hizan beat Scapa/John Smith, 14-10 Principal sponsors: Nespresso; Taittinger Champagne; Julian Chivite Wines Handicap level: 8-10 Number of team entries: six Chukka scores (Hizan): 1-4; 5-4; 8-6; 11-7; 12-8; 14-10 Final teams: Hizan (9): Pablo Mora 1; Gabriel Gomez 2; Adrian Gonzalez Melero 1; Juan Losada 5 Scapa/John Smith (10): Mateo Velasco 2; Michael Redding 2; Martin Iturraspe 5; Gabriel Aguirre 1


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Gabriel Gomez in action in the 8-10-goal final

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Report SUPA National Schools Arena Championships

A Wycliffe College pupil takes the ball on her near side during action from division two of the National Senior Schools competition on Sunday 15 March

Fledgling talents display promise and passion Anything the university students can do, the schoolchildren will try and do better, says SUPA’s Lucy Northmore after witnessing them in action ot to be outdone by the swelling number of teams at the National University Arena Championships in February (see Polo Times, April), this spring Longdole Polo Club welcomed a record number of school-age participants in idyllic conditions over four consecutive weekends for some 144 chukkas in SUPA’s schools arena tournament. In the series, sponsored by Roxtons and the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, several hundred players were involved in six separate co-ordinated events, the first of which was the National Senior Schools Intermediate Tournament for over 13s. Teams from eight schools set the tone for the schools arena season, with six of the eight fielding two sides each, despite the fact that this weekend’s action took place during half term, on

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Sunday 22 February. Cheltenham College were the winners again this year but, given this strength of demand, the organisers have committed to moving the weekend of the intermediate section back into term time in 2010, so even stronger competition is to be expected.

Britain’s young lady players took centre stage the following weekend, as Longdole’s arena played host to the National Girls’ Schools Tournament. Millfield’s girls were the winners as a record 15 schools entered teams, with some establishments fielding up to five sides. Women’s

The quality and enthusiasm of players from the girls’ schools indicates the boys had better watch out The Combined Schools Tournament also took place on this first Sunday, giving individual players the opportunity to form teams with other schools players, with six schools mixing to play fun-filled, exciting polo in front of a good crowd. Ashley Pulleyn, Saskia Meadows and Ben Freeman combined this year to take the spoils.

polo has been booming lately within the adult game, and the quality and enthusiasm of the players suggests they’ll be just as keen when they come of age. If this tournament is setting any precedent, then the boys had better watch out. A week later six schools fielded good X newcomer teams in the Seniors’ Novice


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1. Millfield Ladies, winners of the Girls’ Schools tournament on Sunday 1 March

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2. Action from Sunday 8 March, when the Junior and Novice sections took to the Longdole arena in the morning and afternoon respectively 3. Rugby School, winners in the Senior Novice section, with Jilly Emerson of SATS 4. Senior players from Wycliffe College accept their prizes on the final day of the SUPA National Arena Schools Championships All photographs by Michael Chevis

Senior school results

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Division 1 – National Champions 1st – Millfield 2nd – Bloxham 3rd – Marlborough College 4th – Wellington College 5th – Harrow 6th – Cheltenham College 7th – Stowe 8th – Pangbourne Division 2 1st – Shrewsbury 2nd – Milton Abbey 3rd – Rugby 4th – Wycliffe College 5th – Dauntsey’s 6th – Heathfield Division 3 (played as a round-robin) Winners – Cheltenham Ladies’ College 2nd Place – St Barts 3rd Place – Wycombe Abbey

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Individual prizes Most valuable player (seen to have contributed to the team effort): FiFi Watson Most promising player: Hugo Lewis (Pangbourne)

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Report SUPA National Schools Arena Championships SUPA news in brief ◗ POLO WAS ON DISPLAY at the British University Equestrian Games at Arena UK in Lincolnshire (16-17 April) after the universities section of SUPA was invited to showcase the sport there. University players represented England, Wales, Scotland and France in front of hundreds of university and school students as part of SUPA’s mandate to promote polo. ◗ THE SCHOOLS ALUMNI POLO Association (SAPA) took centre stage at Chantilly Polo Club, France, over the Easter weekend. A special alumni tournament hosted teams from Sweden, Italy and the UK. ◗ LYCETTS’ SPONSORSHIP of SAPA has supported the creation of the new alumni association and, importantly, has paved the way for an annual grant supplement for SUPA, with the first grant cheque presented by Piers Plunkett of Lycetts to SUPA Chairman Charles Betz this March. A percentage of all memberships and tournament entries will be presented to SUPA as a grant each year to support the growth of schools and universities players.

Top: National Champions Millfield School (l-r: John Kent; Fifi Watson; Max Hutchinson) with coach Jeremy Barber and Steph from Roxtons. Above: Intermediate Champions Cheltenham College (l-r: Rishi Ahluwalia; James Meyrick; Thady Duff) with Jilly Emerson from SATS

X Tournament on Sunday 8 March. Bradfield,

Cheltenham Ladies College, Dean Close, LuckleyOakfield, Rugby and Wellington each showed great promise and some of their players already look likely to give the more seasoned sides a run for their money in future years. Defending champions Rugby were the winners for the second successive year. There were also 18 teams of under 13s entered in the National Junior Schools

players from around the UK taking part, the standard this year was high. It was the most competitive and compelling tournament to date, in which it could be argued that, on their day, any one of the top schools in division one could have been crowned the champions. For no school was this more true than Bloxham, who lost out cruelly to eventual winners Millfield in a tense shoot-out in the

Bloxham lost out cruelly to Millfield in a tense shoot-out, a last resort to settle the championship Tournament on 8 March. Eight schools formed division one, with a series of combined teams making up divisions two and three. Papplewick were the eventual winners. The SUPA National Arena Schools Championships culminated on 15 March with the jewel in the schools polo crown, the National Senior Schools Open. With the best senior school

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final, a last resort used to settle the championship after the two sides couldn’t be separated in normal time. Across the three divisions in the National Senior Schools Open Tournament, seen in the results box (previous page), 17 teams – including several mixed and all-girls sides – combined to produce some excellent polo.

◗ SELECTION FOR the fourth SUPA International Festival (6-11 July) is to take place on 21 June. SUPA officials – in conjunction with Wellington College and Heathfield School – will host a Schools Polo Trial for players from invited schools at Ascot Park to determine who will play at the festival, which is sponsored by Cadenza and La Martina. SUPA will invite all participating member schools to select one or two pupils (a boy and a girl in the case of mixed schools) to participate in the trials. For terms of participation and selection criteria, the schedule for the day and additional information please email supapolo@btinternet.com or refer to the website www.supa.org.uk

Some genuine talent shone through and their performances bode well for the grass season ahead, where the best of these players will really get the opportunity to open up and show us what they’ve got. The four weeks-worth of competition this year once again illustrated the growth of junior polo. Behind the scenes, the number of new school-age students taking lessons and enjoying HPA-qualified coaching made available through their schools is really encouraging. The chance to play at school, supported by SUPA’s programmes and grants, has opened the sport up dramatically to a cross-section of individuals from both the private and public sectors. Polo clubs around the UK are also still experiencing strong demand from youngsters wanting to learn, despite the recession, and the numbers of people building up their game towards a competitive level of polo continues to rise. It is surely a sign of good things to come. F


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Reports Around the world

Jamaica

Brits sneak Caribbean thriller in the sunshine arlier this year Tim Bown led a Rutland-based UK contingent to play a fortnight’s polo in Jamaica. The side included Tom Gilks (2), Tomas Collie (2), his brother Marcus (2), and their captain Tim Bown, who was playing off his Jamaican handicap of four goals. Kindly lent horses by Paul Lalor, Mark Wates, Joel Azam, James Robertson and Jonathon and Anna Dougall, the Brits secured a tightly-fought victory in the sixchukka match against their hosts in late February. The showdown was the climax of their tour, following two weeks spent playing and practising in the heat at Kingston Polo Club. Despite the laid-back nature of life at the club and the fact that the British invasion came so early in their season, the polo was fast and furious. Bown and co ran out to a 6-2 lead by half-time but were pinned back in the final three chukkas. They were relieved as the final bell sounded, signalling their narrow victory, 6-5, and the win meant the Brits retained the John Tinsley Silver Salver for the second successive year.

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Tim Bown holds the John Tinsley Silver Salver at the presentation at Kingston Polo Club, where his Rutland-based team (in blue) beat their hosts 6-5

Thailand

Elephants play to support their own ollowing several days of intense action, the finals of the 2009 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament played out the way many had expected – with a resounding victory for Audemars Piguet. They emerged as the clear favourites after strong performances throughout the week in the tournament played at the Anantara Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, in Thailand. All seven of Audemars’ goals came via the sure-handed finishing of the Indian player Uday Kalaan, often assisted by his brother Angaad. Their teamwork on finals day overpowered the defence of runners-up SOCO International, who managed just a single goal via the stick of experienced elephant polo player Taweesak Keereekaew. Indeed, the Audemars defence at times looked entirely impenetrable, thanks to a dominant and accomplished performance from goalkeeper Peter Prentice. The side celebrated their victory with the other teams at the traditional “Touch of Opium” riverside gala, held for the first time in 2009 on the field of play. Players and guests enjoyed a dinner beneath the stars and between them raised nearly two million Thai baht for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

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The winners, Audemars Piguet, hold their sticks aloft (l-r: Angaad Kalaan, Peter Prentice, Oliviero Bottinelli and Uday Kalaan)

Canada

Bi-polar polo – sun and snow in equal measure or six months of the year, polo amid the rugged beauty of Calgary in Alberta looks like an impossible dream. It’s hard to imagine pristinely maintained grass fields under three feet of snow but, as spring blossoms, suddenly things begin to look very different. With the arrival of May, the grounds have reappeared and, by 15 June, Calgary Polo Club’s grounds director Tim Mills will have eight playing fields in tip-top shape, ready for action. By July, the season’s visiting players from California, Florida, Uruguay, Mexico and Argentina (rated between 0-6 goals) will have arrived. This summer, Calgary will host a 2-4-goal league and a 10-12-goal league. Coaching games, a ladies’ league and “pee-wee” (junior) polo will also take place on a weekly basis. The club’s biggest tournaments take place in August, with the official season ending at the end of the month. However, casual play, practices and lessons for Calgary’s local members continue into October – until the first sign of snow!

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Calgary Polo Club’s grounds in winter and summer

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Reports Around the clubs

Rutland

When rates drop, moods lift utland Polo Club’s new chairman Rupert Heggs has implemented many changes since taking the reins from Edwin de Lisle in December. Most importantly, a reduction in membership fees has made playing polo at the club the cheapest it has been for 10 years. Meanwhile, Lesley Maxfield Gullet is organising Sunday club matches for the season, with members of other clubs able to join in by prior arrangement. Polo manager Joe North was in buoyant mood when Polo Times asked for their latest, reporting that Rutland’s grounds had wintered well and were all set for the coming season. The new third field has been used very lightly for the past two seasons and should finally be fit for more rigorous play this year. The club’s major tournament this summer, the 2-6-goal Assam Cup, is to be played from 9-12 July, with a lunch on the Sunday for the Red Cross.

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Action at Rutland, whose new chairman has reduced fees, and its Assam Cup

Kinross

Players prefer Scotland’s beaches in winter inross has had a very busy winter season, despite prolonged bouts of cold weather. When the arena froze, which was fairly regularly, members and guests headed to St Andrews beach, conveniently only a stone’s throw for the student members, allowing them to fall out of bed on a Sunday morning and play chukkas. For those who couldn’t cope with the cold, seven members once again travelled to La Mariposa in Argentina for some intense training and winter sun. The club is already looking forward to a bigger and even better trip next year. In the meantime, the management at Kinross is attempting to start the summer season on the best foot possible, by banishing those bad habits before they begin. The club has arranged for Rege Ludwig to provide coaching clinics to all members, and players from all over Scotland are invited to book in for sessions to improve their game. With so little time for a break between the arena and grass seasons, players are already turning their attention to their fitness and technique for the summer and it looks like being an encouraging season, despite the economy.

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Student players, who could almost fall out of bed onto West Sands

Cirencester Park

Excitement builds, and they’re off! he 2009 season at Cirencester Park Polo Club has been one of the most anticipated for years and kicked off on Saturday 25 April with the Cirencester 0-40 goal tournament. The fixture list is looking busy, with polo as always scheduled for players and teams of all abilities. Much of the anticipation, however, relates to the excitement surrounding the new-look Warwickshire Cup in 2009. With several new brands showing serious interest in sponsorship thanks to the increased media interest and exposure, it is set to be a big hit in its new slot on the HPA calendar. The festivities include the inaugural gala dinner on Saturday 1 August, as well as a host of trade stands and lunches throughout the tournament. The culmination of the action arrives in what will be a hugely anticipated highgoal final on Sunday 6 August. Joining the club’s existing partners, Ciren has also forged new relationships with several local and national companies, including: Steppes Travel, Goldsmiths Jewellers, Forum Designs and the Wild Duck Inn.

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High-goal action from last year’s Warwickshire Cup at the Gloucestershire club

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Feature Europe’s polo hotspots

Herbert Spencer takes a tour of some of the more intriguing venues on the Continent, where polo is booming in an astonishing number of venues

aking the “Grand Tour” in the 19th century was de rigueur for wellheeled English travellers who entrained to visit the great cities across the English Channel, from Paris to Rome, Florence, Venice and Vienna. Then, within just a few years of polo reaching England from the East in 1869, “the game of kings” was added to the attractions of museums, churches and monuments for English equestrians touring on the Continent. Polo was first played at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, in 1872; Dieppe, France, 1880; Hungary, 1888; Paris, 1892; Hamburg, 1896. By the early 20th century the sport had spread throughout Europe, from the Channel to the Caucasus. Today it is played from Portugal to Poland, Sweden to Greece. The Federation of International Polo (FIP) lists 18 polo-playing nations on the Continent, some in the early stages of development and most only with competition up to medium-goal level. Here is Polo Times’s own “Grand Tour” of some of them.

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France Polo de Paris, where play started in 1892, remains one of the world’s most elegant clubs. Situated near the Longchamp racetrack in the Bois de Boulogne (the capital’s equivalent of Hyde Park), it has one ground and you will only see up to medium-goal there. What you will also see is tout Paris – the crème-de-la-crème of Parisian society – sipping Champagne on the terraces of the charming old clubhouse as they watch tournaments, including, this year, the 115th Open de Paris (6-28 June).

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About an hour’s drive to the north is Chantilly, France’s famous “Capital of the Horse” with its magnificent chateau, monumental stables and equestrian museum. A few minutes away is the country’s largest polo centre, the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly. Patrick Guerrand-Hermès, now president of FIP, founded it in 1995 on one of the great farms of the Chantilly chateâu. There are nine grass grounds, two sand arenas for winter polo and stabling for some 200 ponies, many of which come from Patrick’s own breeding operation in Morocco. The club is host to the 16-goal Jaeger-LeCoultre Open de France (5-20 September).

You’ll see up to mediumgoal – and tout Paris in the charming clubhouse Over on the Channel coast, Deauville is France’s most famous venue and its only highgoal club (see box overleaf). Polo has also just been revived at the seaside resort of Le Touquet, south of Calais. To the south, amid the vast salt beds on the Atlantic Coast near La Baule, lies Brittany Polo Club, owned by Jean-François Decaux, who plays UK high-goal. The club has three grounds and an arena, and its members and visitors also sometimes play on the beach at La Baule. On the Mediterranean’s Côte d’Azur, the St Tropez Polo Club plays up to medium-goal on Santiago Laborde celebrates a win at Santa Maria Polo Club its two grounds outside the village of Gassin X in 2007 for new local club Ayala, also based in Sotogrande


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European explosion: flags denote countries that are members of the Federation of International Polo

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Photographs by Tony Ramirez, Salvador Moreno, Brittany Polo Club and swiss-image.ch

Feature Europe’s polo hotspots

Clockwise from top: the Guerande salt marshes beyond Brittany Polo Club; action on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda; teams line up in the alpine setting of Gstaad

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near the port of St Tropez. The interior of its clubhouse looks very much like a London gentleman’s club. Players traditionally parade through the streets of Gassin and the highlight of the season is the 15-goal Gold Cup in September.

Spain The Santa Maria Polo Club on the Costa del Sol is the country’s biggest and the only one with highgoal (see box, right), but in recent years a number of new clubs have sprung up in sunny Andalucia, from Sotogrande to Seville to Cadiz. Englishmen engaged in the sherry trade first introduced polo to the Continent at Jerez de la Frontera just three years after it began in England. The Polo Club de Xerez has been largely dormant for many years but still occasionally holds matches on municipal sports grounds. A new venue is Polo del Sol, run by Ali Abidi at the Jerez Country Club 20 minutes from the town.

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The club has three grounds, with a clubhouse and large indoor arena due for completion this year. Iñigo Zobel, whose father the late Filipino philanthropist Enrique Zobel, started polo at Sotogrande, has been developing his Ayala Polo Club on the family estate near the resort. Ayala has three polo grounds and stabling for 250 ponies. Ayala also stages equestrian events. Meanwhile, in the north, the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona is located in the middle of the country’s second largest city. The club, which got its royal charter in 1897, is a sports complex offering equestrianism, hockey and tennis as well as polo. The annual 12-goal Barcelona Polo Classic is scheduled for 8-17 May.

Germany The world’s most spectacular polo ground is that at Maifeld in Berlin, where the sport was last played in the Olympics in 1936. Maifeld, with

stands seating up to 250,000, is part of the monumental Olympic complex built by Hitler for the last games before World War II. Berlin’s Prussia Polo Club has been instrumental in securing permission to stage the medium-goal German Open at Maifeld in 2010. Polo started in Germany in 1896 at Hamburg Polo Club, where it is still played – along with tennis and hockey. Near Hamburg, the Winter family’s North Germany Polo Club has three grounds and stabling for 120 ponies, some from the breeding operation of Klaus Winter and his sons.

Switzerland St Moritz Polo Club is famous for its annual snow tournament that started in 1985, but polo was first played there on grass in 1899 by British army officers. Gstaad Polo Club is another snow venue, but there is also grass polo there. Other


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Summer high-goal on the Continent Santa Maria Polo Club, Sotogrande, Spain Polo was first played in Sotogrande in 1965. Its season is year round, with major events at Easter (see page 30) and in August. It has nine grounds, six in Sotogrande and three at nearby Puente de Hierro. Its major international summer tournaments this year run from 27 July to 30 August, with Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups at 19-20-goal, 10-12goal and 4-6-goal levels.

Deauville, France Polo was first played in Deauville in 1892. Its season is restricted to August. Its two grounds, which are in the middle of the racetrack, have been recently improved and the club has recently become “twinned” with Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire. The Lucien Barrière Deauville Polo Cups take place from 28 July to 26 August, with the Gold Cup at 18-20-goal and the Silver Cup at 10-12.

Clockwise from top: Porto Cervo, Sardinia; Luis Estrada of Santa Maria Polo Club with Sarah Ferguson; a gathering at Brittany Polo Club; Sotogrande from the air

clubs that play during the summer, with Swiss championships at low- and medium-goal levels, are Veytay near Geneva, Polo Park in Zurich and Bern in the nation’s capital.

Benelux Polo came late to the Netherlands with the first match staged by a sports promoter with imported players in 1988. Now the country has four clubs with some 70 players and a Dutch Polo Tour, points-based on 20 of its lower-goal tournaments, to give annual ratings to players. In neighbouring Belgium the most important event is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polo Masters in September, staged at Antwerp, where polo was played in the 1920 Olympics.

Italy Italy’s annual triple Gold Cup series began with snow polo at Cortina d’Ampezzo in February and

moves south to the island of Sardinia this month. American billionaire Tom Barrack, whose firm Colony Capitol bought the Costa Smeralda resort originally developed by the Aga Khan, was largely responsible for bringing polo to the island. The Julius Bär Gold Cup is scheduled there for 24 May to 1 June. Midway between Florence and Rome on Tuscany’s Monte Argentario peninsula, the Argentario Polo Club with two grounds will stage its 15-goal Gold Cup in September.

Central and Eastern Europe The wind of democratic change that swept the old Soviet bloc of countries after the fall of Communism at the end of the 20th century also brought with it revivals of polo in traditional horse countries in the region. Today the sport is played in Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the newest member of FIP.

The German player Uwe Zimmerman is a prime mover in what was, before World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Zimmerman is founder of La Estancia Polo Club at Etyke outside Budapest, an area known for its vineyards. At the Buksza Polo Club in Poland, 33km from Warsaw, Paul Olbrych uses Argentine grooms to train up local Thoroughbreds for use in its polo school or to sell to members. Just south of Vienna, the Baron Drasche’s Schloss Ebreichsdorf Polo Club offers a picturesque venue dominated by his ancient Schloss or castle. This year the clubs of Central and East Europe are organising a medium-goal tour which includes Buksza Polo Club, Warsaw, 22-24 May; Prague (venue to be confirmed), 28-30 May; Bratislava (Slovakia) at Schloss Ebreichsdorf Polo Club, Vienna, 5-7 June; and La Estancia Polo Club, Budapest, 12-14 June. F

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Feature Embryo transfer in the UK

As the Beaufort Embryo Transfer clinic expands and a burgeoning West Sussex set-up enters its second season, James Mullan and Yolanda Carslaw visit the pioneers behind them, Emma Tomlinson and Charles Beresford

Above: Emma Tomlinson (left) with the stallion Open Maestro, a two-year-old bred by Gonzalo Pieres; and Charles Beresford (right) with the stallion Clark, who is out of the Ellerston mare Claret Below: a springtime frolic, pre-pregnancy, for the recipient mares at Beaufort Embryo Transfer

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mma Tomlinson, a fully qualified Cambridge veterinary graduate and two-goal player, founded the Beaufort Embryo Transfer centre in the grounds of the Beaufort, her family’s Gloucestershire polo club, in 2002. In their first year, the centre took 33 embryos from 17 donor mares, resulting in 26 pregnancies. Seven seasons later and this year Emma hopes the Beaufort Embryo Transfer centre will achieve as many as 100 pregnancies, despite the difficult economic climate. They managed 75 last year, from 78 donor mares and a total of 96 recovered

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“I feel confident we will be able to handle up to 500 transfers a season within the next 10 years” – Emma Tomlinson embryos, and have begun the process in 2009 six weeks earlier than in previous years, with 19 donors already accounted for before the season proper has even begun. In the next few months the centre is moving from an old farm building with two examination stocks to a purpose-built 1,584 square-metre development with eight examination stocks –

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currently under construction. The expansion marks the growing success of an increasingly sophisticated phase in equine breeding. “Horse breeding in the UK across all disciplines has been badly done for far too many years,” said Emma. “Embryo transfer allows you to breed from the best and, as people begin to see more and more ET progeny playing polo or achieving success in other equine disciplines, the process will be self-advertising. Especially seeing as people don’t bother to spend the money breeding this way from horses that aren’t any good! “We expect to continue expanding and, with the new facilities, I feel confident we will be able to handle up to 500 transfers a season within the next 10 years.” The Beaufort Embryo Transfer Centre has produced close to 200 foals since 2002 and now employs Emma and 12 staff: “I’d rather not say 13 – you always have to be slightly superstitious, as anyone who works with embryos will know,” she jokes. There are three qualified vets who undertake the transfers: Fernando Riera (whose Doná Pilar embryo transfer business performs 1,200 transfers in Argentina annually); Riera’s long-term colleague Marcelo Campos; and Emma. The eldest progeny of the centre are six years old now, so there are an increasing number that can be seen on the wider polo circuit. Three of Emma’s entirely homebred main string of 12 for

How to get your mare in foal by embryo transfer 1. Find a recipient mare 2. Syncronise the oestrous cycles of the donor and recipient mares 3. Inseminate donor mare just prior to ovulation (monitored by rectal examination every three to six hours) 4. Flush embryos from womb of donor mare between six and eight days after ovulation 5. Transfer recovered embryo to womb of recipient as soon as possible (minutes rather than hours) 6. Nurture recipient mare for 18 months, through gestation and the foal’s early upbringing

this coming season have come directly out of the centre’s work, and she has a further three playing ponies in Argentina in her best string there. Other recipients of foals from the centre’s transfers include the Hanbury’s El Remanso high-goal side, Ellerston, the now defunct Los Tamaraos team and several of the Tomlinson high-goal strings. Perhaps the centre’s greatest success story is the tale of the UK’s first set of identical triplets, X

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Feature Embryo transfer in the UK

Left: recipient mares in their new paddocks at Beaufort Embryo Transfer (BET). Above: the new clinic that’s under construction at BET, which is due for completion in the next few months

Photographs by Yolanda Carslaw and James Mullan

What it costs There are a number of costs to consider when deciding to undertake an embryo transfer: stud fees for stallion used in insemination; whether to use fresh, chilled or frozen semen; the cost of the procedure; subsequent pregnancy scans; the rent of the recipient mare and her keep charges. Not all of these will necessarily be required, especially if clients have a suitable recipient mare of their own but, on average, one can expect the complete cost of an embryo transfer to be between £2,500 and £3,500.

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a mare only in the country for five weeks. Another is the story of Zorro, a stallion owned by Steph Gore and frequently used for breeding at the Beaufort - himself the progeny of the transfer centre and by the bloodlines of Kerry Packer’s famous pony, Forrest. The new facilities will expand from 60 acres of grazing to 150 and Emma predicts that, if technological developments in the next 10 years can improve as they have in the last decade, it will soon be a commercially available possibility to freeze embryos in the UK to take to Argentina and vice versa. Eventually, she says, it will even be possible to sex pregnancies reliably. harles Beresford set up the Sport Horse Embryo Centre in West Sussex at Great Trippetts, where he is manager, last year in partnership with Trippetts owner and Broncos patron George Milford Haven. The centre achieved 33 pregnancies last year, for high- and medium-goal clients, including teams such as Ellerston and Geebung, as well as for their own mares. All four of the centre’s stallions (see advertisement, opposite) were used, and the first foals are due this summer – although the centre can collect from other stallions, too. “I’d seen a few places in Argentina, such as the MacDonoughs’ La Irenita,” says Charles. “I felt there was a demand in the Midhurst district. It’s not going to take off overnight, but

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a surprising amount of people want to do it, and in our first year we had a success rate of almost 80 per cent.” Argentine vet Dr Cristian Sporleder, who has been involved at La Irenita and at the Tanoiras’ embryo centre, is in charge, working with local vets from the Middleton and Hennessey Practice. “You need the experts and the timing,” says Charles. “You get two or three recipients

“Mares that have been in England longer have been easier to get ovulating than those that arrived recently” – Charles Beresford ready: they must be exactly right, and ready for the egg – the preciseness of that is important, and the mares have to be right on the inside, as well as quiet – if you have a crazy recipient it affects the foal. Trippetts can provide recipient mares, or the client can. We’ve also found that mares that had been here longer were easier to get ovulating and working properly than ones that had come to England more recently.” Charles is keeping a close eye on progress in Argentina, where thousands of embryos are taken every year and there are about 20 commercial centres.

“In Argentina you have mothers playing in the same chukkas as their progeny because the mares are still competing and it doesn’t affect their training. “Their system is to do it after the Open, when they still have three months of summer left. But after our season we don’t have that time. This year we’re starting earlier – as they are at the Beaufort – so mares can come in during their training. “The other thing that’s happening over there is that mares don’t even have to leave home to have embryos taken. “From the Tanoiras’ centre, the vets go out to mares and inseminate them; bring back the embryo and inseminate the recipient mares. It’s possible to do the entire process at your stables. In the Pilar Chico area, that’s how it’s going.” And the future? “I think it will be developed further so embryos can travel. For the Argentine players, the idea would be to take embryos from their playing ponies in the UK, freeze them and put them in recipient mares at home in Argentina. In a few years this will be possible. For us, there’s also the option to do embryo transfer for other disciplines.” F ◗ Beaufort Embryo Transfer Centre: 01666 840423; www.beaufortembryotransfer.com ◗ Sport Horse Embryo Centre: 07768 508831; charles@trippetts.com


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PERSONAL ESCORT

RECTOR

by MR PROSPECTOR – DANCE NUMBER.

This Chilean bred stallion won BPP in the Chilean Open, played by G Donoso. In UK Rector played the Queens Cup, Gold Cup and the Coronation Cup. Full brother to Africana, winner of BPP in the Prince of Wales Cup. First crop playing well.

Sire of many top New Zealand bred polo ponies, notably SPOOK played by Pablo Macdonough for Broncos.

– by MR LONG (TB).

MR COFFEE - by KUNDAKI. This Argentine bred stallion played in the USA with E Panelo and then in the UK for G Donoso, winning BPP in the Warwickshire Cup and playing many seasons in the Queens Cup and Gold Cup. He was a top horse when Gabriel led Chile to victory in the Coronation Cup. His first crop is now being broken in.

CLARK – by NIGHT OPERA (TB AUS) - out of CLARET. SIRE - 'Night Opera' Brown/black Australian TB DAM - 'Claret' - 'Monty' - 'Pinky' 'Claret' - Champion pony at Ellerston 2005. Played in the Argentine Open 2005 with Gonzalito Pieres. Champion Pony at Cowdray Gold Cup 2006. Full sister to 'Burgundy' and 'Champagne'. Half sister to 'Dinghy' and 'Shiraz'. All playing for Ellerston UK.


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The knowledge Duty vet Mark Emerson MRCVS of Thames Valley Equine Clinic is a three-goal, fifth-generation polo player and equine vet

Unraveling the mysteries of embryo transfer Embryo transfer is fast becoming an increasingly popular means of breeding polo ponies, because it allows mares to play and reproduce and owners to breed from their best mares again and again ost polo players have heard of embryo transfer and are aware that it is an increasingly popular technique employed to breed polo ponies. But what does this form of breeding achieve and how does the process actually work? Unlike other equestrian pursuits, up to 80 per cent of horses used for polo are mares. Regardless of the reasons for this, there is an inevitable demand for foals from the best mares. Traditionally this was achieved at the end of a mare’s polo career when they were no longer able to play as well. The downside was that such older mares were less fertile and unlikely to have more than one or two foals before becoming completely barren. Other polo brood mares were often younger ones that had broken down, with the risk that they might pass on the same weaknesses to their offspring.

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Above: an embryo as viewed under a microscope. Left: daily trans-rectal examinations with an ultrasound scanner are employed to determine likely ovulation days

Photographs courtesy of Mark Emerson

Advantages of breeding by embryo transfer When embryo transfer first emerged as a viable breeding tool, polo breeders in Argentina embraced the idea as it had clear advantages. In essence they could breed from their top young mares without disrupting their playing careers by having surrogate mares carry their foals for them during pregnancy and to continue to nurture them afterwards. Further advantages soon became apparent – instead of just managing to get a handful of foals from top mares towards the end of their lives, many more foals could be bred over the lifetime of a mare and several foals could even be bred from a mare during a single breeding season, and from different stallions. Embryos could also be taken from the

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best bred fillies before they even entered training, shortening the interval between generations and hence increasing the rate of genetic improvement.

History of embryo transfer in horses The first reports of the recovery and transfer of equine embryos were in 1972. Originally the transfer was achieved surgically via flank incisions, so that the embryos could be deposited directly into the uteruses (wombs) of surrogate mares. Over the last 25 years, non-surgical embryo transfer techniques have been perfected, allowing embryos to be deposited into the uterus via the vagina and cervix. Argentina and Brazil have arguably become world leaders in non-surgical

equine embryo transfer, not least because of the availability of large numbers of cheap recipient mares. The larger numbers have also given vets in South America the opportunity to become very skilled in embryo transfer and perfect the management of surrogate mares.

Preparation of donor and surrogate mares Polo mares chosen to be embryo donors require daily trans-rectal examinations with an ultrasound scanner to determine the likely day of ovulation so that insemination can be planned. At least two potential surrogate mares (known as recipients) are also examined daily over the same period.


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Transfer of embryo to recipient

Top row (l-r): fresh semen is collected for artificial insemination of valuable donor mares; a donor mare being flushed in order to recover an embryo Bottom row (l-r): a binocular microscope being used to find the embryos and to assess them for quality; an embryo being transferred into a surrogate mare with a transfer gun; a surrogate cob mare with a polo pony foal

The aim is to have a recipient that has ovulated on the same day or up to 72 hours after the donor mare. Synchronisation of their oestrous cycles is achieved by careful planning and the use of a hormone known as prostaglandin. Another hormone known as hCG is used to synchronise ovulations. Donor mares are inseminated just prior to ovulation. Artificial insemination is normally used as it minimises the spread of venereal diseases, allows semen quality to be assessed and enables single ejaculates to be divided to inseminate more than one mare. Fresh semen is preferred as conception rates are significantly less with frozen semen.

Recovery of embryos from donor mares After fertilisation, the early embryo enters the main body of the uterus at about five and a half days after ovulation. Embryos can be recovered at six days post-ovulation. However recovery is normally attempted on day seven or eight, by which stage the embryo has formed what is known as an expanded blastocyst and descent into the main body of the uterus is almost

guaranteed. After day ten the embryo can be too large and fragile. Specially formulated isotonic solutions are employed to flush embryos from the uterus via sterile plastic tubing that is inserted through the vagina and cervix of donor mares using sterile rectal gloves. The end of the tubing has a special cuff that is inflated with air once passed into the uterus and pulled back to form a seal with the cervix. Two to three litres of flushing solution is allowed to flow into the uterus by gravity. The uterus can be massaged via a hand placed in the rectum to increase the efficiency of the flush. The solution is then drained out through the tubing and via a special filter, with the aim of retrieving at least 95 per cent of the infused volume. Once the required amount of fluid has been drained from the uterus, the filter is rinsed with flushing solution, and the contents poured into a shallow glass dish. A binocular microscope is used to find the embryo and assess its quality. A micropipette is used to transfer the embryo into a holding dish containing a special fluid medium originally formulated for culturing human eggs.

Embryos are ideally transferred within twenty minutes of being retrieved. A common technique to transfer embryos employs a plastic straw fitted to a transfer gun. The embryo and accompanying medium is drawn up into the straw. The vulva of the recipient mare is thoroughly cleaned, and the transfer gun is passed into the vagina with a gloved hand. The opening to the cervix is dilated with a fingertip and the transfer gun, covered in a plastic sheath, is entered half way into the cervix. The sheath is then pulled back so that the end is punctured allowing the sterile end of the transfer gun to be manipulated into the uterus. The embryo is then deposited into the uterus by gentle depression of the transfer gun plunger. It is essential that the utmost care is taken to prevent abrasion of the cervix and lining of the uterus by the transfer gun, as this is likely to result in pregnancy failure. The success of this technique is significantly affected by operator experience. A newer technique developed in the UK involving the use of a pair of forceps allows less experienced vets to achieve similar results.

Embryo recovery and pregnancy rates The two major stages that affect the success of an embryo transfer programme are (1) the fertilisation and recovery of the embryo from the donor mare, and (2) the transfer, recognition and implantation of the embryo in the recipient. Recovery rates are affected by stallion and donor mare fertility. Recipient mare pregnancy rates are influenced by the quality of the embryo, the skill of the vet, and the nutrition of the recipient at and after transfer. Current embryo recovery rates on commercial embryo transfer units are in the region of 70 to 75 percent, with pregnancy rates at 14 to 21 days (post donor ovulation) at close to 80 per cent. F â—— Mark Emerson is based at Thames

Valley Equine Clinic, Sheephouse Farm, Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 4HF. Tel: 01491 414007; email: tvec@btconnect.com www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 49


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Horsemanship The knowledge Horse expert Andrew Seavill shares his trade secrets

Are you sitting comfortably? ry to imagine you are a polo pony. Your rider asks you to gallop after the ball, then gets in your way when you do. Here’s how it would go: after he’s hit the ball, the rider loses his balance, leans back, pulls on the reins to lever himself forward, and at the same time kicks the horse on. All these conflicting signals would confuse the horse, who is just trying to do his job and get to the ball so his rider can make another play. To be a good rider, you need to be assertive enough to ask the horse to yield to and from pressure, but agile enough to stay out of his way when he is trying to perform something you’ve asked. To do this, you need an independent seat. Having an independent seat means being able to go with the horse’s motion: forward, backward, right, left, up and down. It’s not as simple as just getting on and riding forward. Before carrying a rider, a horse learns to carry dead weight, such as a saddle, on his back. Then he learns to carry a passenger, or live weight. There’s a difference between dead weight and live weight. If you saddle a horse and lunge him, he can calculate what the dead weight of the saddle is going to do. But he cannot calculate what live weight is going to do. Yet that live weight tells him what to do and when to do it. If you get more than four ounces out of balance with your horse, you’re in his way. In other words, if your weight shift is more than four ounces in the wrong direction, your horse has to compensate for your mistake by shifting his own weight. Developing an independent seat is crucial in developing a lifetime partnership with a horse. So how do you get an independent seat? This is probably one of those things that seems like it might take a lifetime to

T

Developing an independent seat – like Bautista Heguy, here – is about going with the horse’s motion, and working with rather than against him

learn and perfect. But it can be achieved with practice – and some homework. I recommend the following exercises and approaches for developing an independent seat: ◗ Become mentally and physically fit on

the ground first.

constructive horseplay, and allow a horse to drift and come back to you on the lunge. ◗ Learn to be a great passenger. Go into a small enclosure and let go of the reins. Just sit there and try not to disrupt the horse’s movement. You could also have someone else lunge your horse while you are on his back.

◗ Get to know more about your horse and

◗ Ride bareback. Spend at least an hour a

his way of going better by practising the lungeing techniques described in previous issues. Know how to cope with

◗ Trot and canter on a loose rein for long distances and periods. F

week riding bareback.

Ask Andrew... Do polo ponies benefit from hacking? The short answer, in my opinion, is yes. But I suggest that, even though you want to specialise in polo, the best thing you can do is “cross-train” your horse: teach him to jump; take him hunting; do some dressage; give him a job, such as transporting you. He needs variety to stay mentally, emotionally and physically sound. Cross-training takes away the stress and boredom for him and gets his sparkle and enthusiasm back. He also becomes more athletic. How many horses have you

seen blow up on the polo field or in the arena? It happens so often because people are over focused and don’t realise what the horse is going through. If you keep his needs in mind and develop your horse in a solid way, at the age of 15 he will be better than he was at seven, and you will end up with a calm, smart, brave and athletic animal. ◗ See also Letters, page 20

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The knowledge Pony power

Rhumbera Patron Bruce Bailey, owner of the best playing pony in the final of the Barbados Open, tells James Mullan why she puts another two goals on his handicap – when he hasn’t lent her to his pros, that is

Vital statistics

Photograph by James Mullan

Name: Height: Age: Sex: Breed:

Rhumbera 15.2hh 9 years old Mare Argentine Thoroughbred

Where did you get Rhumbera? I bought her two years ago in Argentina, from sixgoaler Gerardo Mazzini. I’m not sure of her exact breeding or who broke and trained her, as Gerardo didn’t have her long, but she was playing 28-goal in Buenos Aires. Gerardo brought her here to Barbados to play in 2006 and attracted my interest, so I went to stay with him and try some ponies. At that stage I don’t think he realised what a good pony Rhumbera was and she was one of the two I came back with. He regrets it now! What are her main strengths? She’s like a Ferrari – not the most comfortable ride or with looks to everyone’s taste, but she does it all. She has so much raw power. Does she have any weaknesses? Well, her power makes her a difficult ride for the less able horseman and so she’s not what you’d generally consider to be a typical patron’s pony. You’ve got to be pretty good to know how to handle her. But, if you can, she’ll give you an extra two goals on your handicap. I love playing her but when my good pros are here for the bigger tournaments I let them have her as they get the best out of her. Gonzalo Fucci [six goals] has played her for the last two seasons. Which chukkas do you usually play her in? Because of the heat in Barbados, we all tend to play our ponies in two or three-minute bursts. This keeps them going longer but also means that, if necessary, we can play the same pony in almost every chukka. We probably didn’t have the greatest depth of horsepower this year, compared with some of the other teams, and the three best players on my side probably only played 10 horses between them. We each rely on just three main ponies in a four-chukka

game. However, I’ve made a few trips to Palm Beach recently, with the aim of improving my string. What’s Rhumbera’s temperament like? She’s a very peaceful and sociable animal around the paddock. She’s definitely not the kind of horse to kick or bite the others. However, on the field, you’ve got to be sure to have the controls at all times – you don’t want to step on the accelerator until you are sure you have both hands firmly on the steering wheel! But she loves the game and gives the better players incredible control, balance and performance. She’s a bullet. What do you feed her? When she’s in work, we give her a mix of pellets, sweet feed, oats and alfalfa. She’s usually in from December until the end of April. She’s out the rest of the year and stays on the island all year round. Would you ever sell her? All things are possible but I have no plans to sell her at the moment. I wouldn’t get what she’s worth here on Barbados anyway – I’d have to ship her to the US, England or South America. Do you think you will breed from her? I have a big racehorse breeding programme but I don’t really believe in breeding polo ponies specifically. It’s simply not cost effective on a large scale. Plus, since there’s no embryo transfer permitted on Barbados as yet, I’d either have to retire her early or wait until she’s about 14. At 14 years old, she will be difficult to foal. I usually prefer to breed from mares aged 4-10. However, I do sometimes try and breed a very small number for sentimental reasons. I suspect I’ll probably have a go with Rhumbera. She’s a special pony. We’ll probably both retire from the game together in about five years time! F

Experts in polo nutrition Tel: +44 (0)1371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk 52 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk


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Your pension won’t be worth anything. So why not enjoy spending it on your polo?

ATS We’ve got everything for polo Look on our website:

www.satsfaction.com Phone us on: 01285 841 542 Fax us on: 01285 841 546 Email us on: sats@lineone.net South American Trade Services, Sandpool House, Sandpool Lane, Tarlton, Cirencester, Glos GL7 6PB

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Feeding The knowledge Lorna Jowett, specialist equine nutritionist, gives expert advice on all things edible

When and why should my horse have electrolytes? Electrolytes (salts) are minerals which are lost through sweat during exercise. An imbalance in the body after a horse has been sweating heavily will often result in negative effects: limited organ function, muscle fatigue, a lack of concentration, reduced coordination and a slower postmatch recovery. A horse can produce 10-15 litres of sweat an hour, each litre containing 10g of salts. The onset of fatigue can be reduced by a quarter when electrolytes are administered before exercise and within one hour after exercise. However, providing electrolytes in a dry feed is not ideal, as it increases dehydration. Since most horses won’t drink water with electrolytes, the best policy is to add them to sloppy sugar beet water or wet feeds.

Grooms should ideally administer electrolytes two hours before travel/play/hard work – any sooner and the horse will excrete the salts, as it cannot store excess quantities. Administer electrolytes again within one or two hours of travel/play/hard work and, if the weather is very hot, a dose the next morning can also be of benefit as well. Ensure the horse has had water and electrolytes before eating forage or concentrate feed to aid rehydration. F

Un caballo puede perder entre 10-15 litros de sudor por hora conteniendo 10g de sales por litro. El efecto de la fatiga puede reducirse al administrar electrolitos antes del ejercicio y dentro de la hora de haber hecho ejercicio. Proveer electrolitos en una ración seca no es ideal ya que incrementará el riesgo de deshidratación. Si tus caballos se niegan a tomar agua con electrolitos, podés agregar “sugar beet” diluida o agua en la ración. Para caballos mañosos, disolvé electrolitos en agua y dáselos en una jeringa, como lo harías con “la buta”. Agua fresca debe estar disponible en todo momento. Lo ideal es dar electrolitos dentro de las dos horas previas a viajar/jugar/ trabajar fuerte. Cualquier exceso de sales no será almacenado, por lo tanto dar sales con mayor anticipación a dos horas hará que el caballo se deshaga de los electrolitos a través de la orina. Después de jugar/viajar, lo ideal es administrarlos dentro de 1-2 horas y si el tiempo es muy caluroso, sería recomendable repetir la dosis a la mañana siguiente. Asegurate que el caballo haya tomado agua y electrolitos antes de comer forraje o alimento balanceado para ayudar a la rehidratación. F

Photograph by Alice Gipps

For the trickiest individuals, syringe with plenty of water as you would bute. Access to fresh water must always be available.

Los electrolitos son sales minerales perdidas durante la sudación, lo que puede generar un desequilibrio en el cuerpo resultando en: efectos negativos en el funcionamiento de órganos, fatiga muscular, falta de concentración, falta de coordinación y prologación en los plazos de recuperación.

Salts lost through heavy sweating need to be replaced

Tip of the month Save money by giving electrolytes only on days of hard work, as the horse only excretes valuable salts whilst sweating – any excess will be wasted, excreted via the horse’s urine instead. Ahorrá dinero dando electrolitos solo en días de trabajo duro ya que se desharan de cualquier exceso que no sea usado durante el proceso de traspiración.

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The knowledge Travel

Above: the Westbury’s Polo Bar. Right (clockwise from top): the entrance, on Conduit Street and a step from Bond Street; lounge and bedroom furnishings are luxurious

A capital plan One London hotel is reviving its polo credentials and embracing opportunities created by the downturn. Yolanda Carslaw asks why the Westbury Mayfair wants to become the place for polo folk, and checks in for a night

alk west from Regent Street along Conduit Street, and a few steps before Bond Street you’ll arrive at The Westbury, an imposing nine-storey block with a bar named “Polo”. Don’t be put off by the unprepossessing exterior: it’s arguably the best sited place to stay in the capital and has recently had a £25m refit.

Why to go to London in 2009

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The neighbourhood Bond Street is a step from the hotel’s doors, Hanover and Berkeley Squares lie a minute away, and Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Regent Street are a three-minute stroll away. You can browse or spend at stores with a polo connection – Polistas, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Loro Piana and Brioni are on the doorstep – or at the Oxford Street department stores. Savile Row is a block away, as are outfitters such as Holland & Holland and RM Williams and stores such as Fenwick, Liberty and Fortnum & Mason.

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18 May: PJs polo party – gathering in Brian Stein’s Chelsea bar/grill to celebrate the start of the season. 18 May: Audi Polo Awards at the Hilton Park Lane – black-tie reception and dinner to honour the game’s greats. Natalia and Azad Cola at the Westbury Arena Gold Cup

In 10 minutes you can walk to Green Park or Hyde Park, and in 15 to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. As for getting to the capital’s polo events (see right), the Audi Awards are five minutes’ walk away; Horse Guards Parade is a 15-minute walk away and Hurlingham and PJ’s Polo Bar are a 1520-minute taxi-ride away.

Character and layout The C-shaped building, with a forecourt for setdown and pick-up, looks drab from outside –

5-6 June: Polo in the Park, Hurlingham – Daniel Fox-Davies’s new event on the historic and resurfaced Fulham field 17-18 June: London Polo Championships at Horse Guards Parade – arena polo a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace 26-28 June: Toast Festival, Clapham Common – southern hemisphere showdowns in association with Ascot Park 26 July: Cartier International – London’s glam young set dresses up for a trip to Windsor Great Park


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The original polo connection The first Westbury Hotel, on Madison Avenue, New York, built by the Knott family, incorporated a “Polo Bar and Grille” which, in the late 1930s, became a hangout for leading players and society figures. In 1955 its owners built The Westbury Mayfair, adding a “Polo Bar” there, too. In its early days The Westbury Mayfair was one of London’s top hotels. An advert in Country Life in 1961 depicted a poodle sitting on a neat stack of leather suitcases, saying, “They say The Westbury is the West End… that’s why we always stay there.” The Westbury New York has since been converted into apartments, but an observer in 1959 wrote: “The Polo Bar and Grille, dating from 1938, was organised by and designed for Long Island sportsmen and socialites but became a rendezvous for other types of celebrities. Bing Crosby likes the place so much that he once remarked on CBS that he would appear there nitely [sic], heading a small singing combination, if the offer were tendered him. “The room has been so successful that Knott Hotels Corporation has reproduced it in their London and Toronto Westbury Hotels.”

The polo connection today

although this is offset by the polished brass plaques, cheerful flags and welcoming, bluesuited doormen. The refurbished interior, though, is superb – it’s been thoughtfully arranged, warmly decorated and lavishly furnished. An open-plan lounge with sofas and armchairs at the entrance makes for an inviting spot to meet friends, sit and read, study your laptop, have a cup of tea or an aperitif, or watch the comings and goings. The area is elegant yet homely, with orchids, marble columns, soft colours and fabrics, stylish lamps and striking mirrors. Doors lead to the Polo Bar, an all-day locale also popular with Mayfair residents. No polo décor remains, although the Westbury Cup (see box, overleaf) was once on display. Furnishing is in Art Deco style, with Swarovski crystal “curtains” lining giant windows. Gleaming brass railings divide the room, there’s a long, attractive bar and a direct entrance from Conduit Street. Upstairs the corridors are lined with period photos, with the third floor themed to the 1930s, the fourth to the 1940s and so on. There’s a business centre and fitness room on the second floor and four private dining rooms for up to 150 people.

Sleeping arrangements The hotel’s 250 rooms are set over seven floors, with the overall style luxurious, bordering in some rooms on a surprisingly attractive sort of bling – think wave-patterned, thick-pile carpets, pale velvet upholstery, giant sofas and padded bedheads. There’s plenty of storage, luxurious mattresses and flat-screen TV; some rooms have balconies; upper storeys have views; and 50 rooms interconnect. The pick of the suites is the two-bedroom St George Penthouse, with a butler service and walk-in wardrobe.

Where to eat and drink The Artisan restaurant, which has a lovely inlaid wooden floor, marble skirting and crystal chandeliers, is worth a visit in its own right. Most diners are Mayfair residents – hotel guests, according to general manager Zeljko Stasevic, usually dine out, and with Le Gavroche, Square, Cipriani and The Ivy nearby, they’re spoilt for choice. Artisan’s head chef Andrew Jones, number two at Claridge’s for 15 years, and his English and French-dominated team strike an excellent balance between the classic and the innovative. X

The Westbury Mayfair became a Trust House Forte hotel before returning to family hands in 2000 when it was bought by Bakir Cola, a self-made hotel magnate. An Iraqi Kurd, Cola left Baghdad at 17, starting small in property and building his business to what it is today – which also includes The Kensington Close hotel, Kingsway Hall near The Strand and a Paris spa, Espace Payot. Bakir Cola and his wife, who is from Finland, are now based in France, and he has handed the reins of their London hotels to their son, Azad. “When we decided to restore The Westbury to its former glory, I researched its history and found out about the polo connection,” Azad Cola told Polo Times. “I discovered it was a proud part of its past, and thought why shouldn’t it be part of the future? Also, we share a target market and there’s a big social element.” After the refurbishment in 2007, the Colas were introduced to Jan-Erik Franck, whose firm, Mig Polo, brings the corporate and polo worlds together. Azad recalls: “I didn’t know the rules or what a chukka was, and Jan-Erik suggested I come to the Cartier. I said let’s go further: we’ll co-brand the marquee, and I’ll do the catering and bring 150 punters. It brought entertainment to my clients, exposure to our hotel and allowed us to get involved with a sport that’s part of The Westbury’s heritage.” Then a chance arose to sponsor the Arena Gold Cup at RCBPC. “I’m fortunate there’s a credit crunch,” he says. “When sponsors scale back, it creates opportunities for new people to get involved, and I didn’t have to compete with anybody. We brought 25 people to the final, made good contacts and had a wonderful time.”

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The knowledge Travel

Above: decor in the bedrooms – which star t at just over £450 per night – is sumptuous, with attractive lamps, fluffy carpetsand soft fabrics. Some of the suites feature hug e sofas, butler ser vice and walk-in wardrobes Right and far right: the hotel’s Ar tisan restaurant is frequented by Mayfair residents as well as hotel guests. Head chef is Andrew Jones, who was number two at Claridg e’s for 15 years. His team is mainly English and French

X We opted for the seven-course tasting menu

with wine (£100), and especially enjoyed the choices of the young female sommelier and the “ham, egg and chips” – a tower of parsnip chips, duck egg and Jambugo ham. Snacks in the Polo Bar range from caviar sandwiches (£65) and foie gras burgers (£22.50) to duck spring rolls (£14) and salad Niçoise (£19.50). The bar itself is lined with intriguing rows of bottles – with which staff make an array of cocktails (£11-£18). My mint tea came in a glass teapot, and my cocktail, a mojito deluxe, was spot on. Breakfast is in the Artisan. My pink grapefruit juice and scrambled eggs were faultless – although it’s on the pricey side, with full English at £22.50.

one of the night managers is Argentine. On our visit, we saw families, couples and business types.

Full marks for… We especially liked the staff, who were youngish and friendly, and never overbearing. It felt like a place where anybody, from any walk of life or nationality, could feel at home. General manager Zeljko Stasevic, who was previously food and beverage manager at Claridge’s, says: “Every London hotel nowadays has good bedrooms and high standards. To make a hotel exceptional, the key is the people.”

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The damage and the details A room for two people costs from £458.83 per night. For more details visit www.westbury mayfair.com or telephone 020 7629 7755.

The future Could do better… Hard to fault – although it seems slightly mean to charge for in-room Wifi and tea- and coffeemaking facilities.

Who stays there Although The Westbury’s biggest market is UK domestic, it has an international feel, with Americans, Russians and Western Europeans close behind. Staff nationalities reflect the clientele – and polo visitors will be interested to know that

From outside London, take the train in and complete your journey by tube and taxi or on foot. From Heathrow, take the rail link to Paddington, the Bakerloo line to Oxford Circus and a taxi or your feet for the last few streets. From Gatwick, take the train to Victoria and the Victoria line to Green Park.

Getting there The nearest tube stations are Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Green Park, which give access to the Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria and Bakerloo lines.

The owners have bought the office block next door to transform into conference and banqueting rooms, plus a second restaurant and 50 more bedrooms. “It’s exciting to be expanding as others scale back,” says Azad Cola. Watch this space for further links with polo, too – the hotel is a corporate partner at Guards this summer, and who knows, one day you may see Cola, an energetic 30-year-old, climb on a horse himself. F


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My travels with Oliver Ellis

In what capacity do you usually travel at the moment? Most of my polo trips now are as an umpire. For the last few years, my regular trips wearing the black and white have been between St Moritz in January and Dubai in spring. Both venues make a nice change from arena polo and the mud in England in the cold seasons and, in St Moritz in particular, it’s great to see 22-goal polo in Europe. It’s an absolute fantasyland and is a lot easier for people than travelling out to Argentina or the US. For me, it’s just nice to have some time away with my wife. We look after around 70 horses in the UK at the family home so it’s hard to get away together these days otherwise – hence, we usually leave the children at home! Which has been the best polo trip of your life? It has to be the year I played in Chicago with Prince Charles and the late Major Ron Ferguson in Oak Brook in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I can’t remember exactly which year it was, as we made probably 40 trips to the States with Ron in those days, playing and fundraising in aid of his various charities. But that one still stands out as by far the best – it was just fantastic.

Photograph by Tony Ramirez

And what about your favourite non-polo trip? I can’t remember the last one! Polo usually plays a part somewhere. Have you had any bad experiences on your polo travels? Well, maybe some, but not really – there’s always a happy ending. Do you have a favourite hotel? Can I have two? Number one is Windsor Court in New Orleans. We went there with Major Ron

and it’s simply beautiful. It has a lovely old-fashioned feel and service which is out of this world. I only hope it survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I think it did, as it’s in the French Quarter, which was less damaged than much of the city. The other is Ali Albwardy's place in Dubai, Desert Palm. It is small and beautifully designed, with a much more modern feel, but done extremely tastefully. What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten in? The Japanese restaurant, Nobu. There are several but the one in the Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz is stunning. It costs so much money it makes your eyes water but you have to go there. Though usually I suppose you could only go there once! After we were there last, a couple of years ago, they must have been doing the washing up for a month. Where would you still like to go to? Australia. I find the wide, open spaces and the honest, open people appealing. I’m thinking about possibly organising something with Rob Cudmore to get over there in the near future. What was your first ever polo trip? I’ve played since I was 16 and my first trip was to the US to play arena polo in about 1971. It was a real eye-opener and we played at Yale, Harvard and Cornell, for a Pony Club team. It was with John Horswell, Gregor Just and Somerville Livingstone-Learmonth. Sadly, only John and I are still alive. What would you never leave on a polo trip without? My wife.

Interview by James Mullan

More Westbury polo connections The Westbury Cup For years the Westbury Cup was on display at the Polo Bar at The Westbury Mayfair. For 30 years, till the early 1990s, it was played for at Guards – for fixtures ranging from medium- to high-goal. The Westbury’s owner, Azad Cola, says the cup didn’t come with the hotel – it remains with the previous owner.

Polo painting in the new Guards clubhouse In the new Guards clubhouse (see PT, April) hangs a giant painting that first had pride of place in the Westbury Hotel, New York, then in the Royal Box at Guards. It came to Guards via player, patron and Hildon Water magnate Christian Heppe.

Travel news in brief ◗ POLO DEL SOL, the British-owned polo club and holiday establishment near Jerez in Spain, completed the latest stage of its development last month, welcoming its first guests to new onsite accommodation in a converted stable block. A six-bedroom and a two-bedroom selfcatering apartments were completed in early April, and over Easter a British family became the first residents. Until now, guests have stayed in local hotels and guesthosues: now they can stay at the farm if they wish. Construction has also started on a covered 100x50m arena. Though the southern Spanish climate allows grass play most days of the year, the extra facility will guarantee play all-yearround, whatever the weather. Polo del Sol, which is owned by Briton Mike Robinson, has three polo grounds, 125 stables and around 40 horses for guests. Polo manager and head instructor there is the Iranian Ali Abidi, and young Englishman Will Randall-Coath takes care of marketing and sales in the UK. The 125-acre farm lies 20 minutes south-east of Jerez, near the village of La Barca della Florida. Neighbours and locals also play, and guests can also explore the vineyards or visit the city of Jerez, with its equestrian traditions and numerous attractions. ◗ THE CANADIAN POLO ASSOCIATION (CPA) has applied to the government for National Sports Organisation (NSO) status in its move to become the sole governing body of the sport in that country. Traditionally, Canadian clubs and players have been members of the US Polo Association (USPA) south of the border. New USPA rules, however, specify that its member clubs must be within the territorial limits of the USA and playing members must be US citizens, thus relegating Canadian clubs and players to “affiliate” status. The CPA currently lists 14 member clubs, but nine clubs also remain affiliates of the USPA, some belonging to both organisations. ◗ LA MARTINA OPENED its first store in Dubai recently – 400 sq ft of retail space in the impressive Dubai Shopping Mall, timed to open just after the Cartier Dubai polo event (see page 28), to which La Martina is the official supplier. The polo gear and clothing company is found in 36 countries, with shops in locations such as Buenos Aires, Deauville, Megève, Madrid, Mykonos, Capri and Miami. The company participates in more than 90 tournaments and polo events around the world and is official supplier to clubs such as Guards, Bridgehampton in the US, Saint-Tropez and Polo de Paris. ◗ GHANA HOSTED A TWO-MATCH series against Egypt last month – and were beaten twice on their home turf. The West Africans lost the first match soundly at the Accra polo grounds, but then made amends, when a different line-up recorded a narrow 5-4 defeat. The Egyptians included Ali Kashef, Sherif Amin, Marawani Mustapha, Mohammed Mahamy and Mohammed el-Sweedy, while the Ghanaians included Kwakye Dopua-Dei, as well as Ziad Yamak, George Agyeman and Jamil Ibrahim, Rashid Ibrahim, Kenneth Quartey and Eric Gene. www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 59


PTMay 2009 p60-63 property YC

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Property The knowledge

A home from home for a short, short summer When overseas patrons and pros arrive this month, they need somewhere to live – however briefly. Yolanda Carslaw asks how to find a seasonal pad

The pool at Hards Farm, near Knepp Castle, a popular summer let and home for a few months in recent years to polo teams such as Yindarra, Loro Piana and Azzurra

t this time of year, foreign players are settling into houses and flats in the UK’s polo hotspots for three, four or five months. The HPA estimates there are 270 overseas sponsored players (not including those with EU passports), many of whom arrive with families in tow, and the number of grooms is harder to pin down. While grooms’ lodgings tends to be basic and on site – whether in caravans, mobile homes, spare rooms or cottages – pros, patrons and team managers usually require a house, cottage or flat in a specific location, sometimes also factoring in schooling for their brood, and room for a nanny. So how do players secure short-term seasonal British homes? Since the minimum term of a

A

lease is usually six months – with a stipulation that the home can’t be left unoccupied for more than 28 days – it can be tricky. Last season Midhurst-based Julie Crocker, who set up Polo Support Services three years ago, helped house 18 families or players, in conjunction with estate agents. She has found properties for players from high-goal teams such as Ellerston, Loro Piana, Sumaya, Broncos, Talandracas, Atlantic, Yindarra and Elysian Fields as well as for low- and medium-goal pros. Julie says it’s easier to find suitable properties in some areas than others. “Around Windsor, it is possible to get accommodation attached to university lets, or investment properties that people want to let

short-term for grooms, trainers and managers. Golf clubs also have self-catering accommodation very suitable for players,” she says. People can also tap into the corporate housing market in the M4 corridor, using agencies such as Berkshire Rooms (0845 478 8001; www.berkshirerooms. co.uk), which specialise in serviced apartments. In Sussex, says Julie, there’s less choice, as investment properties aren’t readily available and there’s less housing altogether. However, she adds that it helps that the Midhurst agents – such as Jackson-Stops, Keats and King & Chasemore – are used to the fact that polo tenants often need just three months’ rental. Some properties become available because their owners vacate them specifically to rent X

For further information with regard to equestrian property sales contracts, please contact Mark Charter at Blake Lapthorn directly: on 023 8085 7116; via email, at mark.charter@bllaw.co.uk; or write to Mark Charter, Partner, Real Estate, Blake Lapthorn, New Kings Court, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 3LG

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The knowledge Property Left: one of the sitting rooms at Hards Farm. Special requests from polo residents have included a giant TV to watch the football and special gym equipment

X them to polo players. “Some people like to rent

out their houses again and again,” says Julie. “Sometimes they’re nervous about doing it at first, and they find it’s a lot more work than they thought to depersonalise their home and leave just the basics.” Sue Crossley, from the Country House Company, which lets country houses of all sizes in

“Generally polo players are liked by neighbours and become part of the community, even if there’s a language barrier” – Julie Crocker central and southern England, agrees. “It’s a major upheaval but it suits some people to vacate,” she says. “Also, houses that have been vacated short-term feel more like a home.” For unfurnished houses, she adds, companies such as Room Service (www.roomservicegroup.com), which rent out furniture, can be useful. Teresa Beresford, who has 25 years’ first-hand experience of renting short-term all over the world, has recently started helping patrons and players find houses – on a personalised basis and a small scale. “It’s hard to find furnished, decent houses, especially for sponsors, but I believe I know the players and what they require,” says

Teresa, who is the sister of José Donoso and the late Gabriel, and is married to the player and team manager Charles Beresford. “I just do a few rentals each season, and I like to really look after each person or family.” Conversely, for patrons looking to rent in the heart of Argentine polo-land, Teresa can also help – she has a newly built house for rent at the Centauros club, Pilar. So how much can landlords earn by moving out for a few months? Julie says: “If they’re in for three months they’ll pay between 1.5 and two times the usual rental rate of a six-month let, and ideally it needs to be inclusive of utilities and so on.” The most difficult thing, according to Julie, is matching the right houses to the right people. “Players are quite specific about where they want to be,” she says. “If somebody’s based at Great Trippetts, they won’t want to be the other side of Midhurst. Then you have to think whether the person will be happy in the neighbourhood, but generally players are liked by neighbours and become part of the community, even if there’s a language barrier.” Julie’s clients come to her by word of mouth, some as early as the end of the previous season, and most people have finalised their arrangements by late March. “Very often they will be fighting over houses – the last person to rent it has first refusal.” Sue Crossley has also had polo clients fighting for an especially desirable property. “We’ve recently let a four-bedroom family home to a European – for which we had competition from an American and an Australian. It’s in a prime spot near Cowdray.” So what should you do if you’re new to an area and need a place next season? Julie’s advice is to start by surfing the websites Primelocation. com and Rightmove.com, asking your polo club

A landlord’s view Julian Cole has rented out Hards Farm – two fourbedroom houses and a two-bedroom cottage set around a courtyard, with a swimming pool and eight acres of grounds – to high-goal teams for four summers. Recent past polo residents include Yindarra, who came to the property through Julie Crocker (see main article), Azzurra and Loro Piana. The property is in Sussex, five minutes’ drive from Knepp Castle. “The aim is to provide a first-class service akin to a five-star hotel, with broadband, Sky, laundry service, gardener and cleaner,” says Julian, who owns and manages the properties himself. “They can operate communally or be independent between the three houses, but polo people are quite sociable. There’s a raised part of the garden where they light fires for asados.” Sometimes, players request extras: in the last World Cup year one patron asked for the largest television available so he and his team-mates could watch football. Another had special gym equipment installed. “Polo people used to have a reputation as not being the best tenants, but I’ve found them friendly and had no trouble,” says Julian. “If there’s a breakage or accident, it’s easily settled.” And when the polo crowd aren’t there? “People stay on holiday or on business; after disasters at home – such as floods or fires; or when they’re moving to the area and want to rent first. I’ve had a group of Russian ice dancers stay while they’re touring – they arrived with their own rink.” ◗ Hards Farm is five-star rated by VisitBritain. The team due to come this summer has bowed out, and parts of the property are available for parts of the summer. Contact Julian on 07730 620365.

for contacts or even looking for holiday lets through an agency such as VisitBritain.com. F ◗ Useful contacts: Julie Crocker – 07702 290912; juliepoloss@googlemail.com; Teresa Beresford – mtberesford@hotmail.com; Country House Company – 02392 632275; www.country-housecompany.co.uk

Three houses available for summer lets in the Midhurst district

£975pcm – End-of-terrace three-bedroom house in the quiet suburb of Heathfield Park, near Bepton Road. Hall, cloakroom, large sitting/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, garden, garage. Unfurnished. Through Keats (01730 817370; www.keats.biz)

62 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

£775pcm – A pretty Grade II listed tile-hung cottage in a Lamberts Lane, moments from North Street. Sitting room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, shower room, courtyard. Unfurnished. Through Keats (01730 817370; www.keats.biz)

Price on application – Seven-bedroom country house at Empshott, 15 miles west of Midhurst. Five bathrooms, tennis court, staff flat, seven acres. Furnished or unfurnished. Through the Country House Company (details above)


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PTMay 2009 p64-65 Products YC

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The knowledge Gear

Bandages – from top left White ‘stretch & flex’ exercise bandages by Equilibrium (www.equilibriumproducts. com; 0870 050 0760). A tough, elasticated bandage with a high wicking ability and a reinforced section for extra cushioning The damage: £24.95 per pair Yellow bandages by Tackeria from Polo Splice (www.polosplice.co.uk; 01730 814991). A substantial felt bandage with Velcro fastening. The longest of the three thicker felt examples The damage: £18.50 for four Red bandages by Shires from SATS (www.satsfaction.com; 01285 841542). A thick felt bandage with Velcro fastening, the shortest of the thicker examples at just over 8ft The damage: £12.50 for four Purple polo wraps by Pro Equine (www. proequine.com) from Abbey Saddlery (www.abbeysaddlery.co.uk; 01565 650343). A soft 280g felt bandage with extra-long Velcro fastening. The longest of the five, at over 10ft, but slightly thinner than our other felt examples The damage: £19.95 per pair Light blue bandages by Keeneland from Porto Polo (www.portopolo.com; 07904 085902). A thick, soft felt bandage with Velcro fastening The damage: £18 for four

Boots – from top right Black short skid boots by Pro Equine from Porto Polo, as above. A heavy-duty boot with a moulded rubber skid plate reinforced with leather and an extra-long over reach. Velcro straps, one with double bottom strap for extra strength The damage: £42 per pair Red shell tendon exercise boots by Kawell from SATS, as above. A lightweight boot with a hard plastic outer shell and foam padding inside. Double Velcro fastenings The damage: £29.50 per pair Black sport medicine boots by Professional’s Choice from Polo Splice, as above. A substantial fabric boot with four Velcro fastenings The damage: £70 per pair White Trizone AllSport boot from Equilibrium, as above. A lightweight, breathable boot with added tendon protection. Easy to use with two Velcro straps The damage: £39.95 per pair Black long skid boots by Professional’s choice from Polo Splice, as above. A tough, flexible fabric boot with extra protection at the fetlock and added overreach. Four Velcro fastenings The damage: £70 per pair Green sports boot by Pro Equine from Porto Polo, as above. A thick fabric boot with three Velcro fastenings for good covering and support The damage: £45 per pair Black tendon boots by Racing Tack from Polo Splice, as above. A lightweight boot, with a hard plastic outer shell with foam padding inside. Double Velcro fastenings with leather straps The damage: £39.50 per pair

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The knowledge Dates for the diary

What’s on in May Principal fixtures at home and abroad UK highlights

France

22-goal Hurtwood – Polo Masters (18-22): 1 to 17 May Cowdray – Trippetts Challenge (20-22 goal): 10 to 17 May Guards – The Queen’s Cup (17-22): 19 May to 14 June RCBPC – The Prince of Wales Trophy (17-22): 13 June 18-goal Coworth – Indian Empire Shield (15-18): 19 May to 14 June Cowdray - Duke of Sutherland’s Cup (15-18): 23 May to 12 June Medium-goal Beaufort – The Arthur Lucas Cup (12- 15): 23 May to 3 June Chester – The Coutts International (10-12): 29 to 30 May Low-goal Cirencester – Gerald Balding Cup (4-8): 12 to 31 May Inglesham – Polo Times Tournament (0-4): 2 to 4 May

Saint-Tropez Polo Club – Pentecote Tournament (12-15 goal): 29 May to 1 June

Spain Barcelona – Barcelona Polo Classic (12-goal): 8-17 May

Italy

Richmond, NSW – Kurri Burri Tournament (6 goal): 9 to 10 May Serpentine, Western Australia - Autumn Polo: 9 to 10 May

Other dates for your diary Audi Polo Awards, Park Lane Hilton – 18 May PJs Polo Bar start-of-season party, London – 18 May

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia – Julius Baer Gold Cup: 24 May to 1 June

For comprehensive tournament listings and results, visit www.polotimes.co.uk

Poland

Correction

Buszka Polo Club, Warsaw – Jaeger-LeCoultre series: 22-24 May

In the last issue of Polo Times (April 2009), we incorrectly captioned the photograph below, referring to Jamie Le Hardy as Howard Smith. The winning side, holding the Westbury Arena Gold Cup, is (from left to right) Sebastian Dawnay, Heiko Voelker and Jamie Le Hardy.

Czech Republic Prague – Jaeger-LeCoultre series: 28-30 May

United States Capitol Polo Club, Maryland – America’s Polo Cup: USA v Australia: 8 to 9 May

Australia Windsor Polo Club, NSW – NSWPA Dudley Cup (12 goal): 22 to 24 May

Fixtures High 22 Goal Guards The Queen's Cup

RCBPC RCBPC 4-8 Goal 19 May–14 Jun

High 18 Goal Cowdray Duke of Sutherland’s Cup Coworth Indian Empire Shield

23 May–12 Jun 4–22 May

Other High Goal Beaufort The Meade Cup Cirencester Cirencester 0-40 Hurtwood Polo Masters

9–17 May 25 Apr–10 May 1–17 May

Medium 15 Goal Beaufort The Arthur Lucas Cup 19 May–6 Jun Guards Queen Mother’s Centenary Cup 27 Apr–17 May Guards Royal Windsor Cup 31 May–21 Jun Guards Mountbatten Cup 31 May–21 Jun

Intermediate 12 Goal Chester The Coutts International Cowdray Dollar Cup Fifield Invitational RCBPC The John Prestwich Trophy RLS The RLS 12 Goal Cup

29–30 May 11–25 May 19–24 May 26 May–7 Jun 6–10 May

Low 8 Goal Ascot Innerwick Challenge Cup Beaufort The Badminton Cup Binfield Heath Margaret Duvall 8 Goal Cirencester Gerald Balding Cup Fifield 4 - 8 Goal Guards Committee Cup Inglesham Jack Williams Challenge Kirtlington The Oxfordshire Bowl

66 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

30–31 May 29 Apr–10 May 30–31 May 12–31 May 28–31 May 12–31 May 5–17 May 20–25 May

16–21 May

Low 6 Goal Beaufort -2 to 4 Goal Beaufort The "La Ema" Polo Mallet Beaufort Richard Underwood Cup Beaufort The Spring Cup Burningfold Dunsfold Trophy Cambridge Henry Cecil Cheshire Chairman's Cup and Plate Druids Lodge Full Swing Trophy Druids Lodge Polo-Art.com Trophy Edinburgh Edinburgh Spring Epsom St George's Cup Epsom Red Cross Trophy Fifield Bennett Cup Hertfordshire Chairman's Cup Hertfordshire Hertfordshire Polo Club Hurtwood Bluebell Trophy Inglesham The New Inn Inglesham Polo Times Tournament Inglesham Roxtons Polo Cup Inglesham Wrag Barn Kirtlington The May Cup Kirtlington The Management Cup Kirtlington Hunter Jones Knepp May Cup Knepp Lorenz Consultancy Cup Lacey Green The Chilterns Cup Longdole Argentine Challenge

2–4 May 9–17 May 30–14 Jun 16–25 May 21–25 May 16–17 May 23–25 May 9–10 May 30–31 May 23–24 May 2–4 May 30–31 May 9–10 May 9–10 May 23–24 May 19–25 May 30–31 May 2–4 May 16–17 May 23–25 May 29 Apr–4 May 6–10 May 27–31 May 7–10 May 28–31 May 16–17 May 23–24 May

RLS The Quartly Cup RLS The Southam Trophy RLS The Tusk Challenge Trophy Rutland The Rutland Cup Suffolk Graceland Tournament Tidworth Cholderton Cup W Wycombe Hell Fire Trophy

2–3 May 16–17 May 27–31 May 16–17 May 24–25 May 23–24 May 30–31 May

Low 3 Goal Tidworth Maddison Cup

16–17 May

Low 2 Goal Ascot Waterloo Cup Beaufort -2 to 2 Goal Beverley Three Oceans Cup Beverley Carl Swindon Memorial Cup Binfield Heath The May Cup Burningfold May Cup Cheshire Boqueron Cup Dedham Vale Fison & Company Dundee Perth Spring Tournament Edgeworth Field Barn Cup Epsom Admirals Cup Fifield Challenge Cup Haggis Farm Ward Howard Rowlett Ham David Healy Intra-Club Hurtwood Lola's Trophy Inglesham Inglesham 2 Goal Kirtlington The Continental Cup Kirtlington Ragley Cup Kirtlington Ben Jonson Trophy

23–25 May 23–25 May 16–17 May 23–24 May 9–10 May 7–10 May 16–17 May 23–24 May 17 May 16–17 May 16–17 May 16–17 May 23–24 May 21–24 May 27–31 May 9–10 May 12–17 May 20–25 May 27–31 May


PTMay 2009 p66-67 Whats on YC

Knepp KCPC 2 Goal Knepp Opening 2 Goal Lacey Green The May Cup Lacey Green The Revolution Cup New Forest Spring Tournament Offchurch Bury The Pritchard Cup RLS The May Cup RLS The Weymouth Trophy Rugby The Pytchley Trophy Suffolk Mad May Hare Tournament Sussex Polo Splice Trophy Taunton Vale Jellalabad Cup Tidworth Kingsett Cup Tidworth Queen's Royal Hussars' Cup W Wycombe Spring Shield Another

22/4/09

14–17 May 30 Apr–4 May 9–10 May 23–25 May 30–31 May 30–31 May 7–10 May 21–24 May 23–24 May 9–10 May 23–24 May 30–31 May 2–3 May 9–10 May 16–17 May

Low 0 Goal Binfield Heath The Coppid Cup Brightling East Sussex Trophy Cambridge Tattersalls Tournament Hertfordshire Chairman's Cup Hertfordshire Hertfordshire Polo Club Hurtwood Casey's Cup Hurtwood Jubilee Cup Inglesham Roxtons Polo 0 Goal Kirtlington Spring Tournament Knepp Wakefields Jewellers Trophy Lacey Green The Chilterns Cup Lacey Green The Revolution Cup Lacey Green The May Cup Longdole Emerging Tournament New Forest Little Poet Cup New Forest Remnants Cup Offchurch Bury The Spring Forward RLS The Genesis Trophy RLS The 50/50 May Challenge RLS The National 0 Goal Festival Rugby The Onley Plate Rugby The Patera Cup Rutland The Preston Lodge Bowl Silver Leys Shannahan Shield Suffolk Graceland Tournament Sussex Bank Holiday Challenge Sussex May Cup Sussex Welcome Cup

16–17 May 23–24 May 2–3 May 9–10 May 23–24 May 1–3 May 9–10 May 23–25 May 6–10 May 21–25 May 16–17 May 23–25 May 9–10 May 2–3 May 30–31 May 9–10 May 9–10 May 2–3 May 14–17 May 16–31 May 23–24 May 9–10 May 30–31 May 23–24 May 24–25 May 2–3 May 30–31 May 9–10 May

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Taunton Vale Chairmans Cup Tidworth Maddison Cup Tidworth Cholderton Cup W Wycombe Welcome Cup W Wycombe Hell Fire Trophy

16–17 May 16–17 May 23–24 May 2–3 May 30–31 May

Low Below 0 Goal Ascot Kitchen Grace Trophy Asthall Farm Iris Walker Memorial Brightling The Welcome Tournament Cambridge Tattersalls Cambridge Henry Cecil Dedham Vale Fison & Company FHM Polo Splice Tournament New Forest Chaplin Cup New Forest Dunlop Cup Rugby The Primavera Cup Rutland Twidale Cup Rutland The Eve Trophy (Amateurs) Sussex Polo Splice Trophy Tidworth Kingsett Cup Tidworth Queen's Royal Hussars Cup Vale of York Cranwell Cup Vale of York Greyhound Trophy Vale of York Harewood Gamefair Vale of York Yorkshire Young Farmers W Wycombe Welcome Cup W Wycombe Spring Shield Another Wicklow Friends and Family

16–17 May 31 May 9–10 May 2–3 May 16–17 May 23–24 May 30 May 2–3 May 23–24 May 9–10 May 16–17 May 30–31 May 23–24 May 2–3 May 9–10 May 2–3 May 16–17 May 3–24 May 31 May 2–3 May 16–17 May 23–24 May

Young England Trewsbury Young England Trial Open 9 May

Combined Services Tidworth Royal Navy Weekend Open

30–31 May

Schools & Universities Longdole SUPA National Junior RLS Oxford University v Chairman's RLS Oxford University v Old Blues

31 May 2 May 24 May

Ladies Edgeworth Ladies Tournament Open

30–31 May

Open and other Coworth Audi Polo Challenge Guards Ivan the Terrible Challenge New Forest Mawaz Khan Cup Open Sussex Blind Date Open W Wycombe WWPPC Friends Cup

10 May 30-May 16 May 16–17 May 9–10 May

Picture of the month Team Hizan’s Pablo Mora (in yellow) plays his magic flying stick in the final of the Jose Ignacio Domecq Memorial Trophy at his family’s Santa Maria Polo Club in Sotogrande on 12 April (see also page 30) Photograph by Tony Ramirez – www.imagesofpolo.com

Club

contacts (UK and Ireland)

AEPC – Hickstead 01273 834315 All Ireland – +353 (1) 6896732 Apsley End – 01462 712444 Ascot Park – 01276 858545 Ash Farm – 01932 872521 Asthall Farm – 01367 860207 Beaufort – 01666 880510 Belmont, Mill Hill – 01344 829955 Beverley – 01964 544455 Binfield Heath – 01491 411969 Brannockstown – +353 45483708 Brightling – 01465 810017 Bunclody – +353 876605917 Burningfold – 01483 200722 Cambridge & Newmarket – 07769 976781 Carlton House – 01986 892231 Cheshire – 01270 611100 Chester Racecourse – 01244 304602 Cirencester Park – 01285 653225 Cowdray Park – 01730 813257 Coworth Park – 01344 875155 Curraghmore – +353 51387102 Dedham Vale – 01473 280900 Donaghadee – 02891 882521 Druids Lodge – 01722 782597 Dundee & Perth – 07831 365194 Edgeworth – 07879 825660 Edinburgh – 0131 449 6696 Epsom – 01372 748200 FHM – 07778 436468 Fifield – 01628 620061 Foxhill – 0115 9651790 Frolic Farm – 01223 812922 Guards – 01784 434212 Haggis Farm – 01223 460353 Ham – 020 8334 0000 Herbertstown – +353 872552331 Hertfordshire – 01707 256023 Hurtwood Park – 01483 272828 Inglesham – 01367 253939 Kinross – 07831 365194 Kirtlington – 01869 650138 Knepp Castle – 01403 741007 Lacey Green – 07947 725305 Ladyswood – 01666 840880 Limerick – +353 872373903 Little Bentley – 01206 250435 Longdole – 01452 864544 Maywood – 01962 885500 Moyne – ≠353 851313224 New Forest – 02380 811818 Offchurch Bury – 07785 223383 Orchard – 01258 471000 Park Lane – 01491 411969 Ranksboro – 01572 720046 RMAS – 01276 412276 Royal County of Berkshire – 01344 890060 RLS – 01926 812409 Rugby – 01788 817724 Rutland – 01572 724568 Silver Leys – 01279 652652 Stewarton – 01560 483411 Suffolk Polo – 07990 576974 Sussex Polo – 01342 714920 Taunton – 01823 480460 Tidworth – 01980 846705 Toulston – 01422 372529 Vale of York – 07788 426968 Vaux Park – 01460 242684 West Somerset – 01884 820432 West Wycombe – 01865 858475 White Rose – 01430 875750 Wicklow – +353 (0) 404 67164 ◗ To contact the HPA, tel: 01367 242828 ◗ To contact SUPA, tel: 01344 625124

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Out and about Mountbatten Memorial Trophy: Aus vs Eng 29 March 2009 – Windsor Polo Club, Australia

Aussies pick up tribute trophy in tight encounter The history of the Mountbatten Memorial Trophy is an interesting one. Devised and presented to Windsor Polo Club by the Countess Mountbatten of Burma in 1979, as a tribute to and in memory of her recently murdered father, it is a unique international trophy, in which Australia only ever plays either England or India because of her father’s links to both countries. The Earl of Mountbatten of Burma was the Windsor Polo Club patron from 1973 until his untimely death, and was the last Viceroy and first Governor General of India. The match is always played at Windsor Polo Club, New South Wales, and Prince Charles played in the inaugural contest in 1979. In the last match with India in 2006, the hosts won 9-8, but lost in their most recent game against England in 2004, 7-6. Indeed, the event has a rich history of close and exciting games, with all but one of the games since 1979 decided by just a single goal. This year went the same way, but this time it was an 18goal England that was left to rue a missed opportunity, losing 8-7 to their hosts in front of more than 3,000 jubilant spectators. Match footage will soon on the Windsor club’s website, www.wpc.org.au

England (l-r): Sam Gairdner 5; James Harper 6; Jamie Le Hardy 5; and Ollie Cudmore 2, making his senior international debut

California’s Karli Thornton, with Louis Paul, Cath Hughes and Fiona Rae

Photographs by Cassandra Hough (Fairfax Media) Matt Downs (Rural Press)

Ed Goold and Rob Archibald give chase to Jamie Le Hardy

Brits on tour: Ali D'uaz, Megan Kipps and Joff Lacey picnic like they’re at home

68 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

James Harper takes the ball to the boards, with Jamie Le Hardy and Ollie Cudmore providing support


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Australian captain Glen Gilmore, wearing the red helmet, paid tribite to “England’s tenacious defence” in the wake of another thrilling encounter

Courtney Wilson, England’s Mike Hoare, Marrit Hagenbeek, Nick Ram and Zusje Luntungan

The English and Australian teams, along with the umpires, line up with Ros Packer

Siobhan Moylan and Brett Goodrich on the sidelines Natalie Habib, Catherine Beck and Monika Kwiatkowski get some shade

Above: Kirsten Galliott and Ruki Baillieu relax before the game; while, left, Liv Pascoe and Mark Hudson get up close and personal in the autumn Australian sunshine

Melinda Gouveia Sylvania Waters and Julia Wood Mosman

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Out and about Barbados Open finals 2009 Clifton Polo, St Thomas

Notes from a small island Despite the rising entries at polo tournaments on Barbados and across the Caribbean, the Barbados Open 2009 couldn’t prove itself to be entirely immune from the financial difficulties prevalent in the global economy. There was no exclusive VIP sponsor’s marquee at this year’s final and a marginally more civilised and reserved feel prevailied at the celebrations and after-party in the clubhouse, compared with last year. However, even without quite the same displays of chaotic drunken human gymnastics from the exuberant Argentine grooms that were seen in 2008, there was still plenty of boozy fun to be had on the social side at Clifton Polo and beyond again this spring. In particular, with international cricket between the West Indies and England looming again on the island the following week, there were several adventurous sun-baked tourists from the “Barmy Army” mixing it with the best of the locals and more regular visitors, both at the polo and on the night out that followed.

Sir Charles “Cow” Williams warms up ahead of the subsidiary final

And what a night it was. Complete with transsexual strippers, bongo drums, late-night karaoke and plenty of ice-cold rum, it was one that is sure to live long in the memory.

Low-goal local players Jeff Evelyn and Vicki Gonzalez

Photographs by James Mullan

Polo Times deputy editor James Mullan, tournament organiser Karen Kranenburg, and Natalie and Harry Manning

The teams line up for a rendition of the Bajan national anthem before the start of the final 70 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Colourful commentator Jonathan Simpson


PTMay 2009 p70-71 Barbados YC

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Above: Nacho Acuna (centre) relaxes with his side’s grooms after a job well done Right: Girls just wanna have fun – Dot Jones, Tina Taylor and Linda Williams

Alex and Susan Cole enjoy the party

Katie Finegan and Lucy Taylor

Lucy Taylor’s bongo playing leaves Tom Robinson asking what more he needs in life

The tricky 12th hole at the beautiful Apes Hill Club Barbados golf course in St James

Recently engaged Brits, Jana Dowling and six-goaler Tom Morley

Above: treading in between the games on finals’ day at Clifton Polo Left: Brits abroad – Holders Festival employee, Tom Robinson, and Caribbean-based teacher, Chris Norton, who travelled from Antigua for the event www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 71


PTMay 2009 p72-73 British Show YC

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Out and about British Open Show Jumping arena polo matches LG Arena, Birmingham – 18-19 April 2009

Victory for Vinopolis, and Jade replaces Jordan An extended programme of arena polo was one of the most anticipated highlights of the British Open Show Jumping Championships last month. Several thousand spectators on the Saturday (18 April) witnessed a fast and hotly contested 12-goal match in the afternoon and evening, before a proam celebrity match on the Sunday. Team Vinopolis, who were the narrow victors in controversial circumstances in last year’s 18-goal game, overcame Team Zinc to hold on to their British Open Show Jumping title, 10-7. Model, TV personality and author Katie Price (aka Jordan) was lined up to take part in the celebrity match against a team headed up by Gladiators’ Amy Guy (aka Siren), who had had two weeks of intensive training at Rugby Polo Club with Philip Baker. However, there was disappointment for Price’s fans when she was forced to withdraw because of knee injury. She was replaced by Jade de Vere-Drummond, the marketing and PR manager for the tournament organisers. A minus-two-goal-player, Jade took up the game six years ago and has her own ponies. Although she hadn’t ridden since September, she proved an able substitute, playing alongside her fiancé Dean Lines. Jade and Amy, who were joined by four of the professionals from the previous day’s competition, both scored as their respective teams ground out a 5-5 draw. Professional match teams: Team Vinopolis (12): Dean Lines 5; Michael Henderson 5; Oscar Mathies 2 Team Zinc (12): Howard Smith 6; Philip Baker 4; Will Almond 2

Dean Lines turns to change the line of the ball in the 12-goal match

Photographs courtesy of the British Open Press Office

Katie Price (centre, in pink) was replaced in Team KP Equestrian for the pro-am celebrity polo match by Jade de Vere-Drummond

Amy Guy’s blond hair spills out behind her as she lines up for a shot

An attentive Birmingham audience watches with interest as Jade de VereDrummond (in pink) and Gladiators’ Amy Guy (aka Siren) keep each other close 72 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Philip Baker (in black) and Oscar Mathies vie for the ball


PTMay 2009 p72-73 British Show YC

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Call Sales on: +44 (0) 1638 507785 Fax us on: +44 (0) 1638 507297 E-mail: info@greenheath.co.uk HIRE FLEET AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE Specialists in groundcare & used equipment Supply. For full listings go to: www.greenheath.co.uk

Kubota 8200. 2004, air con, creep box, 4wd, ex turf customer, tidy genuine 75 hp. £13,750 + vat

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Ex Demo 520-50 JCB, 2007, 300 hrs, 4x4, pallet tines, very tidy £22,750 + vat

Ex Demo 531-70 Teleporters, 2008, turbo, air con, power shift, joystick, 800 hrs. £28,900 + vat

Ex hire Lambourgini 700. 70hp, 4wd, full floatation tyres, creep, front linkage, what an outfit. £9,000 + vat

Zetor 5211, 52hp, floatation tyres, 2wd, she wont let you down and neither will the price. £5,750 + vat

Major MJ2000, 2006, still paint on baldes, collects, cuts and will scarify. Perfect. New over 11K. Saving is huge. £8,000 + vat

From Kawasaki to Kubota, used to almost new, value to great value, petrol - diesel - electric, around 20 to choose from. Prices start £2,000. Call for further details

www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 73


PTMay 2009 p74 - 75 Reader Offer YC.qxp

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PTMay 2009 p74 - 75 Reader Offer YC.qxp

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Reader offer DVD special offer from Blue Tuna

101 Great Polo Goals Polo Times is celebrating the release of Blue Tuna’s new DVD 101 Great Polo Goals with an exclusive offer for all our subscribers. You can enjoy an all-star cast, including Adolfo Cambiaso, Pablo MacDonough, Juan Martin Nero, the Pieres and Merlos brothers, David Stirling and such British players as Andrew Hine, Henry Brett, Nacho Gonzalez and the Tomlinsons for just £16.99.

Polo Times reader offer price:

£16.99

plus £2 post and packing

RRP of DVD: £19.99 Featuring a collection of world-class goals from the most celebrated players in the game over the last decade, 101 Great Polo Goals is essential viewing for any serious polo fan. So sit back, relax and enjoy over an hour of non-stop action, from the best grounds in Europe, the US and Argentina.

Blue Tuna is a London-based video and multi-media production company with a long-standing relationship with polo since the late 1990s

Offer ends 31 August 2009

Name: Address:

Post code: I would like to order

copy(s) at £16.99 each plus £2 post and packing

Blue Tuna Ltd 19 Fitzjohn Avenue, Barnet, Hertfordshire EN5 2HH Tel: +44 (0)20 8275 8780

Please post to Blue Tuna, as above, and make your cheque payable to Blue Tuna Ltd

www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 75


PTMay 2009 p76-77 Classifieds

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Club information

We are pleased to introduce for 2009 the

May Tournaments 9 - 10 May 16 - 17 May 30 - 31 May

May Cup Coppid Cup Duvall 8 Goal

-2 - 2 Goal -2 - 0 Goal 6 - 8 Goal

For membership information and all other enquiries please contact Secretary Bridget Hancock on 01491 411 969 www.binfieldheathpoloclub.co.uk “eQuine Q-Link. Less Stress, Optimum Performance, Maximum Riding Enjoyment”

LONGDOLE POLO CLUB • £550 for Membership paid before 1st May • Rob Cudmore England Coach, 2 HPA Instructors International Equitrack Polo Arena Fantastic clubhouse with licensed bar & excellent viewing of the arena Polo Pony Hire, School Ponies Chukkas and Matches - call the office for Info Individual Coaching, Group Lessons, Social & Corporate Events

For information on membership, polo lessons and general enquiries please call: Tel: (office) 01452 864 544 Mobile: 07974 532 841 email: rob@longdolepolo.com Longdole Polo Club, Birdlip, Gloucestershire, GL4 8LH

76 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Credit Crunch League 20 teams competing for a prize fund of £5000!. Team handicap “0” Goals, maximum player handicap 2

Entries close 10th May (Limited to 20 teams on first come basis) Email polo@knepp.co.uk or call 01403 741007

www.kneppcastlepoloclub.co.uk


PTMay 2009 p76-77 Classifieds

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Classifieds PONIES

FITNESS EQUIPMENT

GIFTS

PONIES

BEDDING

Phil Shaw Bedmax shavings, hay, haylage and straw Delivery by arrangement Tel/fax 01235 816 564 Mobile 0791 776 0645 www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 77


PTMay 2009 p78-79 Classifieds

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Classifieds TRANSPORT The New Lightweight body by

TRISTAR★★★ This revolutionary horsebox is designed to achieve a payload of approximately 3 tons – which means you can legally carry: 5 medium weight 16hh horses – around 600kg each, or 6 polo ponies of an average 460kg each – and this also includes all tack! This innovative body can be produced in any length from 10’ – 30’, with the same variations in specification as any other vehicle in our range.

www.tristarhorsesboxes.co.uk

Tel: 01570 422250 Fax: 01570 423842 Email: sales@tristarhorseboxes.co.uk

Polo Lorries Made to Order Contact Cris Matthews on 07885 734 282 Polo Lorries built by qualified engineer and polo player who understands your requirements. • Can adapt to your specifications. • Any repairs to partitions, ramps, floors, welding of cabs, resprays and M.O.T preparation. • Or keep your container and we can swap your chassis/cab for a newer one. • Pick up and delivery service.

email: crispmatthews@hotmail.co.uk

78 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk


PTMay 2009 p78-79 Classifieds

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GROUND MAINTENANCE

EQUIPMENT

CH GROUNDS MAINTENANCE LTD Specialists in the construction, maintenance and drainage of polo grounds.

CONSTRUCTION SAND SPREADING VERTI-DRAINING OVERSEEDING DRAINAGE & SPRAYING

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CHESHAM OFFICE Tel: (01494) 758208 Fax: (01494) 758886 Email: mike@chgrounds.com www.chgrounds.com HEALTH & WELFARE

DRUG FREE PAIN RELIEF Sore wrists? Tennis elbow? Windgalls? Laminitis? Problems with tendons and suspensories? Cold backed horses?

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Back on Track unique ceramic fabric products For 10% off your first order or for more info call +447866475977 or email backontrack.uk@hotmail.com

DESTINATIONS

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www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 79


PTMay 2009 p80-81 Classifieds

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Classifieds PONIES MED GOAL POLO PONY: Great medium goal TB pony. Dark bay gelding 8 years old. Played up to 18 goal Argentina, 12 goal in UK last two seasons. Very fast, nippy 53\stick. Priced to sell as no jockey this season. £7990 ovno. Contact: 01306 627 255 RELIABLE ADDITION TO PC/LOW GOAL STRING: 15hh compact mare PC home last 7 years. Played Gannon final 2007 & lots of low goal 2007/08. Absolutely nothing wrong with her, never lame, good all round reliable and sweet natured pony a very youthful 19. Genuine reason for sale. £2,750. Contact 07770 526148 FUN & VERSATILE 15.2HH 8YO MARE: Plays with -2 14 year old to a 4 goal pro, hunts, jumps, hacks alone, well-mannered, GSOH. Sound (5* May 08) but cold-backed so not for beginner. Good home essential £4,250 Tel: 01344 884334 or 07825 706917 (Berkshire) 3 TOP PONIES FOR SALE: Two mares, 7yrs and 9 yrs old, both played high goal, both extremely fast and handy. £10,000 ono and £8000 ono. Gelding, 5yrs old, played 8 goal last summer, very easy £7000 ono. Quick sale needed. Call Ed-07786 246918 TWO ARGENTINE PONIES FOR SALE: Two young Argentine ponies for sale. Imported April 2008. 6yo bay mare, very fast and easy to do in everyway (£8000). 8yo black mare, very straight forward (£7000). Based in Dorset. Tel: 07879 675546 2 GENUINE & EASY PONIES: Played PC & schools. 15.2hh chestnut mare, 12 years, fit to play. 14.3hh dun mare, 10 years, fit to play. Easy to shoe, box, clip, traffic, etc. Played Vaux Park last year. £4,000 each ono. Max Agar 01258 880850 / 07775 860686 MAGIC IN 14.2HH: Stunning easy 8yo chestnut mare. Played up to 8 goal, jumps coloured fences, goes x-country, good dressage and hacks alone. Very kind, perfect for all the family, sound. £4,850. Tel: 07780 607766 15.2HH ARGENTINE CHESTUNT MARE 9YO: Played low goal. Gentle, reliable, fast. Played by 3 goal pro and 1 goal Argentinean player last season 2008. Very sweet natured pony - to good home only. Sad sale, owner giving up. £6000. Contact: 07531 516567/01608 683278 (Kirtlington) 2 PONIES PRICED TO SELL: Tobiana 7y-o, 15.3hh, skewbald Argentine mare, very fast, wins ride offs, forward going, easy, very attractive, sound, suit -2 to 0. £7000 0VNO. Bengala 12y-o, 14.3hh bay Argentine mare, fast, stops turns, sound, suit pony club or lady. £4000 OVNO. joshclover@hotmail.co.uk or 07846 562295 (Suffolk) SCHOOLMASTER FOR SALE: A well mannered, confidence inspiring and good looking, bay gelding. Suitable for beginner or PC player. 52 stick. Played up to 6 goal last season. £2000 ono. Tel 07974 145642 TWO BEGINNER ARGENTINE PONIES: 15.1 chestnut mare 17yrs, 15.2 bay gelding 18yrs. Both very easy in every respect. £1500 each. Contact Dick Rowe on 01258 471000 or 07968 235566 (Dorset) REDUCING STRING: 4 ponies for sale due to family members no longer playing. Select 4 from 9. All played 4-8 and 12 goal with family and pros (-1 to 6 goal) (WRPexecutive.com) and some pony club. All coming into work now - well looked after as extensions to family - all can be vetted, no vices, excellent ponies, in excellent condition. Aged 6-9, priced £8k to £12k. Tel: 07766 356 429 (Midhurst)

80 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

HANDSOME 14.2HH GREY GELDING: 9yo suit competitive pony club pair or competent patron. Fast, very handy, plays arena and grass, open to vetting. 100% to clip, shoe and box. Ready to be tried. £5000 ono. Tel: 07766 445048. QUALITY POLO STOCK: Ponies trained and played by Roddy Matthews. Ready to try and sensibly priced. Ponies to suit all levels. Selling fast. Call 07957 587066 or email: roddymatthews@hotmail.com for a current price list. UNDER PRICED POLO PONY FOR SALE: Good looking 15'1 bay gelding. Played 2 to 10 goal. Calm, handy and good fun to play. Currently played by both amateur and pro, would also suit pony club. £7000. Contact Anouska 07805 840 271. 14.2 PRETTY ARGENTINE BAY MARE: Rising 5. Played farm chukkas, lots stick and ball. Easy willing temperament. Strong physic. Fab prospect. Needs finishing, no time. £1600 ono. Tel 07770 945 656 (Oxon) 15.3HH 14-Y-O - EX ALEXANDER DE LISLE: Dark bay Argentine gelding, bred by Pepe Araya. Perfect patron pony/gentleman/ideal pony club £8,000. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770 585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 15HH 10-Y-O - EX ALEXANDER DE LISLE: Grey Argentine gelding previously played by Mark Tomlinson £8,000. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770 585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 15HH 13-Y-O - EX ALEXANDER DE LISLE: Grey Argentine mare purchased from J.P. Smail. £15,000. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770 585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 14.2HH 10-Y-O - EX NICHOLAS DE LISLE: Piebald Argentine mare, therefore cannot play Handley X. Has hunted £6,000. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770 585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 14.3HH 11-Y-O - EX NICHOLAS DE LISLE: Palamino Argentine mare £5,000. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770 585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 6YR OLD STUNNING DARK BAY MARE: 14.3hh very easy, fast, brave, compact pony from Uruguay. Played Pony Club Langford 2008 and low goal. Has HUGE potential. 51” stick. 100% box, shoe, clip. £7,000. Ring 01271 373466 or 07766 700904. TWO FANTASTIC POLO PONIES: 15.1hh bay mare 9yrs and 15.2hh bay gelding 10yrs. Ideal for low goal player. Have both played regularly in 15-goal polo. £6k and £10k. Call 07970 029927. 15.1HH POLO SCHOOL MISTRESS: Beautiful 15 year old bay mare. Played arena and outdoor polo. Easy, reliable, good in a ride off. Forward going but safe. Ideal PC polo. £2250. Contact Kerry: 01329 236496 (evenings) SITUATIONS

GROOM FOR THE 2009 SEASON: Experienced groom with low to medium goal polo experience. Must have the ability to work on own initiative. Ability to drive a box would help but not imperative. Good horses which are easy to handle. Possibly part time. Based in Petworth, West Sussex. Call 01798 344968 LGV DRIVER (CLASS C OR ABOVE) REQUIRED: For an immediate start for a high goal polo team based near Cowdray Park. Full or part time position with good rates of pay, leading to the possibility of a year

round job. Please call 07957 587066 or email milleniumcaw@hotmail.com HPA CLUB INSTRUCTOR / POLO MANAGER WANTED: HPA club instructor/polo manager wanted for a fun and enthusiastic low goal club for the 2009 season. Primarily a teaching post, but with usual club duties. Salary, accommodation and benefits, plus shared use of a car. Own horses welcome, opportunities to sell horses to clients. Call Fred Robinson at Little Bentley Park Polo Club 01206 250435 or email fred@littlebentleypark.co.uk PROPERTY DOUBLE ROOM TO RENT: Room to rent in country cottage 10 mins from Kemble station (direct line to Paddington) and equidistance between Cirencester and Beaufort Clubs. £400 pm inc bills. Call Jules 07768 742802 TRANSPORT AND MACHINERY NON HGV FORD CARGO 0813 PRICED TO SELL:1989 Lorry lady owner, low mileage. (My 1998 lorry has higher mileage). Incredibly honest reliable vehicle. Maintained well. Navy blue. Priced to sell quickly. Off road currently. Will plate and MOT for year for new owner. Reduced from £6000 to £4800 for quick sale. Call Amanda on 07990 570289 POLO LORRY: Iveco E15 7.5 tonne, S reg (1998), partitioned for 4 horses, select coach built, six months MOT, plated Oct 09. Good overall condition. Large tack area. £12,250. Tel: 07818 063 219 HGV LORRY FOR SALE- EX ALEXANDER DE LISLE: 12.5 Tons 1991 Leyland DAF 160 Turbo, 146,000 miles. Jennings body with automatic back ramp, manual side ramp. Partitioned for six designed for seven. Ex household cavalry. Plated to 31/05/2009 and taxed to 31/7/09. £10,000 ono. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770585 / 07711 075 450 or edwindelisle@barnsdaleoffice.co.uk 4 HORSE TRAILER FAUTRAS PROMAX FOR SALE NOW £8,750 ONO: 18 months old, has been used less than 12 times. Today it would cost more than £13,000. These trailers are very good for polo due to their quality, ease of loading and travelling calmly. £8,750 ovno. Giles Greenwood - 07776 186 444. GENUINE QUICK SALE: Scania 94D 260 6x2, first registered 12.10.99. Tacho reading, 255,245 miles. Tested to Feb 2010. Box built by Tristar for 11 horses in November 2008. Paid £35,000, taking reasonable offers, viewable near Ascot. Call 07785 227215 NON HGV HORSE LORRY: Mann 8.163 (Y reg) V.G.C. Winterbourne horsebox, 4 horse plus small tack area, access to cab. Box built 2006. MOT March 2010, Taxed 'til Feb 2010. £20,000 ono. Tel: 01258 880 850 HORSE TRANSPORT & FREELANCE CLASS 1 DRIVER FOR HIRE: Horse transport & driver available. Also freelance driver/groom. 25+ years experience working with & transporting horses in the UK & Europe. Class 1/O/CPC licence holder & DEFRA approved. 01794 323195 - 07786 475123 (Hants/Wilts based) IVECO 75 E 17 TECTOR Y REG 2001 NON HGV: Super polo wagon, partitioned for 6, 7500 kg GVW, June test, brand new conversion, sliding windows/roof vents, superb granolithic rubber flooring throughout, galvanized partitions, wagon immaculate, will paint if required, for more information/pictures please email Qtpiedeluxe@hotmail.co.uk or call 07836 551227


PTMay 2009 p80-81 Classifieds

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BREEDING

Large selection of 11 HORSE TRANSPORTER FOR SALE: Mercedes 1823 on air sleeper cab, Defra approved excellent condition. Large water tank, cctv, used daily, only for sale as new truck arriving. £11,000+vat ono. Tel 07973 825207 EXCELLENT 5 HORSE DAF NON HGV IN SILVER: Sleeper tilt cab with stacking cd, cctv to horse area, immobilizer. Light airy horse/tack area with 10 sliding windows and roof vents. Fully adjustable padded partitions, rubber floor, granolithic kickboards, full length rug racks, internal lighting. Power steering and air suspension - easy comfortable ride. Power horse wash. Mot'd to Feb 10 and taxed to Aug 09. Purpose built 4 years ago by select on 1995 7.5ton Leyland DAF 45 turbo 150 diesel chassis. Excellent throughout. £12,500 no vat. Kevin 07775784298/01347 838065(York) IFOR WILLIAMS 610 TRAILER: Absolutely as new condition. Flexible for 2-5. Four partitions including 2 head partitions. External tie points. Only very light usage. £6,200 no VAT. Tel 01730 827 277 NON HGV POLO LORRY: Non HGV Polo Lorry Mercedes 814 EcoPower, 1997, partitioned for 5, can carry 6. Large, secure Luton storage area. Very reliable, regularly serviced. 1 yrs MOT. Would take 3-4 trailer in part-exchange. £7000 ono. Contact 07817 209565 or cliveposselt@gmail.com HORSE BOX: Very tidy Leyland Daf. LGV 5 horse plus tack. Easy to drive excellent condition. Low mileage (67Km) new battery, new tank, brakes. Isolator fitted. V reg. £7,000 priced to sell as surplus to requirements this season. Contact: 01306 627 255

ENGLISH LEATHER TACK FOR SALE: 2 excellent condition, Jaguar English leather saddles for sale. £450 each ono. Leathers and irons included. 2 Jaguar full bridles also available. Contact Anouska on 07805 840271 or acfabes04@hotmail.com DESTINATIONS CHATEAU PREMONT POLO: 2 bedroom holiday gite for rent on newly established polo domain in the south of France. Gite includes kitchen, lounge, shower room, 2 bedrooms and small garden. Located 18km south of Avignon close to Arles, St Remy and the Camargue. Further details call 07734 923828, +336 45714751 or email home@chateaupremont.com LIVERY

sticks, saddles, stick & kit bags, knee pads & other polo gear Call or email Jamie Gordon on:

077100 73910 jamiegordon@villamil.co.uk

www.villamil.co.uk

Authorised Dealer

ASTHALL FARM POLO CLUB & LIVERY: Close to Inglesham, Kirtlington & Cirencester. Full size field, stick & ball areas, horse walker, wooden horse, turnout etc. Livery - 5 bay barn available for player's ponies plus caravan for groom. Fully affiliated, affordable, beginner ponies. Excellent club house - all welcome, very friendly club. Call 013676 860207 or 07740 200507, asthallfarm@btinternet.com, www.asthallfarm.co.uk. BUDGET LIVERY AND FLAT AVAILABLE: Flat £100pw. Stabling, grazing, large practice ground. Low cost DIY or full livery. Farm hay. Use of lorry. 1/2hr Kirtlington, 3/4hr RLS. Tel: 01608 737 252 or Thomas 07900 055 937 (Hook Norton, Oxon). MISCELLANEOUS

EQUIPMENT POLO SADDLE FOR SALE: Complete with buffalo leathers and irons £325.00. Also many polo sized New Zealand rugs £10 each. Owner (and pony) giving up. Tel 01483 566 279 or 07901 820 607 3 PRO-POLO SADDLES FOR SALE: Hardly used, suede seat. £400 each ono or sensible offer for all 3. Also second hand tack, mallets and rugs for sale, some real bargains! Call 07957 587066

BEAUTIFUL ART COMMISSIONS: Beautiful, handpainted, one-off oils on a linen canvass size of your choice created from your own cherished photograph. Please email Alex Culkerton (culkerton@live.co.uk) for a quotation. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. FILMING & EDITING EVENTS TO DVD: Your view productions. We film and edit events to DVD, from weddings to special occasions to children's parties. Contact Marc Paydon email: mpaydon_2000@yahoo.co.uk or on 0781 2569855

When you contact advertisers, please mention that you saw them in Polo Times www.polotimes.co.uk May 2009 81


PTMay 2009 p82 week YC

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The last word

A Week

in the life of. .

the Midhurst Rugby Club. I’ve been here 10 years and it feels like home. My brother Dale came to work for Alan in the 1990s, and I came when I left school – I’d taken up polo aged 13 in Natal, encouraged by my grandfather Doon Sparks, and was meant to come just for one season, looking after Alex Dann's horses. I’ve been at Alan’s ever since, and five years ago became manager. I usually go to South Africa for a six-week holiday in winter, but I look forward to coming back to Midhurst. ON THURSDAY we had more grooms’ chukkas and on Friday went back to schooling and sets. On Saturday at 10am we had our first chukkas for liveries. Ginny Hoare of Hollycombe, who I play for, played, as did Tony McCallum. Most of our clients have six to eight horses, although some have one or two. Other long-term regulars include Phil Rhodes, Alice Harvey, Emma Sargeant and Harry Marshall. We’ve had the high-goal horses of Atlantic and Talandracas in recent years, but not this summer.

Photograph by Yolanda Carslaw

ON THE TUESDAY of Easter week I was at the yard for 7am, when the horses start going out on sets. I rent in Midhurst, but most of the 30 grooms live at Madams Farm. We have nearly 200 horses in, and this year up to 80 will probably stay out all summer, as some owners won’t play. I checked those and hayed them up, then at 9.30am I hopped on a horse – I spend five hours in the saddle most days, sometimes on those that need extra work, or schooling youngsters, which normally involves 10-15 minutes of nice, easy, soft work each time. We have 25 youngsters, as well as Alan’s three stallions, Oshkosh, Stewart and All Gold, all by the Catisfield Kid, and I have 10 horses of my own, too. BY MIDDAY the morning’s exercising, brushing, feeding and mucking out was done and after lunch most of the Argentines had a siesta. We have a great group of Argentine boys who come year after year, plus a few South Africans, a New Zealander and a Canadian. We were back out by 2pm for afternoon sets, and some horses were singled (ridden singly) on and near the woodchip track. During fittening it’s a case of getting mileage in with somebody on their backs before stick and balling. 82 May 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk

Derreck Bratley

South African five-goaler Derreck Bratley, 28, manager of Alan Kent’s Madams Farm, talks pony prep, first chukkas, braais and rugby with Yolanda Carslaw We feed them after 4.30pm. Once they're rugged up, it's a question of checking on them, then I come into the office and start on the lists, seeing what horse movements we have in the forthcoming days, and looking at paperwork. WE PLAYED the first chukkas of the season on the top field on Wednesday, with the grooms and the pros that are based here, such as Leroux Hendrix and Angus McKelvie. It gave the horses their first go and got the buck out of them. In the evening I went to rugby training with

ON SATURDAY afternoon I played rugby – we beat Chichester at Cowdray Ruins. A friend of mine, Dean Marks, a one-goal player based at David Morley’s, played too. I raced to the yard afterwards to check chukka lists for the next day, before returning to the clubhouse. We got kicked out at 9.30pm and headed to the Wheatsheaf, our local in Midhurst. ON EASTER SUNDAY we had more clients up for chukkas, and some others, such as David Jamison and Olly Hancock, came to ride and stick and ball. After work we had a braai – everyone’s invited, although mainly it’s the South Africans here that come. A couple of the Argentines will sometimes come over for a beer, if they’re not playing football. That evening we cooked steak, chicken, boerewors – a kind of sausage – and putu, a maize meal. My sister, who lives in London, brings South African supplies now and then. We cheat on the barbecue front – we use gas. MONDAY IS A REST day. The horses are walked out, but we give them a break – if everyone chills out it makes the rest of the week easier. After the morning’s work some friends and I played golf at Osiers Farm near Petworth. It’s a friendly club with good rates. At this time of year, although we’re busy, it’s not the season proper, and we can still take advantage of a bit of free time. F


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Per Bound Cover Issue 4

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Polo Times May 2009

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