Per Bound Cover Issue 5
Polo Times June 2009
Per Bound Cover Issue 5
PTJune 2009 p2 - 3 contents YC
Publisher Margie Brett email@example.com Editor Yolanda Carslaw firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor James Mullan email@example.com Art Editor James Wildman firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Karen Saunders email@example.com Subscriptions Becky Ford firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts Debbie Mason email@example.com
Contributors Carlos Beer, Arthur Douglas-Nugent, Mark Emerson, John Horswell, Lorna Jowett, Andrew Seavill, Herbert Spencer, Lindsay Warner, Alex Webbe Front cover Hurtwood Masters by Andrew Tobin 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe online at www.polotimes.co.uk
Polo Times East End Farm, North Leigh Oxfordshire OX29 6PX Tel: 01993 886 885 Fax: 01993 882 660 email: email@example.com www.polotimes.co.uk
© Polo Times Limited 2009 and Database Right 2009 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.
24 The culmination of the US Open News 4 8 10
All the latest news HPA news Obituary: David Heaton-Ellis
Comment 13 14 16 18 21 22
Herbert Spencer’s global view Interview: Charles Betz Letter from America Arthur Douglas-Nugent’s umpire’s corner John Horswell’s players’ forum Your views: letters to the editor
10 Obituary - David Heaton-Ellis
Reports 24 28 30 32 36 38
Stanford US Open Rolex Four Nations Cup at Palermo Hurtwood Polo Masters Team Australia tours Jamaica Steppes Travel Cirencester 0-40 Goal Around the clubs
Ladies special: polo’s sporty career girls
The knowledge 46 49 50 53 54 58 60 62 64
Duty vet with Mark Emerson Horsemanship with Andrew Seavill Pony power: BPP in the US Open Feeding with Lorna Jowett Travel: Polo in the Caribbean Property: houses for polo groupies Gear: belts for all the family Book reviews: for the armchair and the gym What’s on in June – tournament information
42 Working girls who play, too
Out and about 68
Social snaps from both sides of the Atlantic
Classifieds A week in the life of: Jamie Peel
56 Travel – Caribbean special www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 3
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from the Editor As we wrapped up this June issue at Polo Times HQ, it felt as though the 2009 season proper had really started to swing. The start-of-season parties were out of the way (see Out & About for our pick), and 18 Queen’s Cup teams had begun their battle for the first 22-goal title of summer, with the usual suspects joined by several newly formed teams. According to John Horswell (read his column on page 21), who has been watching eagerly, competition is especially even this year. “Add to this the explosive action, the thrills, spills and incidents we have seen already and it’s almost too much to bear!” he writes. I thoroughly recommend readers from all spheres follow his advice and get down to Guards to watch. We keep hearing brilliant news about new low-goal clubs getting going, or university teams taking off, staging new tournaments or bagging new sponsors. Lincolnshire now has its first club, in a majestic setting on a family estate at Leadenham, while Frolic Farm, between Cambridge and Newmarket, is upping its involvement after several years with a toe in the water. Both are putting much emphasis on instruction. Soon there won’t be a corner of the UK where you can’t find somewhere to play. We’ll bring you more on this year’s new clubs in a future issue.
Early high-goal produces quality, quantity and drama THE 22-GOAL SEASON has started with a bang, with the 18 teams in the fray already providing drama, tight results and a high quality of polo – all in a year when some thought the sport might struggle at top level. The three patrons new to the level – Salkeld’s Nick Clarke, Habtoor’s Rashid al Habtoor and Enigma’s Jerome Wirth – have been performing well with their newly formed sides. In the two “warm-ups”, the Trippetts Challenge and the Holyport Cup, many of the 18 took part, giving them at least two competitive matches, mainly held on private grounds. In the Trippetts Challenge, held chiefly at the Milford Havens’ base at Milland, West Susssex, two French-backed teams, the long-established Talandracas and newcomers Enigma, came out on top of a field of seven teams. Talandracas won by a goal. The final of the Holyport Cup, organised by Les Lions but also a Queen’s Cup league match, was due to be played the day Polo Times went to press, with Dubai facing Zacara, Early action in the Harcourt Developments Queen’s Cup itself was especially tight in the opening week. The 18 teams have been split into three leagues of four and one group of six, and had played eight matches at the time of writing. Of those, five were decided by a goal. Two hot favourites, Loro Piana/Fise and Ellerston, who field players that won the Queen’s and Gold Cups in 2008, lost their first games, while
4 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
◗ For full results, go to www.polotimes.co.uk The newcomers (clockwise from left): Al Habtoor (l-r): Alejandro Muzzio, Rashid Al Habtoor, Justo del Carrill, Piki Alberdi, Nacho Gonzalez; Enigma patron Jerome Wirth (in white) with Max Gottschalk; Nick Clarke of Salkeld
Photographs by Tony Ramirez and courtesy of Al Habtoor Polo
Last month the polo community very sadly said goodbye to David Heaton-Ellis, who died of motor neurone disease. His legacy in the game has been hundreds of happy pupils – he taught polo for more than a decade – several thriving clubs (he was polo manager at four) and the British Beach Polo Championships at Sandbanks, which he launched last year. We’ve published several letters and tributes this month, as well as his obituary, and if you’d like to add to those for next month’s issue and share some memories, do write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
newcomers Habtoor and Enigma won theirs – both in an extra chukka. Several teams have undergone necessary upheaval – some for traumatic reasons. Before the season started, Zacara changed line-up as Javier Novillo Astrada, who was to play on the team alongside his brother, Eduardo, has been undergoing tests in Argentina and the US for a suspected brain tumour. Zacara patron Lyndon Lea, too, is out for the early part of the season after a fall in the US. Meanwhile Loro Piana has had a reshuffle after patron Alfio Marchini had to return to Italy when his son was involved in a motorbike accident. Young Sussex player William Beresford has come in as part of Loro Piana’s new line-up. Adolfo Cambiaso is also out for a few weeks with riding muscle problems, and Dubai has reshuffled to field Nicolas Roldan (of Westchester fame), Juan Ambroggio and Cristian Laprida. Meanwhile Pablo MacDonough, whose friends dropped him on the ground on his wedding day, breaking his knee, is back in action for Broncos. Games are being played at the Les Lions, Zacara, Trippetts, Brooksfield and Dubai grounds as well as at Smith’s Lawns. Quarter-finals take place over the weekend of 6-7 June and the semi-finals – at which a pony and embryo sale will also take place – on Wednesday 10 June.
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News in brief ◗ ENGLAND’S OPPONENTS in the first Test Match of the season at Beaufort on 20 June looks set to be a 28-goal side of Rob Archibald, Ruki Baillieu, Glen Gilmore and John Paul Clarkin. Clarkin is from New Zealand, meaning England will no longer play Australia, as originally advertised, but Australasia. England selectors were due to meet in late May to select the home side.
The historic ground at Hurlingham, pictured here before World War Two, will host up to 8,000 polo fans per day from 5-6 June
London countdown underway FINAL PREPARATIONS are underway for Polo in the Park, which takes place from 5-6 June at Hurlingham Park in Fulham, London. With a fortnight to go till the event, organisers reported that nearly all grandstand and ground pass tickets for the Saturday – at £40 and £15 respectively per adult – had been sold. Capacity at the ground is around 8,000, with 5,000 grandstand seats. The wider polo world will be eager to see how the event unfolds – given the fact that organisers have “tweaked” the rules with the aim of making the action more spectatorfriendly. The event also marks the first return of polo to the game’s historic home at Hurlingham Park since 1939. The four city teams of New York, London, Moscow and Buenos Aires will be coached by John Horsewell, JJ Alberdi, Will Lucas and Peter Grace, who between chukkas will be providing commentary on their teams’ performances – alongside a main commentary which, at the time
of writing, was expected to be taken care of by Glen Gilmore. Nine of the 16 players are British, and there’s a female player on each team, each of which has a total handicap of about 20 goals. Some players have links to the cities of their teams names – the Buenos Aires side, for instance, fields Argentines – while
Nine of the 16 players are British, and there’s a girl on each team others appear to have little connection to their team titles: Moscow comprises Tamara Vestey, James Glasson, Andrea Vianini and Oliver Taylor. London is represented by the allEnglish quartet of Nina Clarkin, Jamie Morrison, Henry Brett and Jack Kidd, while Kirstie Craig, Nacho Figueras, Roddy Williams and Mathias Guerrand-Hermès play as New York.
Organisers have been urging spectators to buy stand seats, but the game will also be shown on a 92sqm screen, which they claim is the world’s largest. Corporate hospitality is in the Hurlingham club itself and has sold out on the Friday. The gates open at 11am, giving the crowd time to watch jousting displays and browse trade stands before the matches at 4pm and 5.15pm. Gates will close at 8pm. On the Sunday there will be an “community day” – Hurlingham Park Polo Day – staged for the district’s residents, who can apply for tickets through a postcode ballot handled by Hammersmith & Fulham council. The day will include a ladies’ exhibition match and bicycle polo. At the time of writing tickets for Friday and the after-party on Saturday at The Worx, nearby at Parsons Green, were still available from Ticketmaster, Seatwave or the World Polo offices. There is no parking at the event.
US vet to head drive for dope policy A POLO-PLAYING VET who is also officially involved in other horse sports has been nominated by the US Polo Association (USPA) to head its new advisory committee looking into the adoption of substance control and drug testing, writes Herbert Spencer. The move follows the death of 21 ponies in Florida in April, which raised the question of American polo adopting a substances policy. Committee chairman Dr Bill Patterson is a veterinary delegate to
the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and a senior member of the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) as well as a member of the USPA’s Polo Pony Welfare Committee. The 21-member advisory committee, appointed by USPA chairman Tom Biddle after the pony deaths, includes five other vets plus a representative cross-section of American polo: professional players and pony breeders, a veteran polo manager and a representative of the
Federation of International Polo (FIP). “We will be looking at the regulations of other horse sports, the rules of other national polo associations and what is appropriate and legally possible in controlling substances in American polo,” explained Patterson. He said his committee would make its initial report to the USPA board of governors at their autumn meeting, but that getting any new rules adopted “could take up to a year”.
◗ DAVID HEATON-ELLIS, who has been described as “one of the world’s great enthusiasts”, has died of motor neurone disease aged 39. A gifted instructor who was polo manager at four UK clubs in his polo career, he who brought scores of newcomers to the game. MND also killed David’s brother and aunt, and last year David and his wife Sophie set up the Heaton-Ellis Trust to fund research into it. His funeral was held on Friday 22 May. For his obituary, turn to page 10. See also Letters, p22. ◗ A POLO PONY FOAL bred by Ellerston, with one of the organisation’s greatest playing mares and most successful stallions as grandparents, went under the hammer at the Audi Polo Awards for £45,000. Richard Britten-Long, a keen player and chairman of Cirencester Park, bought a foal, due to be born in September, at the post-dinner auction in aid of the Heaton-Ellis Trust. The foal’s sire, America, is by Norman Pentequad and its dam, Dream, is out of Cuddles, an acclaimed grey who is now retired. Ellerston, which donated the foal, is to raise it to two years old. Other lots included holidays in South Africa, Thailand and Argentina. The total raised at the auction was £82,000. Turn to page 70 for more on the Audi Polo Awards and for a list of winners visit www.polotimes.co.uk ◗ NICK WOOD AND Emma Tomlinson are gearing up to host a pony sale at Guards on 10 June, the day of the Queen’s Cup semi-finals. The parade of 12 stallions takes place at 2pm, and the sale, which features 30 ponies and eight embryos, after the second semi-final. All playing ponies can be tried on Monday 8 June at Beaufort Polo Club, where potential buyers will be able to ride and stick-and-ball the horses and take part in practice chukkas at the end of the day. Catalogues are now available. For more visit www.polosaleroom.com ◗ LUIS LALOR was inaugrated as the new chairman of the Argentine Polo Association (AAP) at its 86th AGM on 27 May in Buenos Aires. Lalor replaces Francisco Dorignac, who has held the role since 2005, and whose final legacy was the introduction of the Four Nations contest at Palermo in April (see p28).
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 5
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News ◗ THE SUMMER ARENA international on 18 June at RCBPC, staged instead of the postponed London Polo Championships on Horse Guards Parade, will feature 15-goal teams from England and South Africa. Ollie Browne, Max Charlton and Chris Hyde represent the home nation, while the visitors are Brad MacGibbon and Sipho and Terrence Spilsbury. Doors open at 6pm and the match starts an hour later, after which there will be a party in the club at 8.30pm. ◗ POLO-PLAYING DJ Ebe Sievwright is to hold a series of South American music nights in Ascot this summer. This follows the success of the Queen’s Cup parties organised by Ebe on recent finals days. This year’s run of fun is being held at Club 1 on Ascot High Street, and began with a warm-up on 24 May ahead of the Queen’s Cup party on 14 June and another bash on Sunday 5 July. Ebe has collected all the music – from cumbia to salsa – from Argentine grooms. The parties begin at 8pm, cost £10 on the door and run “from eight till late”. For more details, email email@example.com ◗ A NEW WEBSITE will screen matches in full from British high- and mediumgoal fixtures, including the Queen’s Cup, Gold Cup and Cartier. The facility is aimed at players who want to improve their game by watching themselves in action and at teams who want to research opponents’ play. People can sign up to the website, Polo on Demand, for a monthly fee of £24.97 or pay for a single match at £7.97. The website goes live on 8 June. Visit www.poloondemand.com ◗ AN ANNUAL tournament organised by the University of St Andrews Polo Club drew record numbers of spectators for a charity polo event north of the border. More than 700 arrived for the three-day tournament in May, sponsored by KPMG and in aid of Riding for the Disabled. Matches took place on West Sands Beach and the Strathrym Estate.
6 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
Lechuza manager speaks out FURTHER DETAILS have emerged The injections were given at 11am, about it being the horses that had about the disaster that claimed the and at 12.30pm two horses showed received the compound.” lives of 21 ponies in Florida in signs of not feeling well. They It took four days for news to break April, and Polo Times has stayed behind while the 36 that the chemist had mixed the spoken to the Lechuza others travelled to the compound in incorrect proportions, team manager Esteban ground. One horse – during which time speculation Scott (right), plus an Shakira, one of two catapulted round the world’s independent British vet belonging to Vargas that newspapers and news channels. and feeding expert, to were due to come to “Coverage in the polo press was find out what issues they England – collapsed during better than in the mainstream press,” feel the incident raises. the 20-minute journey. Those says Scott. “Some coverage had no Speaking after the team’s arrival in If legislation makes people feel more the UK for the high-goal, Scott said comfortable, fine. But I know of nothing patron Victor Vargas, who lost 12 of his best horses, has been “the force illegal going on, even at top level behind keeping everyone together and putting those horses in our memories afflicted had rapid heart rates, bright basis and was a little hurtful. But as for the rest of our lives”. Though the red gums and high temperatures. investigations were going on we had investigation is ongoing, he was able “It was difficult to put two and two to keep quiet.” to recount what happened on the day together when we were running Scott doesn’t feel the introduction – and also told Polo Times he did not around trying to save them,” says by the USPA of rules on substance feel the incident proved the US and Scott. “We didn’t think immediately use are especially relevant to the Argentine polo authorities should put a substances policy in place. The day of the disaster, Lechuza prepared 38 horses, of which 21 were judged to require a vitamin and mineral injection – which was later found to have been mixed incorrectly by a Florida chemist. “We do blood profiles every two weeks. According to the results we decide what supplements they need,” says Scott. “This time the horses that needed the compound were those that were to play the most. It helps the muscle metabolism, and helps them recover. “We’ve used Biodyl in countries where it is licensed, but in this case our vet took a prescription to the pharmacy. It’s common practice to give horses who are going to play hard the right vitamins – our aim is always to do the best for our horses.” Victor Vargas (in white), in action in the Queen’s Cup against Loro Piana Photograph by Tony Ramirez
News in brief
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disaster. “If it makes people feel more Polo Times feeding expert Lorna comfortable, that’s fine. But legislating Jowett declares that if a horse is fed a won’t affect polo. We condition horses balanced diet it should not need to play a tough game, and there isn’t supplements – other than electrolytes, anything illegal going on that I know offered in water or wet feed during of, even at top level. What happened to periods of hard work or heat. us should never happen again, but “If one of my clients was injecting legislation wouldn’t have prevented it.” their horses I wouldn’t feel I was doing Vet Simon Knapp, who sits on the my job,” she says. “Everything horses HPA welfare committee and is club vet need should be in hard feed and that’s at Guards, says the deaths highlight why owners pay good money for good the importance of using only registered quality concentrate. Feed firms go to medication and great expense to get ‘It’s important qualified, registered the vitamin and to use only vets – referring to mineral content right, the practice of medication that and as the workload Argentine vets increases, so should practising when not has been tested’ the feed.” registered in the UK. – Simon Knapp MRCVS Knapp says the “It’s important to issue of using only use medication that is a product of a RCVS-registered vets relates to welfare reputable pharmaceutical company or as well as legality. comes in via an official import licence, “The rules are in place to safeguard as you know it’s been tested,” he says. ponies, not to make things difficult,” he “The main helpful ingredient in the says. “If an unregistered vet looks after likes of Biodyl is selenium, which some day-to-day things for a team, but calls believe helps horses recover more a UK vet for more serious conditions, quickly from the stresses of a chukka, there’s no continuity of treatment.” or helps prevent tying up and bad He adds that there are degrees of backs. You can give it by injection or “practising”. “Argentine vets coming in orally – in the UK you could do this by as managers and grooms, who keep using a product such as Selenevite E.” an eye on the ponies during their He says that while it’s not common work, and liaise with a registered vet, practice to give extra compounds is laudable. It benefits the ponies, the across polo, it happens in high-goal. teams and the treating vet. That’s “It’s a competition thing,” he says. where it should end.” “Some veterinary practices like it and ◗ What issues do you think the pony others don’t. But with selenium there deaths raise? Tell us by writing to isn’t a huge safety margin.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellerston has one – now more go on show NEW SCULPTURES BY Nic FiddianGreen, whose work is on display at Ellerston, Australia, go on show in London this month – marking the artist’s recovery from leukaemia. From 23 June, 20 new works will be installed in the Sladmore Gallery. The Packer family is one of several illustrious buyers of Surrey-based Fiddian-Green’s striking horses’ heads, which range from 12 inches high to gigantic and were originally inspired by the Elgin Marbles. Actor Russell Crowe, who recently dropped in to meet the sculptor while filming in the Surrey Hills, has a piece, as does Tom Cruise. The Bamford family will soon take delivery of a 30ft-tall horse’s head to be displayed in the grounds of their Daylesford Estate. Cowdray polo chairman Robin Butler and his wife Carolyn hope to host an
Sculptor Nic-Fiddian Green at work
exhibition in a future polo season. Fiddian-Green’s wife Henri is the sister of Edward Hutley, whose family are keen polo players (see page six). “Bold, New Work”, held in aid of the Royal Marsden, opens on 23 June (www.sladmore.com; 020 7499 0365). Several Fiddian-Green monumental landscape pieces are also on display at Glyndebourne this summer to mark the opera house’s 75th anniversary. www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 7
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News News in brief ◗ HRH PRINCE HARRY, was due to play in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic during a two-day visit to New York, his first official engagement overseas, at the end of May. The fixture was held to support American Friends of Sentebale, part of the charity set up by Prince Harry to help children in Lesotho, southern Africa. The prince was to play alongside eight-goaler Nick Roldan, with Nacho Figueras on the opposing side, Black Watch. ◗ MORE THAN 40 pro players attended the new “A-group” umpires’ meeting in late April to find out how the new group (see news, Polo Times, April) will work. Rugby union referee Ed Morrison spoke, and the group then went through the new umpiring DVD. The HPA plans to build a group of 30 A-group umpires, spread evenly across Sussex, Berkshire and Gloucestershire. They will cover all 15-goal Victor Ludorum games and the semis and finals of 12- and eight-goal (the existing pro-group of 10 paid umpires covers 22- and 18-goal). The two-tier structure mirrors rugby, which has seven elite referees and 20 others. “It was a great success,” said HPA chief executive David Woodd. “We invited all the A-rated umpires and some of the Bs. Of those there most are, or have been, fours, fives and sixes.” ◗ A TEAM OF photography professionals is holding a workshop at Ham Polo Club on 14 June, in which participants will aim to improve their action and speed shots whilst capturing the ambiance of a polo event. The workshop costs £120, for tuition, special access, lunch and a DVD of each pupil’s best shots from the day. Email info@eyephotographicwork shops.com or call 07801 930711.
8 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
Latest from the HPA HPA chief executive David Woodd rounds up the news from UK polo’s headquarters Learn to retrain a racer Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) will be hosting a seminar for retraining racehorses for polo from 11am to 4pm on Monday 6 July at Manor Farm, Little Coxwell, Oxfordshire. Please inform the HPA if you would like to attend.
Saturday 20 June – England v Australasia, Beaufort Polo Club Saturday 20 June – Young England v England Ladies, Beaufort Polo Club Saturday 4 July – Young England v South East Asia, Coworth Park Polo Club
Mid-season changes Congratulations Congratulations to Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier, to whom a Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded at the Audi Polo Awards gala dinner on 18 May.
Club mid-season handicap recommendations need to be with the HPA by the close of play on Wednesday 10 June.
Cartier International tickets England test matches The following fixtures have been confirmed for this month: Thursday 18 June – England v South Africa arena international, RCBPC
HPA-affiliated clubs are eligible to blockbook discounted tickets before 29 June 2009. These can be purchased from the Guards Polo Club ticket office. Telephone 01784 434212.
Afghan enterprise continues ENTERPRISING POLO manager Major Gillian Shaw, the brains behind last year’s expansion of AGC (Adjutant General’s Corps) polo, continues to co-ordinate polo in the UK despite being in Afghanistan. It’s a far cry from Tidworth, where the AGC team trains. Gillian is attached to the Black Watch Battle Group, providing administrative support to operations and ensuring soldiers’ welfare. With a laptop and Wifi access in her tent, Gillian ensures the smooth running of the largest polo playing corps in the British armed services. At the moment she’s organising
L-r: Miss Barbara Zingg, Lt Janet Johnston, Pvt Emma Steed and Capt Marcelle Wright – in Polistas gear
Adjutant General’s Corps Polo Cup at Tidworth (31 August), in aid of SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families’ Association). Email Gillian at email@example.com for details.
Dates for the diary Courses 10 June (9.30am) – Coaching seminar (for HPA qualified coaches and instructors), RCBPC 15 June (10.30am) – First aid course (for HPA coaches), Guards Meetings 12 June (10.30am) – Umpire and Rules Committee meeting, RCBPC 22 June (10am) – Mid-season Handicap Committee meeting, HPA headquarters 24 June (10.30am) – Stewards’ meeting, Cavalry & Guards Club, London ◗ Contact the HPA on 01367 242828
AN HISTORIC 20-piece Buenos Aires tango orchestra, Café de Los Maestros, makes its debut in London this month. The show has been assembled by Gustavo Santaolalla (Oscar winner for his scores for Brokeback Mountain) and Gustavo Mozzi. The organisers aim to showcase tango in its purest form and want the audience to experience it as it would have been heard in its era. This concert involves stars of Argentine tango in the 1950s and 60s; a glorious period for tango that produced many famous and popular songs of the genre. The event takes place at the Barbican Centre in London on Friday, 26 June. Tickets cost £15£25. For more visit www.barbican.org.
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If you’re handy with a biro, like following polo and don’t mind asking people questions, we’d like you to enter our competition
Do you want to become a polo reporter? Now’s your chance POLO TIMES IS EMBARKING on a quest this summer to report from a game of your choosing, between now and unearth new polo-reporting talent in Britain. We’re looking the deadline on Monday 22 June. It can be from any for a polo player or fan of any age, boy or girl, who thinks match – from low-goal at your local club, school or Pony they have what it takes to wield a notebook and biro, dig Club to high-goal at the Queen’s Cup or the Beaufort Test out the stories behind the action and write them up in an Match. What it must be is original, written only by you. entertaining and absorbing way. With a focus on matchWhat we are especially seeking is a reporter who reporting, since we can’t be captures the flavour of a match, picks The best reporters out its most important moments and everywhere at once, we want to discover a new star contributor for brings it alive for the reader. We will demonstrate articles in the magazine and online. discourage you from submitting a dreary they have spoken With this in mind, we’re offering blow-by-blow account of who scored in to players, grooms, which chukka. The best reporters will readers the chance to enter our inaugural Polo Times Polo Writer of officials or umpires include the inside story of a game and the Year competition. The winner will demonstrate, through direct quotes or be asked to write for Polo Times on a paid basis. extra insider detail, that they have spoken to some of its If you think you can find interesting angles on polo protagonists – from team captains, patrons and coaches news, and you’d like to write for us, we would like you to to umpires, grooms and officials. enter. From the initial entries we will compile a shortlist of The competition is open to all except professional aspiring reporters, and send them on an assignment in journalists, or former professional journalists. Those who early July to determine a winner – and we will publish have contributed to Polo Times on an informal or one-off basis already may enter. All submissions must be sent via some of the best from both assignments. email to firstname.lastname@example.org by close of play To enter, you need to complete a short initial on Monday 22 June. Good luck! assignment. We would like you to write a 250-word match
Where the polo and acting worlds meet PLAYERS MAY RECOGNISE this polo pony from action on the fields of Cowdray and elsewhere. But what is Scratchy, a nine-year-old from Ross Ainsley in New Zealand, doing here? On board is none other than onegoaler Edward Hutley. The pair are acting in the all-day outdoor play The Life of Christ, which is staged annually at his family’s Wintershall Estate. The 2009 play takes place this month, from 23 to 28 June. Edward, his wife Lulu and their four children, who all play polo, have all been involved over the years – along with their polo ponies, including Sweepie, a 13.1hh dark brown polo pony-come-hunter-come-eventer, and Vizzy, who came from Luke Tomlinson in Argentina. “They have to charge in with bayonets, and gallop up and stop suddenly – but they also have to stand still,” says Lulu. “Polo ponies are so well trained that they really behave.” For tickets to the June plays calls 01483 892167. www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 9
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Above: David (far left) at Kirtlington in 1995 after winning the Dent Cup with Julian Appleby, Tony Pidgley and Tim Bown. Right: in 2008 at Sandbanks, at the press launch of the British Beach Polo Championships
David heaton-ellis 1969-2009 Polo Times pays tribute to one of the game’s most gregarious personalities and popular and talented teachers avid Heaton-Ellis, who died last month aged 39, was polo manager at four UK clubs during a professional life in the game that spanned 20 years. As an exceptionally gifted and enthusiastic instructor, he passed on his love of the game to hundreds of new players. Born in 1969 to Peter and Pru Heaton-Ellis in Tidworth, Wiltshire, David was educated at the Cathedral School, Salisbury, before going on to Milton Abbey. On leaving school he continued to follow what had become his two main passions in life, polo and being the life and soul of the party. He initially based himself at Cowdray with Alan Kent and later Martin Glue, spending winters in New Zealand. He supported his income during these early years by selling water filters via pyramid marketing schemes. David’s first full-time employment in polo came in the early 1990s at Checkendon, later known as Binfield Heath. He began as assistant manager and was elevated to manager a year later. His love of all things equestrian – including hunting – grew further still and David discovered that, in running a polo club, he could combine
10 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
business with his favourite pastimes, setting the pattern for the rest of his working life. It was when he moved to Kirtlington, as polo manager, that David set up his first polo school. His encouragement as a teacher and his charm, unflinching optimism and infectious enthusiasm meant he and the school became immediately popular. Even when he had been partying all night, he was fresh-faced and cheery the next morning, ready to bring enlightenment to the pupils who came his way. Under his tenure, Kirtlington’s membership more than quadrupled. However, during this time David's older brother Mikie was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. David and his sister Charlotte supported Mikie through his illness until his death, aged 42, in August 1999. David ran the London marathon in aid of the the Motor Neurone Disease Association. After Mikie’s death David decided to follow up on his ambition to be his own boss. He left Kirtlington, married his first wife Kirsten and relaunched Ansty Polo Club in Wiltshire. The club flourished for a couple of years but ultimately died alongside the collapse of their marriage.
Undaunted, in 2003 David agreed to start Watership Down Polo Club and polo school on behalf of Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber. There he met Sophie Cook and the pair hit it off at once. With a shared passion for polo, their relationship flourished and they married in July 2006. Son Geordie was born in May 2007, a moment David described as the happiest of his life. However, on a trip to Argentina later that year David noticed he was feeling weak in the saddle. On his return to the UK he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Despite the cruelly rapid onset of his illness, the same hereditary disease that killed his brother and aunt and which threatens his young son, David continued to pursue fresh challenges. He launched beach polo on a scale and of a quality not seen before in the UK with the British Beach Polo Championships in July 2008, which brought thousands of first-time polo-goers to Sandbanks in Dorset. The tournament looks set to go from strength to strength. Last October David and Sophie set up the Heaton-Ellis trust, which seeks to raise sufficient money to fund the purchase of a new-generation DNA sequencing machine for the neurological
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Lady Madeleine Lloyd Webber, for whom David set up Watership Down, pays tribute to his can-do attitude
David Heaton-Ellis was one of the world’s great enthusiasts. He came into our lives when my boys, Alastair and Billy, were whingeing about having to do dressage and pestering me about polo. I was referred to David. I made the phone call. It proved to be very expensive but one I never regretted. In a very short space of time, having been swept along by his intoxicating enthusiasm and can-do attitude, we had knocked the top off a hill to build a polo ground. We soon had a fully fledged private polo club, a schools polo academy that achieved a win at the SUPA championships by the first ever state school, St Barts Newbury, and my boys won the national Surtees championships at Cowdray. It all happened very quickly: nothing was ever a no with David – it was always a yes. On top of all this he achieved the impossible, proving that his powers of persuasion knew no bounds. He succeeded in getting my husband, Andrew Lloyd Webber, onto a horse for a course of lessons. We will miss him hugely, as will everyone at Watership Down.
Photographs by Tony Ramirez and courtesy of the Heaton-Ellis Trust
Umpiring at Kirtlington in the 1990s. Far left: David, Sophie and Geordie Heaton-Ellis in 2007
◗ David Heaton-Ellis’s funeral was held at St Lawrence’s Church, Ecchinswell, Near Newbury, on Friday 22 May. ◗ All money raised for the Heaton-Ellis Trust goes into research alone, into work which will prevent the disease passing from generation to generation. The charity has no overheads or administration costs to cover, so all donations pass directly to the appeal. The Heaton-Ellis Trust was the beneficiary at last month’s Audi Polo Awards, at which the auction raised £82,000. ◗ For more information on the Heaton-Ellis Trust telephone 01635 268989 or visit www.heatonellis trust.com. To donate online go to www.justgiving. com/heatonellistrust. ◗ Obituary courtesy of Marcus and Bridget Hancock, with contributions from John Horswell.
David’s great friend Simon Arber, one of his many polo pupils, remembers a motivator who brought out the best in people
I first met David three years ago when a friend persuaded me to have a polo lesson. This was strange as I did not ride and had no interest in horses. “Just go – you’ll love it,” he said. I mounted the wooden horse, holding the mallet in my left hand, and after two minutes I was hooked. David could enthuse and motivate like no one else. He had an absolute gift for bringing the best out in people, regardless of their age, situation or personality. Using these talents he brought more new blood into polo than just about anyone in the UK. In the short time he was based in North Hampshire he introduced hundreds of people to the game, riders and non-riders, the young and the old. Some are now playing low- and medium-goal, some schools and universities polo. There are several husband and wife teams and at least three families, with every member playing. He never had much time for the elite side of polo but loved the game for what it could offer every ability. Not surprisingly, Argentina was a large part of David’s life. He arranged trips to play and buy horses that were so successful that in early December it would feel as though the entire club had crossed the Atlantic. The Argentine
grooms particularly liked working for David. He had high standards but was always fair and made it fun for them. His one rule was that there should be no playing of melancholy Argentine folk music CDs before midday, and he referred to the singers as “signor morte”. David was a great competitor who could be extremely fiery on the pitch. God help anyone involved in dangerous play near one of his youngsters. I remember someone remarking about David that he was a “fantastically nice chap – off the field!” I along with many others will miss him so much. It seems unimaginable that we won’t see his battered green and red polo hat on the field any more. The warmth and twinkle in David’s eyes that so endeared him to people never faded despite his illness. He was positive throughout the last few months of his life, only ever talking about living, never referring to death and how unlucky he had been to get the disease. Like all great people, he leaves a great legacy. His wife Sophie, a polo star; his son Geordie, only two but a player in the making; the HeatonEllis Trust, which is working towards a target of £1.4 million for MND research, and more friends than you could shake a stick at.
research team at King’s College research hospital, and to fund the research programme for the next three years. The target figure is £1.4m, and the total to date had reached £400,000. David – a true friend to many, adoring husband to Sophie and doting father to Geordie – died peacefully at home on Sunday 10 May, 10 days short of his son’s second birthday and a few months short of his own 40th. His life enriched all those it touched. F
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Global view Comment With Herbert Spencer, who has been following polo around the world for 40 years
Why preserving polo’s image means protecting our ponies THE ARGENTINE EXAMPLE Sometimes it may be a matter of different cultural attitudes towards animals. It was not that long ago, for example, that we saw gauchos breaking horses by tying them to a post and whipping them into a frenzy of fear and submission – about as far from some of today’s “horse whispering” methods as you can get. The breaking and training
“The Argentines are still not big on pony welfare,” comments one Englishman who spends time in Argentina and knows its horse industry well. Until now, the Argentine Polo Association (AAP) has had no rules regarding substance control or drug testing. Nor indeed have the Yanks. It is, though, Argentina that provides more professional players, ponies and grooms than any other country for all
opefully the catastrophe of 21 ponies dying in Florida from botched injections just before a match, whatever the substance was meant for, has served as a wake-up call for polo everywhere. It should make every owner, player, groom and vet at every level of the game think and think again about what they feed to or pump into horses to keep them “healthy” – by “healthy” read competitive enough to carry their riders in pursuit of bits of gold or silver. But let’s keep things in perspective. On the page opposite this writer’s report about the pony deaths on the first news page of Horse & Hound at the end of April, there appeared another tragic story: yet another rider in three-day eventing was killed in the UK, exactly a week after those ponies died in the US. In a footnote, the magazine lists another 13 eventers of eight nationalities killed going over jumps in the past two years alone. Jockeys are killed on the track and polo itself has lost players to accidents in competition. That’s the human side of the equation and perhaps it is inappropriate here to compare the death of even a single rider with those of 21 animals. There are risks to both human and equine athletes in horse sports, but the humans have a choice whereas the horses they ride do not. Is it really true, at all levels of the sport, what the chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) said recently, that polo players are “passionate” about their ponies because “the bond between rider and pony has to be one of total trust”? Trust is a big word here. Put simply, it’s no different from how you treat your dog, cat or pet hamster, except that you’re asking a hell of a lot more from your competition horse than of your kid’s hamster.
There are risks to human and equine athletes, but the humans have a choice whereas the horses do not levels of the game worldwide. Often, when a patron hires a Argentine pro, that player will go on to influence the team owner in his choice of other personnel and of ponies – and how the ponies are managed.
Testing times: for some people the deaths following vitamin injections in Florida in April raises questions about substance rules
of polo ponies in Argentina has moved on, if for no other reason than economic ones: ponies today are more valuable. But have some attitudes of previous generations of Argentines rubbed off on the present generation?
TIME FOR A CHANGE? Let’s wait and see whether the AAP – now under the tenure of a new chairman after its annual general meeting late last month – follows the lead of the HPA and many other countries which already have substance rules and drug testing, or whether the Argentines will at least match the current initiative of the US Polo Association in studying the adoption of such regulations. Meanwhile, take the time to doublecheck just what your grooms are feeding your ponies and what they or your vet may be injecting them with. It’s not just about trust between man and horse but also about the public image of polo. The sport might find it hard to handle another botch-up. F ◗ Do Argentines and Brits have different approaches to pony welfare? Tell us by writing to email@example.com
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California-born Charles Betz, 62, tells Herbert Spencer how he beat cancer to stay in the game and become chairman of the Schools and Universities Polo Association (SUPA), whose summer showdown takes place this month wenty-odd years ago when American banker Charles Betz was in a London hospital being treated for lung cancer, he hung a polo stick from the head of his bed. “It helped me through because I desperately wanted to get back in the game,” Charles says. Doctors had originally told him he had only three months to live, but removal of a lung plus chemotherapy saved him. His first chukkas after coming out of hospital were in a charity exhibition at Ham Polo Club to benefit young cancer victims. “They said I wasn’t well enough yet, but I had organised the match and was determined to be a part of it,” he says. “We had the Prince of Wales, guitarist Mike Rutherford and jockey Bob Champion, who a few years earlier had beaten cancer to win the Grand National.” Charles Betz was born in 1946 in Sausalito, California. His mother’s family had settled in New Mexico territory in the 19th century on a 350-square-mile ranch that was confiscated during World War II to become the White Sands testing ground for the first atomic bomb. “There was no polo in my immediate family,” says Charles, “but I discovered that my grandfather had played in New Mexico. We kept a horse when we lived in Connecticut, but only for hacking. “After the Bank of America transferred me to London I took polo lessons with Hugh Dawnay. I owned no ponies, but used to leave work early during the week to stick and ball the ponies of film director Robert Young at Ham – he could only play at weekends. “Ham’s polo manager, Billy Walsh, finally said I had to play in proper tournaments. I bought my first pony in 1986, then a second, but the cancer struck and I sold them, thinking it was all over.” Once he had recovered Charles went on to achieve a one-goal handicap playing with his team Quatros Amigos and 13 ponies. In 1980 he moved from Ham to West Wycombe Park Polo
Photograph by Herbert Spencer
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Club, nearer his Buckinghamshire home, and this year retired after seven years as West Wycombe’s chairman. An increasing involvement with youth polo paralleled Charles’s own polo career. He and his Swedish wife Birgitta have two sons and two daughters, all of whom played. “In 1991 I resurrected polo at the Vale of Aylesbury Pony Club branch, then when my boys went to Harrow I formed the Harrow Polo Society and was invited to join the committee of the new-formed Schools Polo Association. We added universities in 1994, then junior schools in 1997 and in 2005 incorporated as the Schools and Universities Polo Association Ltd.”
“We’ve approached the Guinness Book of Records to be listed as the world’s biggest polo tournament” Charles became chairman in 2005, backed by a committee that includes veteran Mike Hobday who is responsible for universities, the biggest section. “We now have more than 2,000 males and females in education participating,” says Charles. “As far as I can tell SUPA is by far the biggest polo youth programme in the world.” The outstanding success of the organisation has been duly noted by polo associations in other countries. “At their request,” says Charles, “I’ve met with the French, Italians and Nigerians to explain how we do things. One of our main strategies is to encourage the UK educational institutions to make polo a part of their formal sports curricula, and a number have done so.” SUPA has also taken on an international look. “Over the years,” Charles says, “our teams have played at home or abroad against youngsters from Europe, North and South
America, Africa and Asia. Next year we hope to add Italy and Germany and, by 2012, China and Russia.” At home, there are regional and national championships both in the arena in the winter and on grass in the summer. “This past winter, for example, we had 94 teams from 40 universities in the championships,” says Charles. “We should have 100 by next year, and we’ve approached the Guinness Book of Records to be listed as the world’s biggest polo tournament.” Even that magic 100, however, fails to reflect the size of SUPA. “Those players who don’t make it into the championships are able to compete in the many inter-school and interuniversity matches held throughout the country every year,” says Charles. Funding of SUPA, in cash or kind, comes through annual grants from the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) and a number of sponsors including the Cadenza Foundation, Worshipful Company of Saddlers, Roxtons, La Martina, SATS, Baileys, Polo del Sol and Polo Times. “In financial terms SUPA gives back to the polo industry much more than we receive,” Charles adds. “Last year we estimated our members spent almost £400,000 on polo coaches, hire of ponies and club grounds, professional umpiring and the like.” Charles Betz admits that only a small percentage of SUPA players continue in the sport after completing their education, “faced as they are with earning a living and starting families”. So he has now founded the Schools Alumni Polo Association (SAPA) to encourage graduates at least to keep their hands in by playing the game a few times a year, even if they don’t go on to join polo clubs. “SUPA and SAPA are all about making polo affordable and accessible to all, not just to participants from horse-owning families,’ he concludes.” F
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Comment Letter from Philadelphia-based Lindsay Warner travels to Florida each spring as a polo reporter
More than ever all eyes were on Florida’s polo heartland this spring, but elsewhere in the state two new clubs have been building top-flight facilities and offering land at up to $80,000 an acre – attracting the likes of Cambiaso. Lindsay Warner reports wo thoughts were running through my head as I prepared to depart for this year's US Open final in Wellington: the 21 dead polo ponies and the bad economy. With a pall such as this clouding the sunny Florida skies, one had to wonder if the carefree, big-spending days of old would be replaced by a trimmed-down tighter-fisted version of high-goal American polo – which, as most of us know, is not a fate most US professionals can afford. Were there fewer trucks rattling down the sandy Wellington roads? Probably – entries in this year’s US Open were down to eight teams, from 12 in 2008 and 14 in 2007. And that was even before the tragedy that befell Lechuza Caracas. A week after the pony deaths, it was still the topic that came up in nearly every conversation. However, in the face of tragedy and a weak economy, outward expansion from polo's epicentre in Wellington continues, as several new polo clubs tenaciously spiral out from Palm Beach County. Port Mayaca and Hobe Sound, both located in the countryside north of Palm Beach, are among several new clubs now offering tournaments and practices. The reaction of local players has been mixed: some are raving about the posh fields under construction, while others feel Wellington has plenty to offer already, putting them off the 30-60 minute drive north. Players aren't flocking there in droves yet, and there's certainly some question as to whether a new base is now necessary – many feel that Florida’s traditional home of the game, Wellington, is no longer at serious risk from being bought up and developed because of the poor real estate market. In fact, now that the market is
Photograph courtesy of Port Mayaca (& Hobe Sound)
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down, sales have fallen through and land in Wellington that had been bought for residential development is now being leased back to some of the clubs for temporary use until the market is back up again. So, polo
The fields and barns of Port Mayaca, a new venue outside Wellington
as it is looks likely to be unaffected in the short-term at least. Nevertheless, the development of new clubs is evidence that polo continues to find ways to expand in the tight tropical quarters of Southern Florida. Port Mayaca – owned and developed by Steve Orthwein, former chairman of the USPA, and his son Stevie – lies 40 minutes northwest of Wellington, close to Lake Okeechobee. Development over the past few years has created a site with five grounds and a 128stall barn, enabling the club to host weekly practices and several medium and high-goal tournaments during the winter season. Part of a larger 12,000-acre gated equestrian community, the polo facilities encompass around 600 acres, with the Orthwein family's club at its hub. It all sounds quite idyllic, and my mouth watered at Stevie Orthwein's descriptions of bridlepaths through the kind of “open land, open sky” country that has been gradually
disappearing from the Wellington landscape. However, keep in mind that wide-open spaces go hand-in-hand with limited amenities too, and at $60,000 an acre – the lots are sold in 20-acre parcels – it seems a steep price to pay for farmland in the middle of sugarcane country. Orthwein is quick to point out that the future clubhouse will provide groceries and other sundry items. But for players accustomed to the one-stop luxury of shopping in Wellington, the infrastructure is not yet ready. Hobe Sound, owned and developed by Groves 14, LLC, shares many of Port Mayaca's characteristics: five tournament fields, acres of riding trails, a wide-open layout (also with the opportunity to buy in 20-acre plots). At $80,000 an acre and with a $100,000-value club membership thrown in, Hobe Sound's prices are comparable. It is situated just east of the interstate and only a few miles from the Treasure Coast's white-sand beaches, giving players something of an incentive to leave the perfectly groomed environs of Wellington. The deal has attracted a few prominent players – among them Adolfo Cambiaso, who is in the process of building his own barns and fields – although at the moment the club itself has only the promise of a clubhouse to entice other potential members. Are these new clubs a viable option for South Florida-based players? It depends. Certainly they are not yet competitors with the impeccably designed polo oasis of Wellington, but the inter-club jostling to attract patrons and buyers can mean nothing but good news for the continued development of American polo. F
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Comment Umpire’s corner With Arthur Douglas-Nugent, deputy chief umpire for the HPA
What polo can learn from football and rugby Assessment and training are also vital ingredients and we have moved into this area with the appointment of Howard Hipwood to asses the performance of the Pro Umpire Group (see news, Polo Times, April issue). He has been appointed by the HPA and will report to the chief executive, having direct access to the teams but only to the umpires through the chief umpire. It is hoped to extend the scheme to the newly formed A group (see news, page 8) next year.
FROM RUGGA TO CHUKKA Those of us who attended the Umpire Seminar at Sunningdale Park at the end of April were treated to a clear and concise synopsis of the art of officiating by Ed Morrison, Head of Referee Development of the RFU. Although talking from his experience in rugby, the same principles for good umpiring apply to polo and it was a very relevant discussion indeed. In particular, he made the overriding point that good officiating leads to a good game. Consistency, knowledge of the rules, firmness and courage to make the right decisions when the game gets tight are all principles we recognise and indeed highlight in our various umpire briefings.
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PENALTY HITTING WITH INTENT There has been considerable discussion on the rules introduced for the 2009 season, in particular those
the opinion of the umpires, play will continue as before. Thus the option of tapping the ball towards the goal with a view to manufacturing another foul is no longer on offer. This undesirable practice was particularly prevalent during the closing stages of a tight game. Finally, on the subject of penalties, a word of caution on the hit from the 30yard line (penalty 2). The defenders have no play but must keep alert to avoid being struck by the ball hit by the penalty-taker. RENEGADES WITH RESPONSIBILITIES As polo has spread throughout the country, and continues to do so despite
o there are 23 men on the pitch but only one gets all the flack. And that, of course, is the referee. I refer most specifically to the Chelsea v Barcelona football match (the second leg of last month’s Champions League semi-final) in which some, for Chelsea losing the match, held the referee responsible. That is as maybe but there is an undercurrent that he may have been encouraged by the management to achieve a Barcelona win and that, with his lack of top grade experience, he should not have been out there in the first place. This is really the point as it affects polo. We had this discussion at the recent chief umpires’ meeting and it was agreed that the factors of experience and age came into the equation when assessing the merits of an umpire and the decision as to whether or not he should be entrusted with a top game. Whatever the decision, it is vital to ensure that after the game, if things have not gone well, the accusation of bias or inherent incompetence cannot be levelled.
Experience and age come into the equation when assessing which umpires to use for a top game effecting the taking of penalties. Although covered in grey (not due, one hastens to add, because it is a grey area, but because it has changed) in the rule book, in practice the only really significant change is that when taking penalties 4 and 6 (taken on the 60-yard line) the hitter must have the intent to score with one hit. Should he have this intent, in
FOUL FOR THOUGHT Last month’s conundrum 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? Under the new rule, the umpire should blow the whistle and award a penalty to the defending side, to be taken from the spot where the original penalty was taken (Rule 37e). This month’s puzzle Is the striker allowed to hit away the stick of an opponent who is attempting to hook him before he strikes the ball?
the recession, some brave souls have decided to branch out and run matches and even tournaments outside the direct aegis of the HPA. In a timely reminder, the HPA has issued a set of guidelines stating that such an event must be staged and played according to HPA rules, though some minor changes may be agreed – such as the size of the ground to suit local conditions. Nonetheless, there is to be no concession on matters that concern player and public safety and the welfare of ponies. This is highlighted, if it needs to be, by the horrific occurrences in Florida so graphically covered in last month’s issue of Polo Times. The brutal fact is that, whatever polo is played, any misdemeanor or tragedy reflects on the whole sport and its governing body and not just the local organisers. F
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Players’ forum Comment With John Horswell, the outspoken sultan of swing
Light in the darkness – the green shoots of an excellent summer suffering. As Warren Buffett once said, “When the tide goes out you can see who has been swimming naked.” And this probably has some truth to it. In this kind of market, the hapless will be persecuted but those who are giving value and who are well organised will come through it alright. And so, as another sage of a different type once said (whilst incredulously observing some of those that make a
FIXING YOUR WORST FAULTS In my capacity as an instructor, I am happy to report that my door has been beaten down by people seeking enlightenment of late, many of whom –
Watch one player at a time – then, towards the end of the game, if it’s tight, just sit back and enjoy the ride
Photograph by Tony Ramirez
THE HAPLESS VS THE ORGANISED The recent weather has been kind at just the right time. This has meant enthusiasm levels have risen and that tournaments so far are being played to schedule, though in many cases of course this year they feature a few less teams. Indeed, it is paradoxical that some professionals and clubs seem to be well subscribed whilst others are really
living from the game in a generic clubhouse bar): “Polo is a very generous sport”. Let us all sincerely hope this proves to be true for all of us this year and that we all end up having a good summer.
hat a start to the high-goal season! Seeing a Queen’s Cup begin with not so much a bang as an explosion of intensity is almost enough to make you forget the economic depression. At the time of writing, so many hard-fought games have gone right down to the wire already and, so far, the 18-team entry looks stronger than anyone would ever have dared to predict at the turn of the year. The evenness of the competition in the early stages makes the outcome impossible to predict. Add to all this explosive action, the thrills, spills and incidents that we have seen already and it is almost too much to bear: Cambiaso injured, Marcos and Milo hurt, Sebby Merlos sliding along the asphalt like a Moto GP rider, where will it all end?! Seriously, you need to get out and watch some. What have you missed already? Loro Piana/Fise and La Bamba de Areco, two teams boasting three of the world’s best players, both lost their opening encounters! So get out there, and always remember to watch the Horswell way: don’t get too carried up in the match but watch one player at a time. Watch the moves he makes, witness how well he plays his particular position and use the time spent watching to learn. Then, towards the end of the game, if it is a tight one, just sit back and enjoy the ride. I allow some time off for good behaviour.
Sumaya (in green) got off to a flying start against La Bamba de Areco
interestingly – are higher-handicapped players than usual. I feel that the need to be on your toes and to compete under the new economic rules that exist today is causing people to reconsider their game and their skill levels, leading many to the conclusion that they ought to do something about it. I don’t feel that they are just killing time but that they are genuinely keen to learn a new skill or iron out some faults that may be holding them back. This does not mean that the amateurs out there should just be resting on their cheque books and letting someone else do all the work. Get out there and do some work on your game – this is the year to try and go up a goal and achieve something. The one thing I can assure you is that anything you do learn in this sport remains with you for the rest of your career. That’s why my best advice always comes with an “it will never happen again” guarantee! You’ll be able to fix most of your worst tendencies in just an hour, so long as you talk to someone who knows what they are doing. So get out there and get on with taking it to another level. F
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Comment Your views
Letter of the month With David, polo never felt like a lesson
Letters firstname.lastname@example.org An optimist to the end David Heaton-Ellis’s greatest asset throughout his life was his sunny disposition and unflinching optimism. No matter what disaster loomed on the horizon he met it and overcame it with the same enthusiasm and bonhomie with which most would greet a dear friend. This could at times be irritating but only momentarily because his mood was so infectious that you were soon swept up in it and off on a new adventure. In David’s difficult final weeks, many left his presence humbled by the fact that someone in such obvious pain and discomfort could at the same time talk in such an upbeat manner of new challenges that lay ahead. Daffy, posh-bloke or just plain David: whatever name we knew him under, he has enriched our lives.
John Horswell Berkshire A day of polo, not an hour’s adrenalin rush Tidworth, like most other low-goal clubs, has slender financial resources. We have never been able to afford the grand gesture. A set of boards here or a new roller there is about the limit of the club’s investment strategy. Nevertheless, moving with the times doesn’t always mean spending. In the recent past we have introduced the concept of running tournaments at two levels at the same time and set up a 50 per cent lower subscription rate for non-pony owners. We have also started a points-based, seasonlong club league that includes all 22 of our tournaments – and up to 30 club teams appear in the league table. Club chukkas are held before a tournament or at the end of the day. S-level and minus-two-goal players are encouraged and their standard of play improved by our “house rule” that every minus-six to minus-three goal team must have an S or minustwo player in it. Change is essential. If things stand still they wither and die. So what changes are needed in these straitened times? I suggest a step back – a return to a more relaxed ethos in
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I first met David Heaton-Ellis when I was just 10 years old and was going to start polo as my activity once a week at school. One of the very first things he said to me was polo is like rugby on horses. David managed to teach me to ride at the same time as teaching me how to play polo but it never felt like a lesson. He just made everything fun and let me play with so many of his clients. He had me hooked on polo as soon as I started. He was the best teacher. He gave me so much encouragement and confidence. No one else could have done this for me. Even when he was very unwell and on his quad bike because he could not walk, I spent so many happy hours on the stick-and-ball field at his house. His teaching was always encouraging and positive, and we had such fun. I will miss him very much and never forget him and his encouraging smile.
Freddie Buxton (aged 13) Wiltshire
The writer of the letter of the month wins a bottle of La Chamiza Argentine red wine
a gentler time. Less rush and more socialising. Less of a frenetic treadmill, such as when a match is squeezed between a business lunch and a helicopter to the airport or a drive to the next match. Instead, make a day of it at the ground with the children running wild, play a friendly match, have a lazy lunch, put the kids on a pony for a little introductory stick and ball, cook up a barbecue and so to bed! A day of polo rather than merely an hour’s adrenalin rush. Just great!
John Wright Tidworth Polo Club, Wiltshire The plane truth I see many ways to go to polo – big cars, cycles, etc – but for the first time recently I have seen a glider – at Cirencester, on 1 May 2009, on the new Savanna ground. I’d also like to say that Polo Times really took form now. There are articles for all kinds of reader. I enjoy it from the first page, despite the sad stories. From my humble point of view, well done.
Atilio Degrossi England Pipers of the polo world unite You asked in the May issue of Polo Times to write if your polo pony has mastered more than one trade. Does this count [picture, right]? Anyone want to form a mounted pipe band? If so please get in touch via www.borderspolo.com.
Will Ramsay Coldstream PT reader Will Ramsay and Lily in action at Border Reivers, Scotland
When big cars are not enough…
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PTJune 2009 p24-27 US Open YC-MB
Report Stanford US Open
Gonzalito Pieres, on the grey, with Adam Snow (in orange) and Facundo Pieres in the background
24 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTJune 2009 p24-27 US Open YC-MB
Argentina’s siblings of the moment snatched victory in Florida in a riveting final after a turbulent and emotional tournament, says Alex Webbe hree Pieres brothers and first-time US Open patron Marc Ganzi came from behind in the final of America’s showpiece 26-goal tournament to tie the game in the sixth chukka, force overtime and win the championship. Facundo Pieres’s seventh goal of the match against the seasoned Las Monjitas side sealed team Audi’s victory in Florida in late April. Playing in a field of eight teams, the lowest number to compete in the Open in years, Audi’s quest was clear from the onset: to win. Two leagues were established for play, and many felt that Audi and Lechuza Caracas, both finalists in this spring’s two previous 26-goal finals, with a win apiece, would once again be facing one another for the big prize. But the shocking loss of 21 Lechuza ponies a week before the final (see news, Polo Times, May issue) put paid to the Venezuelan-backed team’s campaign. As it was, with Lechuza out after 19 April, Las Monjitas beat Orchard Hill to advance to the final while Audi overcame White Birch. And exactly one week after the heartbreaking and disastrous scenes at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Ganzi and the Piereses faced two Novillo Astrada brothers, Adam Snow and Colombian Camilo Bautista. The mood among the 4,000 spectators on finals day was both sombre and festive. Skydivers dropped onto the field moments before a passover by three jets that split into a two-one formation, in honour of the deceased Lechuza horses (see news, page 6, and Polo Times, May issue). Audi patron Marc Ganzi said: “This game is definitely a tribute to Victor Vargas, patron of Lechuza Caracas, who is a friend. I’m confident his team will regroup and be back here again next year.” A minister administered an invocation before the game and a bell was sounded 21 times in the horses’ memory. With that X
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PTJune 2009 p24-27 US Open YC-MB
Report Stanford US Open Jubilant first-time US Open winners Audi (l-r): Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Nicolás Pieres and Marc Ganzi, with Thomas J Biddle, chairman of the US Polo Association. Below left: action in the final at International Palm Beach Polo Club. Below right: Adam Snow (in orange) and Facundo Pieres
◗ LAS MONJITAS WERE making their third
Photographs by Aurora Ruff Boyington/Wellington Photo and Gregory Ratner
appearance in the US Open finals in four years. Returning the same team that won the tournament so convincingly in 2006, the foursome were hoping to make up for last year’s 15-12 loss to Adolfo Cambiaso and Crab Orchard. After erratic play early in the 26-goal season Las Monjitas showed sparks of former greatness – only to ebb in key matches. They won the CV Whitney subsidiary, but lost to White Birch in the finals of the USPA Gold Cup subsidiary. However, its narrow runner-up spot in the US Open re-established the team as a power to be reckoned with, as did the tenacity and determination of both team and players, which resulted in the MVP award going to both Adam Snow and Eduardo Novillo Astrada, who has recently gone to 10 in America.
◗ BAD FORTUNE dogged both the US
X done, the final match of the 2009 US Open
got underway. The orange shirts of Las Monjitas got off to a flying start, dominating the early throw-ins. They provided a stifling defence that held a powerful Audi team to a single goal by Gonzalito Pieres in the first two chukkas, and by the end of the second, it was 5-1. Audi came alive in the third frame with four goals, but Adam Snow continued his brilliant form, too, adding two more to the Las Monjitas tally. At half-time Las Monjitas led 7-5. “At half time I told everyone we were not going to score a bunch of goals all at once,” said Gonzalito Pieres, whose father Gonzalo – whom the Open eluded in his own illustrious career – was watching at the sidelines. “I said we had to concentrate on getting just one goal at a time.” The advice slowly sank in. Facundo Pieres scored the only goal of the fourth chukka on a penalty shot, cutting the Las Monjitas lead to a goal. Eduardo Novillo Astrada broke loose to score in the fifth and Las Monjitas seemed to regain momentum, but it was short-lived. Facundo Pieres converted another penalty to keep Audi in touch. The pace picked up further in the sixth chukka, and with just over a minute left on the clock, Facundo broke through the Las Monjitas defence like a footballer to score the tying goal. Extra time ensued, and again it was Facundo who
26 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
overcame the Las Monjitas ranks to put in the decider, giving Audi a 9-8 win. “We are very fortunate to have won, and we were really surprised by their marking and game plan,” said Audi’s Marc Ganzi. “The win was a culmination of hard work, planning and a dream, and it’s a great ending.” Facundo Pieres led the scoring with seven goals, but for the first time in Open history the MVP was jointly awarded to two players, Adam Snow and Eduardo Novillo Astrada. The grey mare Flecha, owned by Javier Novillo Astrada and played by Eduardo, was named best playing pony (see Pony power, page 50), while Facundo Pieres won the award for best string of horses in the Open. F Stanford US Open Polo Championship; 3-26 April 2009; International Polo Club Palm Beach, Wellington, Florida Result: Audi beat Las Monjitas 9-8 Principal sponsor: Stanford Handicap level: 26-goal Number of team entries: eight Chukka scores: 0-2;1-5; 5-7; 6-7; 7-8; 8-8; 9-8 Final teams: Audi: Marc Ganzi 1; Facundo Pieres 10; Gonzalito Pieres 9; Nicolas Pieres 6 Las Monjitas: Camilo Bautista 0; Adam Snow 8; Eduardo Novillo Astrada 9; Ignacio Novillo Astrada 9
Open patrons who also play in the UK. While Victor Vargas’s team lost 21 ponies, Lyndon Lea, whose Zacara team fielded Carlos Gracida, Jeff Hall and Magoo Laprida, suffered a fall in which he broke his collarbone. Zacara withdrew from participation in the subsidiary Hall of Fame Cup at the same time as Lechuza withdrew from the tournament.
◗ IN THE CV WHITNEY Cup, the first tournament of the 26-goal season, Audi beat White Birch 10-9 in the semi-finals but found tough competition in the finals against Lechuza Caracas. Eventually Audi eked out an 8-7 win, setting themselves up as the season favourites as teams prepared themselves for the USPA Gold Cup.
◗ A FOUR-PRO Black Watch side joined the seven other 26-goal teams from the CV Whitney Cup for the 2009 USPA Piaget Gold Cup. Flashes of brilliance were displayed throughout the Gold Cup play, but frailties also began to appear. Black Watch knocked off Las Monjitas and Lechuza Caracas to open the competition but fell to White Birch, and then to Audi in the semi-finals. Lechuza scored an opening win over White Birch before falling to Black Watch, but found their way to the semifinals and downed Pony Express by a single goal. The finals were no easier for Lechuza as they fought tooth and nail against the Audi crew. In the end, it was Lechuza’s game by a single goal, 11-10 in one of the season’s most exciting matches.
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Report Rolex Four Nations Cup
Dorignacâ€™s swansong brings Palermo to life Carlos Beer reports on the entertaining debut of a four-team, 28-goal international challenge devised by the AAPâ€™s outgoing chairman
Photographs by Sergio Llameria
Winners Argentina (l-r): Gustavo Usandizaga, Adolfo Cambiaso, Hilario Ulloa and Pablo Pieres. Cambiaso and Usandizaga are due to play on Cartier Day this summer
28 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
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Brits triumph in autumn polo tour
Libertador stands filled up for the final to watch Argentina (in blue) beat Brazil (yellow). England overcame the Rest of the World for third place, giving the squad a valuable international outing before the UK test series
s a sport, polo still has one clear thing missing. There is no organisation that stages largescale tournaments between countries at the highest level. The FIP World Championships only features 14-goal teams, made up by players who are not at the top of the game. The sad fact is that, because of the vast differences in quality between most polo-playing nations and the difficulties of transporting horses, international competitions with the best players is an idea which has largely been given up on. As the sport’s leading nation, Argentina has a duty to address this issue. Former Argentine Polo Association (AAP) chairman Francisco Dorignac, with this quandary in mind, organised the inaugural Four Nations Cup as his last act before stepping down from his post on Thursday 28 May after four years. He approached players with ponies already in Buenos Aires, such as the top players from the English, Brazilian, Mexican and Chilean sides, and created an event that brought amongst the largest number of spectators ever seen at Palermo outside of the Argentine Open.
It was the first international tournament of its kind to be played in Argentina since 1979. Argentina, as expected, were the eventual victors, though they made tough work of it and most commentators agreed that they played well below their potential. They weren’t helped by an injury to their talisman, Adolfo Cambiaso, who hurt his back and wasn’t at his most effective best. He had to be replaced in their second match, against England, and Lolo Castagnola took his place to secure their victory, 12-8. This defeat meant England failed to make the final, having lost in their opening encounter to a surprisingly strong Brazilian side. It was the opening match of the whole tournament and proved to be one of the most decisive, since Argentina were to win all their contests and the Rest of the World were to lose all theirs (albeit narrowly). England had led 11-8 and 12-10 at the end of the fourth and fifth chukkas respectively, but somehow conspired to let the Brazilians back into the game in the final chukka, tying it up at 14-14. Momentum then meant Brazil subsequently overhauled England in the
Marchini scoops Copa República The quality of patrons in Argentine polo has improved lately, and grows with their every victory – none more so than Alfio Marchini, now playing off four goals and having just added his second Copa República Argentina to an already impressive list of titles. Playing as La Dolfina Loro Piana, Marchini convincingly beat Namuncurá in the final, 12-6, alongside Adolfo Cambiaso, three-goal Autumn-season newcomer Gustavo Usandizaga, and Lucas James. Usandizaga is expected to be part of the 26-goal Argentina side due to play England this summer on Cartier International Day. The Copa República Argentina is Palermo’s second most important competition, after the Argentine Open. This year it featured 10 sides, between 10 and 27-goals strong.
Aside from the Four Nations Cup, many of the high-goal players in Argentina this spring (the southern hemisphere’s autumn) have been taking part in the increasingly popular Argentine Polo Tour. Launched four years ago by Gonzalo Pieres and Adolfo Cambiaso, the tour takes the form of a series of tournaments held at the leading Argentine polo clubs. More and more Europeans are making their way over, and in the final stage this year, late in April, eight teams entered the 22-goal Polo Tour Centauros round – won by Enigma’s Jerome Wirth, Malcolm Borwick, James Beim and Matias MacDonough. As the victors, they were each the recipient of a brand new Fiat. Media attention in the tour was heightened this season thanks to the participation of football legend, Gabriel Batistuta – Argentina’s all-time top international goal scorer, who has taken up polo.
sudden-death extra period, with Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade scoring the winner. Despite losing their games, the contribution of the Chileans and the members of the Mexican Gracida family for the Rest of the World side was a memorable one. Each of their games was close, not least their third-place play-off contest against England, in which a remarkable individual goal scored by Memo Gracida was one of the highlights of the entire tournament. The tournament was a great success and certainly has the potential to expand: a fullyfledged Chilean side wouldn’t be difficult to produce next season, and South Africa, Australia and the United States are each also surely possible additions to the line-up in the future. It may turn out to be Dorignac’s legacy. F Four Nations Cup, 18-26 April 2009; Palermo, Argentina Result: Argentina beat Brazil, 10-6 Principal sponsor: Rolex Handicap level: 26-28 goals Number of team entries: four Chukka scores (Argentina): 3-1; 5-2; 7-3; 8-3; 8-5; 10-6 Final teams: Argentina (28): Pablo Pieres 7; Hilario Ulloa 8; Adolfo Cambiaso 10; Gustavo Usandizaga 3 Brazil (26): José Eduardo Kalil 5; Joäo Paulo Ganon 7; Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade 8; Luiz Carlos Figueira de Mello 6 Third place play-off teams: England (28): James Beim 7; Mark Tomlinson 7; Malcolm Borwick 6; Luke Tomlinson 8 Rest of the World (29): José Donoso (Chile) 7; Julio Gracida (Mexico) 6; Jaime García Huidobro (Chile) 8; Guillermo Gracida (Mexico) 8
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PTJune 2009 p30-31 Hurtwood YC-MB
Report The Polo Masters
The promise of a $100,000 prize pot ensured Hurtwood’s first major final of the season was a thriller, says Herbert Spencer
pro-am team of English players defeated an all-pro side centred on two Argentines last month to walk away with a cheque for US$100,000 – easily the biggest cash prize in UK polo. A goal in the last seconds brought them victory in the rain-soaked final of the 18-goal Polo Masters at Hurtwood Park Polo & Country Club. It was six-goaler Henry Brett who had put the winning Polonetworks team together and skippered it, and it was he who scored the clincher to give his team its 10-9 victory over Madams Farm. It was a vindication of sorts for Henry, who lost last year’s Polo Masters in an extra chukka and who had missed chance after chance earlier in this year’s
Photographs by Andrew Tobin
30 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
final: “I’d missed six or seven clear shots at goal because I felt under pressure,” said Brett, who combined particularly well with Jamie Le Hardy at
The pace increased as the players realised the ground was standing up well to the conditions the heart of the team. “In that last chukka I said to myself, ‘Henry – loosen up.’ I relaxed and thankfully managed to score when it counted most.” The weather could not have been much worse for the final. The ground at Hurtwood was already
soaked and a chill and sometimes heavy rain persisted for most of the five chukkas. Both teams were wary of the slippery and somewhat heavy going at first, but the pace increased as they realised the ground was standing up well to the conditions. In the end it was open polo with few scrums, plenty of long passes and some surprisingly fast runs. There were fewer umpires’ whistles than usual to interrupt the play and it turned out to be a real cliffhanger at times, with the lead frequently changing. Polonetworks had won all their games to reach the final in the six-team competition. Madams Farm had made it through on goal difference. The side featured two Argentine pros based at Alan Kent’s yard, his teenage son John – whose efforts
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Clockwise from above: Henry Brett leaves the opposition standing en route to goal; players break from a melée; the winners display their $100,000 cheque with club and sponsors’ representatives. The main sponsors were mobile phone firm Fly and luxury goods maker Asprey
were particularly impressive as he was sitting his A-levels throughout the tournament – and young professional Richard Le Poer. Polonetworks took their time to get going, with Brett and Jamie Le Hardy both missing easy chances. Then Roddy Williams took a pass from Le Hardy to open the scoring. A seesawing contest followed for the next four chukkas and by the fifth and final period Madams Farm led 9-7. Le Hardy pulled one back for Polonetworks and equalised as the match entered its final minute. Their number one Nick Britten-Long then snatched the ball out of the last throw-in and hit a backhand to Brett, who outpaced the opposition to race for goal, finding the posts seconds before the final hooter to give his team their 10-9 victory.
The fine teamwork displayed by Polonetworks was reflected in their scoring. Le Hardy scored four, Brett three, Williams two and Britten-Long, the amateur on the side, one. “It was a well-deserved win for the four English boys,” said a jubilant Richard Britten-Long, father of Nick and chairman of Polonetworks. “We not only paid them fees to play, win or lose, but they will also split the $100,000 prize, with only the £4,000 entry fee coming off the top.” Of their defeat Alan Kent observed: “I think the English handled the conditions better than we did.” Madams Farm skipper Ignacio Toccalino, the highest-rated player in the final at seven goals, said: “In those conditions it was anybody’s game. It was slippery and the ground slowed me up.”
The four other contenders in this year’s Polo Masters were Emlor, Black Bears, Enigma and Billingbear. F The Polo Masters; 5-17 May 2009; Hurtwood Park Polo & Country Club Result: Polonetworks beat Madams Farm, 10-9 Principal sponsors: Fly, Asprey Handicap level: 18-goal Number of team entries: six Most valuable player: Jamie Le Hardy, Final teams: Polonetworks (18): Nick Britten-Long 2; Jamie Le Hardy 5; Henry Brett 6; Roddy Williams 5 Madams Farm (18): John Kent 1; Michel del Carrill 6; Ignacio Toccalino 7; Richard Le Poer 4
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PTJune 2009 p32-35 Jamaica-JM-JB-YC MB
Report Australians tour Jamaica
A late-spring litter of Australians sprang into action in Jamaica in April, intent on ensuring theirs would not be a tour easily forgotten, reports James Mullan
ile this one under “S”, for “Strewth, that was some seriously bloody loose stuff out there mate”. Roaring relentlessly around Jamaica at all times of day and night with as much subtlety as a Victorian bush fire, an energetic team of Australians took the island by storm this spring. The cocktail of three all-inclusive luxury hotels and five virile young polo players from Down Under, complete with a reassuringly stereotypical lack of inhibitions, meant this was never going to be a week that would slip by uneventfully. And, while their sweep of the island’s social attractions would be more safely called “comprehensive” than “clean”, the Aussies’ clean sweep on the polo field was indisputable. The tourists won their three challenges against the locals 7-6, 7-6 and 18-14. The idea for an Aussie tour to the Caribbean island was hatched by the seemingly nomadic polofixer Karen Kranenburg and Polo Contacts Worldwide founder Hugh Evans after a conversation in Melbourne last year. Evans’s Australian contingent included three of the country’s 12 four-goal players – Brisbane’s Richard Rawlings, Perth’s Ric McCarthy, and the elder statesman of the team, Windsor Polo Club’s 34-
32 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
year-old polo manager Dick Doolin. He also brought relative newcomer 28-year-old Matt O’Leary, a promising Queenslander who has relocated to play in Melbourne and risen to two goals in four years. Between the five of them, the Australians formed three sides that took on the locals in three very different contests across the island in the course of the week. The first and last games, on
“Getting them here was child’s play. But keeping them from harm nearly killed me!” – Karen Kranenburg opposite sides of the island at Chukka Blue and Kingston Polo Club, were billed as internationals, with a midweek “friendly” at St Ann Polo Club, which lies halfway between the two. However, wet conditions in Kingston for the final match meant it was reformatted as a more casual affair, in which organiser Hugh Evans would also play, as they took on the Kingstonbased players three-on-three in the arena. Hence, the only glimpse of the Australians’ best side
performing as a foursome was in their opening game at Chukka Blue, where they played the club’s owner John G Byles, musician Andy Vernon and brothers Kurt and Shane Chin, all of whom are based on the east side of the island. The plan to orchestrate a roundtrip of 31,400 miles for three matches in a week might have seemed ambitious in the extreme. But “no” is not a word Karen Kranenburg understands. In the last year alone, she has played or organised polo in the UK, the US, India, Argentina, Canada, Barbados, Jamaica, Australia, Pakistan, Singapore and Thailand – so a few thousand extra air miles was never likely to pose a great barrier to her plans. “Getting them here was child’s play,” she explained. “It was keeping them out of harm’s way while they were here that damned near killed me!” Evans echoed Kranenburg, describing the trip as “somewhere between good clean fun and reckless abandon”. However, the Australians’ quality and stamina told on the field – competitively mounted in each of their games by their generous hosts, they shone brighter than the Jamaicans on both surfaces and at every ground. Nevertheless, ahead of the first game at Chukka Blue, which is between Negril and
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Australia, on tour in Jamaica for the first time, celebrate their third and final victory (l-r: Dick Doolin, Ric McCarthy, Hugh Evans, Matt O’Leary and Richard Rawlings, with representatives from sponsor Virgin Atlantic) Below: Richard Rawlings relaxes before a photo shoot at the beautiful Chukka Blue club, with Montego Bay in the background
Montego Bay on the west coast of the island, various questions lingered in the back of the Australians’ minds: playing against a side with years of experience playing together and on familiar horses, would the slightly higherhandicapped tourists, playing together for the first time (and after three days’ travelling) be able to gel and produce their best polo? What’s more, it was to be Matt O’Leary’s first slice of 14-goal polo anywhere on the planet. Would he be able to acclimatise to the pace, playing at back against some formidable three and four-goal Jamaican attacking threats? As it was, team captain Richard Rawlings, an expert and ever-reliable orchestrator and the side’s lynchpin at number three, took the game by the scruff of the neck from the off – something spectators were to get pretty used to during the week – and the Australians flew to a 4-0 lead in the first chukka. This score flattered the visitors in truth, because the Jamaicans also had their chances: but the hosts weren’t clinical in front of goal in what was an open and fast-flowing opening period, failing to find the posts and so unable to expose the inexperience of the Australians’ makeshift formation. Nevertheless, the battle X
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PTJune 2009 p32-35 Jamaica-JM-JB-YC MB
Report Australians tour Jamaica
1 1 Four goalers Ric McCarthy and Kurt Chin mark each other’s runs in the friendly game at St Ann Polo Club 2 Australia’s Dick Doolin inspects the ground at Chukka Blue ahead of the side’s first match against Jamaica 3 Mark Wates holds off the attentions of Richard Rawlings and Hugh Evans in the final game of the tour in the arena in Kingston 4 Team Australia’s Matt O’Leary familiarises himself with his new mount at half-time in the match at Chukka Blue 5 The lovely stretch of beach in front of the Sandals and Beaches resorts in Negril on the west coast of the island
Photographs by James Mullan, William Masterton and Tessa Edwards
34 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
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X between Rawlings and Jamaica’s Kurty Chin
proved intriguing, as Rawlings’s powerful long game locked horns with the wily close control and cheeky interceptions of Chin’s short game. Kurt Chin is from a large family of polo players on the island, with a father and two brothers who play, and numerous young Chins who look certain to find their way onto the back of a polo pony. This was the family that had lent the Aussies many of their ponies for this opening encounter. After conceding one more to go 5-0 down, the Jamaicans finally started to convert their chances. They drew the second chukka and won the third and fourth with increasing conviction. The Australians reverted from their fast, open game of the opening exchanges and, no doubt encouraged by the lack of whistle, began to play a short, scrappy game, tightening up and playing to the Jamaicans’ tune. However, the early stages had left the hosts with too much to do and they ran out of time, losing 7-6. An excellent evening’s partying followed before the tour moved east, from the familyorientated Sandals Negril beach resort and spa to the more couples-orientated Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, three hours further round the island, a third of the way from Montego Bay to Kingston. Game two was a 10-goal friendly against St Ann Polo Club, near Ocho Rios, handing
Watching the heavens open from their hotel, the teams wondered if that was that. They should’ve known better Australia’s tour manager Hugh Evans (a minusone) an opportunity to play, as O’Leary pulled on the umpire’s jersey. The two Chin brothers from the first clash were joined by Craig Russell and female international Lesley-Ann Masterton FongYee on the St Ann side. Australia prevailed once more, in what turned out to be an immensely watchable contest. It was a test of the fitness of both sides and, with a boozy few days behind them and more travelling than most sensible people manage in a year, the Australians just held on to win 7-6 and stay on course for a shot at the treble in Kingston the coming Sunday. As it happened, the culmination of the series was somewhat scuppered by the interference of one of polo’s longest-standing adversaries worldwide, Mother Nature. Jamaica’s wet season rolls in from early May onwards and a tropical
The Jamaican players take a moment between chukkas in the opening match to talk tactics
rainstorm the night before the tourists’ last match left Kingston’s grass grounds unplayable. Watching the heavens open from the comfort of the side’s final base, at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, the team wondered if that was that. By now, after a week with Karen, they should have known better. After some frantic reorganisation, the game was adjourned to the arena and the sides agreed to rotate their teams at the end of each chukka, using five players in total. This meant Evans would get a second chance at playing with the big boys. The Jamaican side included the Minister of Mines and Energy for the Jamaican parliament, two-goal player James Robertson. Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee featured again, alongside four goalers Mark Wates and Paul Lalor, and Pieter Barrow, a minus-one. Eight chukkas were played in all and, alongside the industrious Rawlings, it was O’Leary’s chance to shine. The youngest member of the squad scored several goals, including a couple of wonderful backhand strikes in difficult sloppy conditions – although he had a spectacular fall, too. Ric McCarthy fought tenaciously in defence, ensuring the Australians had a solid base from which to attack. And attack they did, scoring 18 goals and dominating throughout. The tourists then set about giving the several hundred spectators a lesson in how to “play hard” off the ground as well as on. Gallons of Grey Goose vodka disappeared at an alarming pace, until the club had none left. The Aussies then took the after-party to their hotel, where beers and traditional Jamaican herbal cigarettes were the order of the day as the Australians squeezed every last drop of entertainment from the island before their arduous 48-hour journey home. Return invitations have reportedly been extended to the Jamaicans already and, if they
accept, they must surely know they will have their work cut out if they are to leave a trail of destruction, both on and off the field, even half as impressive as has been left by the Aussies. Strewth. F ◗ See also Travel, page 54 Team Australia in Jamaica, 25 April to 3 May; Chukka Blue, St Ann and Kingston polo clubs, Jamaica Result: Team Australia won the series, 2-0, beating Team Jamaica, 7-6 and 18-14 Principal sponsors: Virgin Atlantic and Sandals Handicap level: 14-goal First game (at Chukka Blue) Team Jamaica (13): John G Byles 3; Kurt Chin 4; Andy Vernon 4; Shane Chin 2 Team Australia (14): Ric McCarthy 4; Dick Doolin 4; Richard Rawlings 4; Matthew O’Leary 2 Chukka scores (Aus): 4-0; 6-2; 7-4; 7-6 Best playing pony: GQ, owned by Shane Chin and played by Dick Doolin Second game (friendly at St Ann) Sandals St Ann Polo Club (10): Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee 2; Craig Russell 2; Kurt Chin 4; Shane Chin 2 Virgin Atlantic Australia (11): Hugh Evans -1; Dick Doolin 4; Richard Rawlings 4; Ric McCarthy 4 Chukka scores (Aus): 1-1; 2-2; 4-4; 7-6 Third game (in the Kingston arena) Team Jamaica (from): Pieter Barrow -1; Lesley Ann Masterton-Fong Yee 2; James Robertson 2; Paul Lalor 4; Mark Wates 4 Team Australia (from): Hugh Evans -1; Matt O’Leary 2; Dick Doolin 4; Richard Rawlings 4; Ric McCarthy 4 Best playing pony: Marina, owned by James Robertson and played by Matt O’Leary
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PTJune 2009 p36-37 0-40 goal-YC MB
Report Steppes Travel Cirencester 0-40 Goal Henry Brett (wearing black) was back on tremendous form at Cirencester
Henry Brett and Jamie Le Hardy combined well to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Cirencester’s 0-40 season opener, says James Wildman ritish duo Henry Brett and Jamie Le Hardy were at the heart of the winning Starseed side at last month’s 0-40 goal tournament at Cirencester Park, producing some excellent polo and clinical finishing to snatch victory in the final, 71/2-7. The culmination of the 10-day event brought together two of the tournament’s most disparately handicapped sides, as Brett and Le Hardy were drafted in by patron Tim Dobson on his 11-goal Starseed side to face a 15-goal fullyprofessional Longdole team, put together by Rob Cudmore. Longdole arrived on finals day as the obvious favourites, unbeaten in the tournament so far and having already recorded a convincing victory over Starseed exactly a week earlier.
Photograph by James Wildman
36 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
However, this all-to-recent defeat proved to be exactly the motivation Starseed’s foursome needed and, with 21/2 goals received on handicap, the underdogs at least had something to defend. An intriguing battle between Longdole’s James Harper and Starseed’s Brett followed and, in a validation of the handicapping system, the two sides were separated by just half a goal with seconds left to play. A goal for either side would clinch victory. And, just as in the final of the Hurtwood Polo Masters which followed a week later (see page 30), Brett and Le Hardy produced a last-gasp goal to come through victorious. In the 0-40 it was Le Hardy’s chance to take the glory, perfectly striking a 60-yard penalty between the posts to win them the game.
The victories are good news for Brett in particular, who, following a season of “almosts” in 2008, looks to be on the way to overcoming the persistent tennis elbow problem which has dogged his game over the last few seasons. F Cirencester 0-40 Goal Tournament; 1-10 May 2009; Cirencester Park Polo Club Result: Starseed beat Longdole 71/2-7 Principal sponsors: Steppes Travel Handicap level: 0-40 Number of team entries: seven Chukka scores (Starseed): 71/2-7 Final teams: Starseed (11): Tim Dobson -1; Jamie Le Hardy 5; Henry Brett 6; Ollie Browne 1 Longdole (15): Ollie Cudmore 2; Charlie Hanbury 3; Dave Miller 4; James Harper 6
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Reports Around the clubs
Umpiring initiative makes immediate impact he first May bank holiday weekend saw the launch of a new umpiring initiative at the Beaufort Polo Club, designed not only to improve the level of umpiring but also to increase the quality of polo and the level of respect between players and officials. The club’s new chief umpire, former England World Cup team captain and now full-time umpire, Jason Dixon, was on hand all weekend to coach less experienced umpires and help improve their understanding of the game. Though still only in its infancy, under the new initiative all parties reported an improvement in the flow and standard of the game, and in the communication between umpires and players. The umpires were overseeing the early group matches of the typically fast and competitive 8-goal Badminton Cup, as well as the first Beaufort 2-goal tournament of the season, won by Jack Severn, George Gemmell, Tom Hunt and Mark Lineham, playing for Team Apes Hill.
T Winners of 2009’s opening two-goal tournament Apes Hill (l-r: Jack Severn; Mark Lineham; George Gemmell; Tom Hunt) with Penny Forster
New players and events team ensure a busy start heshire Polo Club got the 2009 polo season off to a lively start with a pre-season drinks party in April for all its members at the nearby restaurant Cabbage Hall. With an influx of new players, the club is operating low-goal tournaments every weekend, the highlight of which this month will be the 6goal Wirral Ladies Tournament. The club’s biggest tournament, the National 8 Goal Victor Ludorum Championship, will follow in the first week of July. Despite a frosty winter, Cheshire’s grounds look to be in excellent shape and the club expects to welcome more participating teams than ever from all over the country in its larger tournaments. A further boost has been given by the agreement reached between the club and the Stobart Group, who will be managing events and sponsorship there for at least the next two years.
Left to right: Helen Ainscough, Serena Cowell, Charlie Walton and Randle Brooks in action
Crystal finish clear of the pack in season-opener t Albans Polo Club hosted its first tournament of the season, the Chairman’s Cup, early last month. Six 0-goal teams, from St Albans, Rutland and Rugby polo clubs, fought it out under bright dry skies for a place in the final, on Sunday 2 May. St Albans-based side Team Crystal faced Rugby Polo Club in the showcase event, with the hosts eventually triumphing after four chukkas by the narrowest of margins, 8-71/2. The tournament’s most valuable player award went to 12-year-old Josh Cork, one of St Albans Polo Club’s youngest members. In between matches on Sunday, Enfield Chace Pony Club played chukkas, in which local up-and-coming stars put their skills on show. Chairman Martin Randall will oversee a busy schedule this summer, including a celebrity polo match in August and a Ferrari-sponsored tournament in September.
Left: celebrations for Team Crystal (l-r: Robin Clarke, Martin Randall, Steve Collins and John Morrell). Inset: action in front of the clubhouse marquee at St Albans, which has been newly revitalised
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Reports Around the clubs
Recession rebuffed by swelling entries ucking the trend of economic gloom, Sussex Polo Club has been welcoming large numbers of new members for this summer. In the season’s inaugural matches over the first May bank holiday weekend seven teams participated in the now-annual Bank Holiday Challenge. Blessed by fine weather, the final brought together two evenly matched sides that still couldn’t be separated at full-time, drawing 6-6. Rather than play an extra chukka, organisers were so encouraged by the participation of all the members of both sides – notably newcomers Stephen Burley and Jamie Murray and 11-year-old Terence Lent – that they declared the contest a draw, dividing the honours between Team Aquilas and Team Polo Incs.
Bank Holiday Challenge joint-winners, Aquilas and Team Polo Incs
Teams Aquilas (-1): Duane Lent 0; Kwan Lo -1; Jimmy Mulligan 2; Terence Lent -2 Polo Incs (-1): Nick Clague 2; Jamie Murray -2; Stephen Burley -2; Stuart Frift 1
Returning travellers back in action ne of the earliest venues to get going each year, Tidworth Polo Club had staged their first club chukkas on 8 April and, with 208 members at the last count, filled their early coaching courses in record time.“To hell with the doom and gloom,” said the club’s polo manager, John Wright. “It all goes to show that, if polo is your drug of choice, it could be the last thing you give up!” Many Tidworth members travelled to Argentina over the winter, so organisers are expecting some pleasant surprises from newly dynamic players who will prove themselves to be under-handicapped in the full range of low-goal tournaments over the coming weekends. Tidworth welcomes Jessica Andrews this season, from Taunton and New Zealand, who will be replacing the departing Cameron Ellis, who is off to play for Maggie White’s Coombe Place polo team.
Members enjoy instruction from Sean Dayus, club coach and assistant polo manager
West Wycombe Park
Musical background in store this June lub umpire JJ Spark has been hard at work early this season, trying to prepare as many players as possible for a role in adjudicating matches in what looks set to be a busy few months. With his help, nine new members have passed up to the CP level and two have been upgraded to C. The club’s first tournament, the Welcome Cup, welcomed seven sides in two sections on the first bank holiday weekend in May. Four teams entered the -6 to -4 goal trophy, won by Green Point Polo, while three sides fought for the two spaces in the final of the -4 to 0 goal section. Funkhogs were the eventual champions, beating Sexy Kaftans in the decider by a single goal. The highlight of the forthcoming month will be the Chairman’s Cup during the weekend of 27 and 28 June, part of the West Wycombe Park Festival, which incorporates two evenings of live music in a spectacular setting around the lake.
Funkhogs in action against Kennel Farm on their way to victory in the Welcome Cup
40 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
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SYDNEY POLO COUNTRY CLUB Richmond New South Wales Australia
Sydney International Polo Pony Auction Sydney, Australia Friday 2nd October 2009
Register your interest now to buy or sell Sydney Polo Country Club 100 Ridges Lane Richmond NSW 2753, Australia Tel: 02 4588 5000 Fax: 02 4588 5444
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 41
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Feature Career women in the game
Workinggirls Antje Derks meets five inspiring girls whose “work hard, play hard” approach has enabled them to fit polo into their busy lives e girls are known for our amazing abilities to multi-task and get a lot done. But, while I thought I had a hectic schedule, having talked to these five “superwomen” of the polo world, I’ve realised I still have a long way to go to get into their league. They successfully juggle high-powered careers and in one case a family, with their devotion to polo. While polo cannot be seen as an exclusively male sport any more, female players still find they must prove themselves in what remains a brawny, masculine game. That said, these girls aren’t put off and, as you will discover, each has risen to the challenge with gusto.
42 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
The pilot JO LINTON, a British Airways pilot, has been flying long-haul for nearly four years – having showed grit and determination by working as cabin crew to pay for her flight training. All the while she has been battling a degenerative disc disorder of the spine, which has meant many painful operations, and if her schedule wasn’t already hectic enough, she has to exercise a lot to keep her back strong. Apart from polo, she enjoys running, Pilates and swimming. [I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted already, just writing about it!] Having always ridden, Jo came to polo four years ago when she joined a friend of hers for a lesson at FHM in Sussex. The rest is history. She has to achieve 90 flying hours per month, but manages to make time to play polo. “I am lucky that my job is quite flexible,” says Jo. “I suppose it is one of the perks. I have
intense periods of work, but do get 14 or 15 days off a month”. Despite living in Ascot, surrounded by various other clubs, Jo continues to play and rent ponies at FHM because her friends are there. Her typical working day involves turning up an hour and a half before departure to tackle a mountain of paperwork, including weather forecasts and route diversions. She works out fuel requirements and makes an exterior check of the plane before loading the computers that control navigation and so on. Jo is not fazed by the fact that polo is male-dominated. “I think that because I work in a very male environment, I don’t dwell on it in polo,” she says. “Men do generally have a physical advantage, but it is the perception of others that needs to change.”
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Photograph by Arthur Edwards
and balling, got hooked immediately and bought a pony.” Now she keeps two ponies at home and has two more in Argentina, which she intends to bring over soon. Stephi is passionate about Argentina. So much so that she now owns a small piece of land in Santa Maria, where she intends to build a house. “The plan is to rent it to polo guests in winter and I would cook,” she says. “Argentine food is delicious and there is a lot more to it than just endless asados!” Despite working from home, Stephi still has to juggle numerous commitments to fit in her beloved sport. She confesses she should really be working at weekends, but is generally found on the polo field, working evenings to compensate. It is not as if the polo club is on her doorstep either: she has a 100-mile round-trip with her ponies and trailer every time she plays. And as proof of her dedication to the game Stephi recently passed her umpire exam with 100 per cent – enough to earn her a letter of congratulations from deputy chief umpire Arthur Douglas-Nugent. X
Photograph by Kevin Peschke
STEPHI HARPER, who lives and works at her parents' farm near Molton in Yorkshire, runs a catering business, organising and cooking shooting and fishing lunches, as well as corporate catering. This unassuming 44-year-old, who also speaks four languages (including Spanish), is putting the finishing touches to her first book of picnic recipes, some of which will be featured in the July edition of Polo Times. If you're a member at Toulston or White Rose polo clubs, you might have tasted one of Stephi’s famous picnics. Stephi picked up her cooking skills in kitchens across Sicily when she was studying languages. “I love working from home,” says Stephi. “Although the money could be better, it is relatively stress-free and I can fit in my polo.” Having ridden all her life, including hunting and eventing, Stephi took up polo six years ago. “I'd wanted to play for 20 years, but thought it would be out of my league,” she says. “Then I went along with a friend who was having a go at Beverley. I started stick
Player and patron ALISON CLARK is director of corporate affairs for Mars, the UK-based foods, drinks and pet care company. A member of Cirencester Park Polo Club, Alison rents a yard nearby, where her Argentine groom looks after her eight playing ponies and two more at grass. Like Jo, Alison has ridden almost all her life. A few years ago she bought a cottage in the Gloucestershire countryside, surrounded by farmland belonging to the Hipwood family. Already having several friends who played polo, Alison went on holiday to Argentina, had a go and became an addict. On her return she bought her first pony, with the others following in quick succession, and joined Edgeworth Polo Club. Alison's work is based in Slough, as well as on the road, and although she still has a flat in London, she spends most of her time in Gloucestershire. “I travel around the country, and I certainly never work nine to five,” she says. “If I have to go to the office, I set off at 6am to be in for 7.30. I often work from home and keep odd hours, especially when I'm on the road, but it seems to work. After all, you need funds to play and the only way I can do it is to hold down a decent job.” Alison admits she is a little envious of people who have more time and finds it a challenge if a tournament draw is changed at short notice. “People often forget that many diaries have to be co-ordinated to make the new day or time,” she says. However, she adds that polo is a brilliant team game, and helps her focus more on her work.
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Feature Career women in the game
The mega-mum X SARAH FRANKUM usually packs more into 24
hours than most of us manage to fit into a couple of days. She is mummy to three boys, aged 16, 14 and 10, an achievement in itself; she runs two houses; teaches at a pre-prep one day a week; and is company secretary at her husband Larry's construction firm. On top of this, the whole family is involved in polo and she ferries her boys to and from school and to various sporting and social engagements on a daily basis. The Frankum family are based in London, but have recently restored a 300-year-old farmhouse in Buckinghamshire, where they keep 10 horses and a newborn foal. Her only help is her faithful au pair, who has been with the family for 11 years and also works part-time for Larry.
Sarah came to polo after her husband surprised her with a weekend at Ascot Park for their 10th anniversary. They were persuaded to go to South Africa by Rod Gutteridge, which is where the proverbial polo ball started rolling. Now the game is a pastime for all five Frankums: “Larry, myself and my eldest son play together and my youngest son has just started,” she says. “My middle son won’t go near a horse, but is a paid goal judge. We get to spend a lot of time as a family, which is the main perk for me. We are a really close unit.” The family are members at West Wycombe, which, according to Sarah, is an extremely welcoming club, ideally suited to families. When asked what her philosophy is, she declares: “I work hard and play hard and that is what we are trying to instill into our boys.”
The polo pro SARAH WISEMAN, 25 and one goal, is polo manager at the All England Polo Club at Hickstead from October to April and a professional player from May to September. Sarah, who has ridden since she was two, fell in love with polo as a youngster in Pony Club. She has played ever since and, as she puts it, “collected ponies on the way”. At present she stables her 10 horses at home but will shortly be looking for a yard, since her mother is selling up and moving. In winter Sarah plays arena polo four times a week and has no problems fitting it into her schedule. “For me the main perk is being lucky enough to make a living out of the sport that I love. It’s a great way of life, although it can be hard sometimes since I do all my horses myself.” One of Sarah's greatest supporters has been Charles Beresford, who endorsed her when she turned professional and has acted as her mentor. When asked about the challenges she faces as a pro in a maledominated game, Sarah is philosophical: “In Pony Club polo, often the girls were better than the boys. I see myself as a one-goal player rather than a woman. Of course you do sometimes get overlooked by a patron who might favour a male on his team. It just makes me even more determined to go out there and prove myself every time I play.” Sarah is also due to launch her own business, Zebra & Blume, selling coloured polo saddles, designer handbags and home accessories. Of the forthcoming season Sarah says: “This year I'll be playing lowgoal – with the financial downturn I think it will be easiest to get games at this level. I've joined Hurtwood Park Polo Club this season, which means I’ve come full circle, as that's where I started.” F
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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
Pony not playing well? What vets can do to help Vets use the term “poor performance” to describe horses that have performed well in the past but are now performing badly without displaying any obvious signs of illness or injury. This phenomenon is surprisingly widespread in polo ponies ost polo ponies are elite athletes and are often asked to perform to their physical limits, so it is not surprising that even the smallest change in their health can affect their performance. These minute, often subtle changes to their health can be really challenging to detect, and can often only be diagnosed with procedures such as X-rays, endoscopies and blood tests.
Left: a stethoscope can be used to pick up heart murmurs and rhythm abnormalities that may affect performance
What are the symptoms? The symptoms of poor performance in polo ponies can be very vague. Some may have trouble stopping or may not turn well to one side or other. They may tire prematurely during a chukka, begin to lack speed, or may take longer to recover immediately after they have played. Others may stumble, or show other signs such as irritation when having their girth tightened. Clearly visible symptoms that can be pinpointed to a specific body system are frequently not evident during the early stages of diseases that effect performance.
Photographs courtesy of Mark Emerson
Making a diagnosis Poor performance in polo ponies commonly goes undiagnosed and untreated. Some players may try to school a horse out of a problem, others might choose to put up with a loss of performance or opt for a period of rest. However, asking your vet to investigate often pays dividends and, as well as getting a horse back on track, it may even help to prolong a pony’s career. Diagnosis relies on the vet understanding the level of polo being played by the horse, the ability of the horse, the ability of the player and the history relating to the loss in performance. A detailed physical examination is first required, followed by more specific diagnostic tests relating to
46 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
suspicious body systems. Because there are so many possible causes of poor performance, it is important to be logical and methodical in choosing appropriate diagnostic tests.
Musculoskeletal problems The most common causes of poor performance generally relate to musculoskeletal pain and consequently an orthopaedic examination is often required. A physical examination of the limbs, paying particular attention to joints and tendons, is usually performed first, followed by observation of the horse at trot to look for signs of subtle lameness. Bearing in mind that all of the four limbs on any one horse have carried out the same mileage, it is not surprising that horses are often sore on more than one leg and that a bilaterally lame horse may not obviously appear lame, favouring neither side more than the other. Trotting in a tight circle on hard ground and flexion tests may help to expose a very subtle lameness. Nerve and joint blocks can be used to narrow down the exact site of a discernable lameness. X-rays of suspected sites of lameness will help to evaluate arthritic joint conditions and
navicular disease. Ultrasound scans of tendons and ligaments may also be of use. Arthritis in polo ponies is generally the result of wear and tear (“degenerative joint disease” or “osteoarthritis”) and can even affect relatively young horses. Although all joints can be affected, the fetlock joints and hocks are most commonly involved. It is debatable as to whether any damage can be significantly reversed. However, the associated pain can be controlled with anti-inflammatories such as “bute”. Joint injections with corticosteroids and cartilage protectants provide longer-term pain relief and will often delay the advance of osteoarthritis. Navicular disease can be managed in the early stages with improved shoeing, the judicious use of “bute”, and drugs that are thought to increase the blood supply to the area. In more advanced cases, corticosteroids can be injected into the navicular bursa and surgical de-nerving can be used as a last resort. Back pain should also be a consideration. Most back pain has an underlying cause that should be identified in order to prevent it from recurring. Back pain may be caused by something as simple as a badly fitting saddle or it may be secondary to a bilateral lameness. “Kissing spines” and ligament or muscle tears are also possibilities that can be diagnosed with X-rays and ultrasound scans. Back pain caused by “kissing spines” can be treated with corticosteroid injections in and around the affected areas or by surgery to remove the tips of the impinging spines. Ligament and muscle damage may
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a drug called quinidine but requires constant veterinary supervision until a normal rhythm is restored. Many heart murmurs are physiologically normal, but those that are caused by leaky valves may not be treatable and a step-down in the level of polo may be necessary.
Neurological problems This page (clockwise from above): the dorsal spinous processes of the vertebral column can impinge on each other causing back pain (“kissing spines”); an X-ray of a hock, with evidence of osteoarthritis of the lower hock joints (bone spavin), which is a common cause of poor performance in polo ponies; using endoscopy allows your vet to assess laryngeal function, lung bleeds and inflammatory airway conditions; ulceration of the lining of the stomach is an increasingly diagnosed cause of poor performance; sharp dental overgrowths can severely affect a horses performance – causing resentment of the bit, particularly when trying to stop or turn
Neurological disorders can be identified using a series of tests that examine senses, reflexes, coordination, neck and back flexibility, muscle tone and strength. Suspicious cases may require X-rays of the neck to assess possible narrowing or damage to the spinal cord. Corticosteroid injections can be used to treat arthritis of the facet joints of the vertebrae within the neck, although more substantial lesions are rarely amenable to treatment.
benefit from therapeutic ultrasound or shockwave therapy. Blood tests to measure muscle enzymes can help to diagnose cases of tying-up (azoturia), which will undoubtedly affect performance but may not be obvious if symptoms are mild. Many vets will now advocate steady work without prolonged box rest, low carbohydrate diets, and adequate salt in the diet. Horses that tie up severely should certainly not be worked until symptoms have subsided.
Respiratory problems Respiratory disorders are probably the next most common cause of poor performance. Endoscopy of the airways will reveal so-called “wind” conditions, such as laryngeal paralysis which limits airflow to the lungs, and may reveal signs of bleeding from the lungs or excessive mucous due to inflammatory airway conditions. A bronchoalveolar lavage (“lung wash”) is useful in the detection and assessment of inflammatory airway conditions, which are often allergy related. “Wind” conditions such as laryngeal
paralysis generally require surgery to prevent them from limiting performance. Inflammatory airway conditions are best treated with a combination of environmental management, anti-inflammatories (corticosteroids), and the judicious use of bronchodilator drugs. Horses prone to lung bleeds when exerted can be treated with diuretics prior to playing, although some may respond to a period of rest.
Cardiovascular problems Examination of the cardiovascular system includes listening to the heart with a stethoscope to assess the heart itself and blood sampling to evaluate the oxygencarrying capacity of the blood. ECGs (electrocardiograms) can be used to investigate rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation, and echocardiograms (ultrasound scans of the heart) may be recommended to determine the existence of cardiac disease if suspicious heart murmurs are heard. Horses with low red blood cell counts may benefit from vitamin B and iron injections or supplements. Atrial fibrillation is treated with
Sharp teeth that impinge on the soft tissues of the mouth are a common problem in polo ponies that do not receive appropriate dental attention. The use of a metal gag to safely access the inside of the mouth is essential to identify conditions that may affect bitting or a horse’s ability to eat. Overgrowths and sharp edges to the teeth can easily be removed with a manual or motorised rasp.
Gastrointestinal problems An increasingly diagnosed condition is ulceration of the stomach, which can be painful and cause a number of often vague symptoms including a general decline in performance. Gastroscopy (endoscopic examination of the stomach) will reveal areas of reddening and erosion in surface of the stomach. Gastric ulceration can be treated with a combination of management changes (more roughage, less concentrate in the diet, more turnout) and by administering drugs that decrease acid production in the stomach. F ◗ Mark Emerson is based at Thames
Valley Equine Clinic, Sheephouse Farm, Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 4HF. Tel: 01491 414007; email: email@example.com www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 47
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Horsemanship The knowledge Horse expert Andrew Seavill shares his trade secrets
When going backwards brings you forward wo things you don’t often see a horse do on his own are backing up and going sideways. He can do these manoeuvres, but usually prefers to go forward when he has a choice. However, these two movements are important in all riding dynamics. Introduce them on the ground first, as it will make it easier later in the saddle. Ask your horse to back up by putting your hand on the bridge of the horse’s nose or by putting your fingers on the tips of his shoulder blades. Once on the horse, you apply the same principles of pressure and release from pressure when you ask him to back up. To start, sit in a casual position in your saddle with no contact with your horse’s mouth. Then rise up in the saddle by straightening your back. Lift your reins in the air with one hand, and make contact with the horse’s mouth. Run your free hand down the reins until you feel you have contact with the horse’s mouth. Now put a rein in each hand, but hold the reins only with your thumbs. Your fingers should be pointing ahead. Then close both your index fingers at the same time, after that close your middle fingers, then your ring fingers, and then your little fingers. Bend your elbows and next sink your back down in the saddle into the backward movement of a back up. Hold and when your horse yields to your hands and takes a step back, throw the reins down. Your horse will get the idea that backing up releases the pressure on the reins. In time he’ll back as far and as fast as you want. A good exercise you can do to learn to know where your horse’s feet are without looking at them is to walk forward a certain number of steps, then back a certain number of
The same principles of pressure (above) and release (right) apply when in the saddle asking a horse to back up, as when on the ground
steps. Count them as you go. For example, focus on a spot in the distance and walk forward 12 steps to get there. Stop and back up four
steps. Try to feel where your horse’s feet are when you do this. It will help you get in tune with the movements of your horse. F
Ask Andrew... I’m new to polo, but have been riding for a while. I’ve been offered a young Thoroughbred. Do you recommend learning the game together? If you want to learn polo and have never done it before, the hardest way to go about it is to get a horse that has never done it either and try to learn together. An experienced horse can teach you a lot; he can fill in some of the gaps for you. Even if you don’t own
this horse, see if you can ride him to experience how it should feel. The same goes for when you have more polo experience. You’ll be able to set him up so that doing what you want is easy for him. Don’t buy a green horse if you’re not experienced with horses. Green on green makes black and blue! Buy a horse that’s rideable and dependable. He’ll put up with your inexperience much better and you’ll enjoy your polo a lot more. Do you have a question you’d like Andrew to answer? If so, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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PTJune 2009 p50-51 Pony power YC JM MB
The knowledge Pony power
Flecha Lindsay Warner talks to the US Open final’s most valuable player, Eduardo Novillo Astrada, about the other prize winner on his team, best playing pony Flecha
What is Flecha’s background?
What is she like around the stables?
She belongs to my brother, Javier, and has been a part of his string in the US for four years, since she came over from Argentina when she was five years old. We used to have her full sister and, according to Javier, she was one of the best horses he ever played in the Argentine Open. She died of colic last year, but we managed to buy their mother and we are using her to breed. Javier didn’t play this year’s season in Florida, so he allowed me the chance to play Flecha for the first time.
She lives mostly outside in the paddock because she seems to prefer that. We only put her in the box when it’s very cold.
What are her strengths on the field?
Vital statistics Name: Height: Age: Sex: Breed:
Flecha 15.1hh 9 years old Mare Argentine Thoroughbred
She has everything. She’s a super-powerful, super-fast mare and has a big heart – she won’t stop running until she has given everything she’s got and produced her best polo. It’s an excellent combination but her passion for the game and her speed are definitely her most important attributes and are what won her the prize. Her name means “arrow” in Spanish and it’s just a shame we couldn’t quite hang on in extra time to take home the biggest trophy of all. She deserved to be on the winning side and to lose in extra time is heartbreaking.
Photograph by Lindsay Warner
Which chukkas did you play her in? I played her in the first and fifth chukkas in the final, and I generally used her in the more important chukkas throughout the earlier parts of the tournament too, whenever I needed her.
What do you feed Flecha to keep her in top condition? She eats everything we give her, which is a mix of grain, oats and, of course, hay. In fact, given that she never seems to leave anything, we have to be careful we don’t feed her too much, because she can get very fat. Even after a final, on a day when she has played two fast-paced competitive chukkas, she’s never too tired to eat and still finishes absolutely everything we give her.
Would your brother ever sell her? No, I am certain we would never sell her. She is a fantastic horse. When Flecha can’t play any more, we will definitely use her for breeding, as her bloodlines are proven. She is fantastic. F
A British pro’s view Three-goal Englishman Jamie Peel, who played Flecha in numerous 26-goal practice matches while he was staying with the Novillo Astradas at their US base Las Monjitas in February and March, echoed Eduardo’s praise. “She’s a great horse,” he said. “She’s fast, comfortable, powerful in the ride-off and is just an excellent all-rounder.”
Experts in polo nutrition Tel: +44 (0)1371 850247 www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk 50 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
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From Muddy May to Flaming June Let’s hope the forecasters are right
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www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 51
PTJune 2009 p52-53 Feeding YC JM-MB
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Sets of TDR Major 1600 Mowers, Hire, Sale your choice, from 2003 - 2008 models. Call for full details
JCB 525.58, 1995 Farm Special, 6 meter boom, pick up hitch, tidy old machine, plenty of life left. £8,000
Renault 566RZ, 2003, 100 HP, 40KPH, Air Con, Super Creep, 4wd, Cab Suspension, 2800 genuine hrs, one owner from new, floatation grass tyres. £16,000
Massey Fergurson 3085, 100 HP, 40KPH, Air Con, 4wd, Turf Tyres, One Owner from New. loads of extras for little cash. £10,000
Hayter 5 gang self propelled mower, 2005, immaculate, perfect for garden, polo pitch etc. Over 30 K new. Only £8000
52 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTJune 2009 p52-53 Feeding YC JM-MB
Feeding The knowledge Lorna Jowett, specialist equine nutritionist, gives expert advice on all things edible
What to feed when you plan to move up a level Por lo general juego polo de dos a cuatro goles, pero voy a jugar una ocho goles este año y voy a exigir a mis caballos mas de lo normal por dos o tres semanas. Cómo puedo alimentarlos para que tengan velocidad y resistencia adicional?
First of all, congratulations! Hopefully your ponies are already on a balanced feed to support their current workload. What I would discourage is adding oats to the current feed. This will not provide a balanced diet and you could have some very fizzy and excitable ponies that will run like the wind for the first two or three minutes of a chukka then run out of steam.
Antes que nada, felicitaciones! Es de esperar que tus caballos ya esten comiendo una ración balanceada que les permita soportar el nivel de exigencia normal. Lo que yo desalentaría es el agregado de avena en la ración actual ya que generaría una dieta desbalanceada resultando en caballos exaltados que correrán mas rápido en los primeros dos o tres minutos de un chaquer pero que enseguida se quedarán sin energía.
I suggest the following: ◗ For ponies who gain weight easily, add a balancer (usually two coffee-mugs are all that’s required per day) to increase protein, vitamins and minerals and support their increased work over the next three weeks ◗ For ponies who lose weight easily, change their diet to a conditioning cube or mix, feeding around 10lb per day ◗ For ponies who hold their weight steady, either increase your current feed to about 10lb per day, or, if you would like extra sparkle, change to a polo/competition mix (which will probably contains oats) ◗ To increase stamina on the field and to aid recovery I advise adding oil to the diet as this provides slow-release energy which promotes stamina. It’s best also to feed antioxidants alongside oil to ensure it is utilised efficiently – adding two coffee mugs of, for example, Baileys Outshine will do the trick.
Lo que te sugeriría es lo siguiente: ◗ Para caballos que aumenten de peso rápidamente, agregá un balanceador (dos tasas de café por dia) para incrementar las proteínas, vitaminas y minerales y ayudar a soportar el incremento en la exigencia durante las tres semanas ◗ Para caballos que pierdan peso rápidamente, cambiá gradualmente la dieta por una ración a base de cubos o mix de acondicionamiento y dales alrededor de 4.5kg por dia (tres cucharones) ◗ Para caballos que mantengan su peso, incrementá la dieta actual a 4.5kg por dia o, si preferís que tengan mayor reacción, cambiá por un mix de polo o competición que por lo general contienen avena en forma balanceada ◗ Para aumentar la resistencia en la cancha y al mismo tiempo ayudar a la recuperación, yo recomiendo agregar aceite en la ración, ya que es fuente de energía de liberación lenta, y también antioxidantes, para asegurar que el aceite sea utilizado eficientemente. Estos se pueden obtener a través del producto Outshine de Baileys y sólo se requieren dos tasas de café por dia.
Good luck and have fun! F
Buena suerte y que te diviertas! F
Photograph by Brian Dreyer
I normally play two to fourgoal polo, but I’m doing an eight-goal tournament this summer, so my ponies will be working faster for two to three weeks. How can I feed them to give them a bit of extra speed and stamina?
Levels of low-goal: moving up a bracket means increasing the rations
Tip of the month Don’t be fooled that oats are the only way to provide speed for the polo pony. Simply ensuring that enough cubes or mix, of the right energy level, are being fed for the workload being asked will work miracles! No te engañes, la avena no es la única fuente de energía… simplemente asegurate de dar cantidades adecuadas de cubos o mix para los niveles de energía requeridos y los resultados serán milagrosos!
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 53
PTJune 2009 p54-57 Travel YC JM MB
The knowledge Travel
Playtime in paradise Are you a keen traveller who likes playing anything from six- to 16-goal polo? How about a trip to the Caribbean, team in tow? Taking a side on tour across the Atlantic need not be as extravagant as it sounds, says James Mullan ith beautiful blue skies and seas, and a single-figure commute in terms of flying hours, the Caribbean has for years been a popular destination for both British and American holidaymakers. However, two of the Caribbean’s most famous islands are now also seriously turning heads as destinations for two rather different types of polo trip. Jamaica is probably a country known to most in terms of the endearing personalities of its most iconic characters: timeless reggae musician Bob Marley, the remarkable endeavours of the first Jamaican bobsleigh team at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the laid-back and comical attitude of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. However, the island also has a rich polo history. British colonials brought the game to Jamaica in the late 19th century, sparking a long-standing tradition of polo on the island, one that has persisted through a somewhat fraught history in the interim, and of which its
54 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
contemporary players are rightly proud. The attraction of Jamaica as a plentiful source of sugar cane to its Western settlers over the first 300 years of British rule brought a vast influx of investment – the island had electricity and running water before New York City. Mid-way through the 20th century, Jamaica welcomed polo players from across the Commonwealth for the 1966 Commonwealth Games. Polo was designated the “demonstration sport” at the Games, with an English side led by
Prince Philip facing local Jamaican teams. Prince Charles and Princess Anne accompanied the team, and Charles later returned to play on the island and test its facilities first hand whilst on naval duty in the Caribbean. However, after Jamaica gained increased independence in 1958 by becoming part of the West Indies, progress was stifled in the 1970s and early 1980s by the local appointment of socialist governments, which scared many of the more wealthy islanders and polo players
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Left to right: the view from the deck at Sandals Ocho Rios Hotel, Jamaica; a visitor enjoys the Chukka Caribbean zipline canopy tour in Montpellier, near Montego Bay; Chukka Caribbean adventurers ride in the sea near Negril, on Jamaica’s west coast; the beautiful 13th hole at the new golf course at Apes Hill, Barbados, also home to Waterhall Polo Club, where ‘Cow’ Williams bases his huge polo operation, with more than 120 ponies in work
Army officers began playing exclusively regimental contests in 1882. St Ann Polo Club’s traditional “burmed” ground in Drax Hall, on the north coast of the island, followed shortly afterwards in the early 1890s. A burmed ground’s edges incorporate a man-made camber (mound) that helps slow the ball down and discourage it from going into touch, so boards are not needed. The St Ann ground is thought to be the longest host of continuous regular polo in the Western world. Today Jamaica has four principal tournament locations, but its polo is exclusively amateur – into selling up their land and businesses and heading overseas. Polo’s revival over the past 20 years owes much to the enterprise, charisma, commitment and passion of the Honourable Dennis Lalor, a 75-year-old Jamaican insurance mogul and longstanding polo fanatic based in Kingston. Since the turn of the 21st century, in particular, progress has been staggering. Under his stewardship, and alongside Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee and Dennis’s son Paul, the strength of facilities once enjoyed by the British royal family is now increasingly matched by the strength of the horses and the quality of the island’s new influx of enthusiastic young players. In terms of the island’s facilities, Kingston Polo Club was formed in 1886, four years after British
islanders simply want to play fair, open polo, which respects all players on the ground, whichever side they are on, and which looks after the ponies. Away from the polo, despite Jamaica’s welldocumented and not entirely justified reputation for violence, tourists rarely experience aggravation from the locals, according to three-goal Jamaican player John G Byles. Some statistics even suggest the island has the lowest crime rate against tourists of the entire Caribbean. However, this might be largely due to the fact that, outside Kingston, the majority of holidaymakers either confine themselves to the beaches of their gated resorts or come to the island while on cruises from
“The Jamaicans are fantastic – even though basically no one on the island makes a living from the game, they are more into it than any group of polo players I have ever met” – Tim Bown played the old fashioned way, as a hobby, borne out of a love for the game and, most importantly of all, the ponies. Its current players, of which there are 35 to 40, show fantastic dedication, travelling vast distances to play each other for no money. The game, while played at as high a level as 14-goal, operates with a particular purity that is lost when money enters the equation. There is a genuine family-feel that visitors can’t help but drink in on their arrival. The
North and Central America. Neither of these kinds of tourist tends to be found wandering the streets alone at night, asking for trouble. This spring’s visiting Australians were something of an exception (see pages 32 and 74)! Your best bet is to stay somewhere reputable and use your common sense, following welltrodden paths. The polo grounds are spread right across the northern arc of the island, over some 150 miles, lending themselves perfectly to a tour X
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PTJune 2009 p54-57 Travel YC JM MB
The knowledge Travel
Clockwise from above: action from the final of the Barbados Open at Clifton Polo in March; river tubing with Chukka Caribbean Nature Adventure Tours in Jamaica; a suite at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston
X from one side to the other, staying and playing
at a series of different locations. The supreme generosity of the Jamaican players means it is a destination to be savoured. Based on my experience of a trip with the Australian team, while their long commute might mean sending teams from down under regularly is an unrealistic expectation for their sponsors Virgin Atlantic, for British low- and medium-goal teams looking for a some practice and fun together ahead of the English season, Jamaica offers an excellent opportunity. Just ask Tim Bown, who has
Barbados is geographically smaller, flatter and less dramatic than Jamaica but its four main polo locations are all within a 10-mile radius been taking teams over at the start of the year for as many as 15 seasons, escaping the chilly arena season in the UK for a couple of weeks, in favour of some much-missed full-size grass polo. “The Jamaicans are fantastic – even though basically no one on the island makes a living from the game, they are more into it than any other group of polo players I have ever met,” he said. “Life revolves around organising their next game and, with so few players on the island, they love the excuse touring sides give them to play more polo and get to the bar together afterwards. “They will lend you their best ponies for nothing, so the visiting team often wins, and half the time they won’t even let you buy a beer! And,
56 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
if you’re a good sort, you are almost bound to be invited back the following year. Jamaican hospitality is utterly unique.” The Australians with whom I travelled can also attest to this generosity, claiming that the ponies they were lent were as good if not better than the strings played by the locals. There are no rental strings, so players such as the wonderfully welcoming and enthusiastic Shane Chin stick and balled with the travellers ahead of their first game and ensured each was mounted with the most suitable ponies, even lending out of his own preferred string where appropriate to make sure the best players could play to their full potential. You don’t find this kind of service anywhere else. It’s all for the love of the game. Off the polo ground, other attractions include the beautiful Dunn’s River Falls, a stone’s throw from St Ann Polo Club near Ocho Rios. And polo player John G Byles co-owns the island’s biggest nature adventure tour company for visitors, Chukka Caribbean, employing some 500 staff and offering zipline canopy tours, 4x4 safaris, river kayak adventures, buggy adventures and horseback trails at locations across the Caribbean. His polo ponies are put to work at some of the adventure locations, taking visitors on horseback rides on land and in shallow seawater coves. Barbados differs from Jamaica significantly. Geographically, it is a smaller, flatter, less dramatic destination but its size makes all four of the island’s main locations accessible, located as they are within a 10-mile radius of each other. Thus, where Jamaica would suit a side looking for a short playing tour, Barbados is more suitable for a side that wants to be based in one spot for a
Useful contacts Jamaica Polo Association Contact Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee: email@example.com or +1 876 3814660 Activities Chukka Caribbean Nature Adventure Tours: visit www.chukkacaribbean.com for details or call +1 876 953 6699 Where to stay in Jamaica In Negril (near Chukka Blue): Sandals Beaches Resort Negril see www.beachesresorts.co.uk for details or telephone 0800 022 3233 In Ocho Rios (near St Ann Polo Club): Sandals Ocho Rios see www.sandals.co.uk for details or telephone 0800 022 3030 In Kingston (near Kingston Polo Club): Spanish Court Hotel see www.spanishcourthotel.com for details or telephone +1 876 926 0000 longer period – perhaps six weeks or more. Indeed the island regularly welcomes pros from the UK, or young players hoping to learn and improve by working for a large polo set-up for a season. Unlike in Jamaica, the Bajan polo scene is professionally-orientated, with a growing polo community that fights it out for four major medium-goal titles a season, each attracting six to 12 teams. Like in most polo-playing countries, the teams are funded by patrons, who draft in players from Argentina and the UK and many of whom source ponies from the US and South America. Another contrast between Jamaica and Barbados relates to language. Whereas in the
PTJune 2009 p54-57 Travel YC JM MB
My travels with Sir Charles ‘Cow’ Williams
Where have your polo travels taken you recently? These days I’m mainly on Barbados because of work commitments and the continued rise of the game on the island. But I also aim to spend at least six weeks a year at my polo place in Monte, Argentina. It’s an old farm beside a beautiful 10,000-acre lake, which I bought in 2004 and where I now keep 18 Argentine-bred ponies.
Photographs by James Mullan
Will you be travelling to England this summer? I’ll be coming over to watch the Apes Hill side and I still have ponies stabled at the Beaufort but these will only be short trips. I have too much to do here and we now have 120 ponies in work on Barbados, of which around 70 are playing ponies. In the old days, between 1972 and 1991, I played the whole English season and also played frequently over on Jamaica, where I used to have a home on Chukka Cove. That was also where I used to base the British players that came over for the Barbados polo season before the visa conditions for foreign pros on Barbados changed. What has been your favourite polo trip of all time? About 30 years ago, we used to play a lot of matches between teams on Jamaica and Barbados. But there was always said to be a massive home advantage as neither of the hosts ever lent their visitors ponies that were as good as their own. So, in 1981, to prove my point I chartered a plane and flew 12 ponies over to Jamaica for a three-match series against the best local players. Sure enough, we won all three games. Another great trip was in 1991 when I bought five new ponies and won the 15-goal Autumn Cup at Cowdray, beating a side including Terry Hanlon and nine-goaler Julian Hipwood. I was four goals at the time so it was a great feeling. Any good non-polo holidays? There haven’t been many, but my wife and I go
former the principal accent you will recognise outside polo is American, in Barbados English expats and tourists are de rigeur. So, depending on who you prefer, Brits or Yanks, I’m afraid it’s a case of the lesser of two evils really. But make your decision based on the kind of polo you are looking for. Because, however
yachting fairly frequently to the Grenadines. It’s just totally relaxing. Have you had any bad experiences playing polo abroad? The worst was probably breaking my leg on my final trip to the UK for the season in 1990. I’d been flying over each weekend (Friday to Monday) all season and it was on my ninth and final weekend that I fell. Perhaps I’d been overdoing it! I made a similar number of commutes last summer to watch Apes Hill, but another of my biggest disappointments came when the team just failed to reach the semi-finals of Gold Cup. The other semi wasn’t played simultaneously and, well, let’s just say I wasn’t happy. Which is your favourite hotel? The Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires is fantastic. It has great staff, wonderful food, and is a genuinely affordable five-star hotel that is perfect for the polo. What about a good restaurant? Kansas, next to Palermo, is a place with many happy memories. It has a fun, lively, bubbling atmosphere and the food is great. Is there anywhere in the world you’d still like to go for polo? I’d like to do Australia and New Zealand properly, but it’s not very convenient for my preferred weekend commute from Barbados, so I doubt I’ll go over while I’m still working – which might be forever! I’m busier now than I’ve ever been. What’s the first thing that goes in your suitcase on a polo trip? If I’m going to Argentina, I literally just take hand luggage, as I already have everything I need there. But I always carry a notebook, just so I can get the names of any ponies I like, just in case. If I’m going to England, the first thing I throw in is always warm clothes! ◗ Interview by James Mullan
seriously you want to take it, the Caribbean provides an excellent opportunity for any low- or medium- goal polo sides to embark on a truly memorable excursion. F ◗ Have you been somewhere teams can have fun on tour? Tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel news in brief ◗ THE ROYAL MALAYSIAN POLO Association is set to launch a bid to host the FIP World Championships in 2015. “We have the infrastructure, facilities and horses that meet the standards,” said the association’s vice president Datuk Mohamed Moiz Jabir Ali. The last championships were held in Mexico in May last year and England is due to host the next fixture in 2011, which looks likely to be based around the Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire. However, bidding for the following championships, scheduled for 2014 or 2015, has not yet been officially opened by the FIP. ◗ NIGERIA’S FIFTH CHUKKA POLO and Country Club is mid-way through a busy couple of weeks as this issue of Polo Times hits subscribers’ doormats early this June. In the last week of May the club in the north-central state of Kaduna hosted the ladies’ section and the men’s 10-goal section of the sixth Emir of Katsina Charity Shield, featuring visiting teams and players from South Africa and the US, as well as Jamaica’s Lesley-Ann Masterton Fong-Yee (also featured in PT’s Jamaica report on page 32). The men’s 20-goal tournament follows in the first week of June and this year features three sides. Visiting professionals include the sevengoal talents of Argentina’s Juan Chavanne and Diego White and Lolo Castagnola’s up-andcoming cousin, six-goaler Facundo Castagnola. ◗ ENTERPRISING TOURNAMENT organisers in Ghana devised some intriguing new ways to bring a wider, larger public to a tournament in the capital, Accra, in April. The 2nd annual Joyce Tamakloe Memorial Cancer Foundation Polo Championship featured a children’s match, and a penalty for the adult players if they could not match the youngsters’ goal difference in their own 10-goal final. Organiser Ahmed Dasuki, one of the most avid and dynamic supporters of the sport in West Africa, also staged a luxury car exhibition – with players and club members encouraged to bring their own cars to the match for the public to admire. In the event the adult players – from France, Australia, England, America, Ghana, Nigeria and Spain, some of them pro players – had a task on their hands to match the 5-1 goal difference of the children’s final. Having been unable to widen the goal gap, the winners in the adult final XEX Limited, who beat UBI Petroleum 4-2, received the children’s prizes – while the children the adults’ prizes. Hence the adults were presented with comic books, and the children with the trophies! Despite all its light-hearted initiatives, the fourday event was held for a serious cause, and aimed to create awareness on the dangers of prostate cancer. The proceeds raised were donated to the Joyce Tamakloe Memorial Cancer Foundation.
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 57
PTJune 2009 p58-59 property YC MB
The knowledge Property
The Castle (£3.75m), on the doorstep of the Hurlingham Club and Hurlingham Park in Fulham, home of this month’s Polo in the Park, was first built as a school
Through the garden gate and on to the ground What’s on the market for keen spectators? Yolanda Carslaw investigates y love of polo stems directly from the fact that my parents installed our family in a house an easy walk or bike ride from Cowdray's Lawns, River and Ambersham grounds. Though my father gave up the game when I was three and none of the rest of us played, we used to spend the summer holidays pedalling to polo and rarely missed a Gold Cup match. For keen spectators, or anyone who wants to get involved without playing (from goal-judging to propping up the bar), it's a bonus to live a few
steps from a thriving polo club. I asked agents in the district of several busy clubs what they had to offer this month for buyers who want to walk or cycle to their local club. Virtually opposite the entrance to Hurtwood Park lies La Quinta, aptly named for somebody interested in polo though without the playing facilities of the Tomlinsons' Argentine estancia of the same name. La Quinta Surrey, which is on the market at £675,000 through Burns & Webber (www.burnsandwebber.com; 01483 268822) has south-west facing gardens and a paddock, four bedrooms, a 28ft sitting room and a large
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 email@example.com; or write to Mark Charter, Partner, Real Estate, Blake Lapthorn, New Kings Court, Tollgate, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 3LG
58 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
conservatory. You can be at the clubhouse – whether for polo or for one of Hurtwood's live music nights – in a couple of minutes. Staying in the south, a three-bedroom cottage is for sale at £695,000 through Jackson-Stops (www.jackson-stops.co.uk; 01730 812357) within sight of Cowdray's Ambersham grounds. The Grade II listed property, called The Old House and formerly South Ambersham's pub, has a garage and parking for four cars. But you could walk to number one ground in five minutes. Over in Gloucestershire a bike ride from the Beaufort lies 6 The Street, a semi-detached
PTJune 2009 p58-59 property YC MB
Left: Sherborne House (£1.65m) is a short bike ride from Inglesham, while 1 Hope Cottages (below, £315,000) is a rare example of an affordable small character cottage just round the corner from RCBPC
Cotswold stone cottage in the village of Westonbirt. On the market for £365,000 with Butler Sherborn (www.butlersherborn.co.uk; 01285 883740), the refurbished cottage, which remains full of character, has attractive gardens, and a summerhouse. As well as the polo club on the doorstep, there's Westonbirt Arboretum – a lovely outing when autumn sets in. On the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire borders a handsome William and Mary townhouse has come on the market two miles from Inglesham Polo Club. Sherborne House, available through Butler Sherborn (as above) for £1.65m, lies on a side street in the ancient town of Lechlade. The property comprises a six-bedroom house and a two-bedroom cottage plus walled gardens, an orchard and a pool. Even closer to Inglesham, at the other end of the scale, is a three-bedroom red-brick house priced at £199,950. For sale through Allen & Harris (www.sequencehome. co.uk; 01793 762407), the semi-detached property, with a small rear garden, is in Lynt Road, a cul-de-sac directly opposite Lynt Farm. Further north in the village of Kirtlington, an attractive modern Cotswold stone house is on the market for £825,000 through the Oxfordshire agent James C Penny (www.jamescpenny.co.uk;
where there's good spectator polo in winter as well as summer – is 1 Hope Cottage on Winkfield Road, which the Crown Estate has recently put up for sale through Smiths Gore (www.smithsgore. co.uk; 01798 343111). The semi-detached Victorian cottage has four bedrooms, a decent rear garden and greenhouse/workshop – however, the price of £315,000 reflects its need for a thorough overhaul. Perhaps an opportunity for a couple of polo enthusiasts who need something to keep them busy in between match days. By contrast a 20-minute walk from the club an impressive detached house in nearly four acres is on the market for £3.35m through Knight Frank (www.knightfrank.com; 01344 624732). The seven bedrooms include a master suite with dressing room leading to a gallery overlooking the dining room. A driveway with double garage blends into lawns and gardens. But you can follow footpaths most of the way to RCBPC. nd finally Savills (www.savills.co.uk; 020 7731 9400) has the ultimate project for a polo enthusiast in the capital in the form of The Castle (£3.75m), right next to polo’s historic home at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham, where Polo in the Park takes place this month. The striking Grade II listed building, built in 1855 as a school in Tudor Gothic style, complete with turrets, quoins and two almshouses, used to overlook the number two ground at Hurlingham, and is just yards from the public park that was once the number one ground. The property has never been lived in and has planning permission to develop into a single dwelling of 10,000 square feet. Though that couldn’t be achieved before Polo in the Park this time round, in future years a polo-loving owner could certainly hold a cracking post-match bash back at his place. F
01865 554422). The four-bedroom property has views to the rear across Kirtlington Park – nicely described by the agent as “a grand extension to your own garden without any maintenance” – and the polo club is less than a mile away. It's hard to find a house within spitting distance of polo on Cirencester’s Ivy Lodge ground, located as it is within Cirencester Park, and the same goes for Guards. However, locations such as Cheapside Road, near Blacknest Gate, are close enough to leave the car at home and cycle across with a picnic. There are more options near RCBPC – though more likely at the higher end. One exceptional opportunity within a mile of the Berkshire –
Three houses for super-dedicated polo followers
Close to Cowdray Park, £695,000 – The Old House is Grade II listed, has three bedrooms and sits on half an acre of pretty gardens – just yards from the Ambersham grounds. Through Jackson-Stops (www.jackson-stops.co.uk; 01730 812357)
Close to Hurtwood Park, £675,000 – La Quinta, a chaletstyle property, has four bedrooms, a conservatory and an acre and a half of south-west-facing gardens. Through Burns & Webber (www.burnsandwebber.com; 01483 268822)
Close to Kirtlington Park, £825,000 – The Stone House is a modern Cotswold stone house with four bedrooms and gardens to the rear with views over Kirtlington Park. Through James C Penny (www.jamescpenny.co.uk; 01865 554422)
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 59
PTJune 2009 p60-61 Products YC JM MB
The knowledge Gear
From left to right: Parkerville weave tan with bronzed clasp From RM Williams (www. rmwilliams.com.au; 020 7629 6222) The verdict: Versatile, rustic-style ladies’ belt, made in Australia, with an attractive narrow weave. The damage: £29.95 Red and green chevron design From SATS (www.satsfaction.com; 01285 841 542) The verdict: Supple leather with a strong brass buckle. Traditional gaucho style. Available in nine different lengths; made in Argentina. The damage: £28 Pale cowhide From Uber Polo (www.uberpolo.com; 01428 643 534) The verdict: Pale unisex belt with decorative stitching on the buckle and
60 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
strap. Stylish and flexible. The damage: £40
heavy, strong buckle and loops. Chunky. The damage: £39.95
contrasting pattern on the buckle. The damage: £40
Felipe Azul brown and black From Estribos (www.estribos.co.uk; 0208 398 2573) The verdict: An individual Greek key design with sturdy clasp. Masculine and functional. The damage: £30
Multicoloured summer belt From SATS (www.satsfaction.com; 01285 841 542) The verdict: Solid brass buckle 2.5 cm wide, ideal for narrow belt loops. A vibrant style. The damage: £28
Brightly coloured Guatemalan From Roxtons (www.roxtons.co.uk; 0845 260 6118) The verdict: Colourful fabric and leather design from Guatamala. Striking and summery. The damage: £35
Ollie Cristian Crudo, with diamond design From Estribos (www.estribos.co.uk; 020 8398 2573) The verdict: The embroidered rawhide makes for an extremely strong belt that will last years and years. Decorative yet robust. The damage: £30
Soft brown leather with pewter buckle featuring raised polo sticks From Rather Random (www.ratherrandom. co.uk; 01608 811903) The verdict: A stylish, classy belt, made in Argentina. The clasp will make you stand out from the crowd. Available in four lengths. The damage: £65
Embroidered leather with flower design From Uber Polo (www.uberpolo.com; 01428 643534) The verdict: Perfect for summer, available in a variety of colours. Girly. The damage: £40
Blythewood tan leather From RM Williams (www.rmwilliams.com.au; 020 7629 6222) The verdict: Soft leather men’s belt with
Black and white cowhide From Uber Polo (www.uberpolo.com; 01428 643534) The verdict: Strokeable cowhide with
Argentine leather in fuchsia From Roxtons (www.roxtons.co.uk; 0845 260 6118) The verdict: A feminine belt for all seasons, 3cm wide. Girly gaucho cool. The damage: £39 F
PTJune 2009 p60-61 Products YC JM MB
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 61
PTJune 2009 p62-63 B Review YC JM MB
The knowledge Book reviews
Celebrating India’s 61st Cavalry ★★★★★ Arthur Douglas-Nugent admires a weighty, colourful tribute to an extraordinary regiment ajestic, magnificent and massive are the adjectives that spring to mind as you first open the wonderful history of the 61st Cavalry entitled Horse Warriors by Henry Dallal. It is a coffee table book par excellence with a wealth of photographs and a minimum of text. A book to be picked up, if you are feeling strong enough, to be enjoyed for the superb photography and the truly amazing images of this unique regiment within the Indian Army. The Regiment was raised in 1953 at the express wish of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. It can, of course, trace its history back to the many famous regiments of Indian Cavalry, which were so tightly woven into the fabric of British India and which served the Crown so gallantly through many wars. In particular, remembered on Regimental Battle Honors Day are the Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers, which took part in the cavalry charge to capture Haifa from the Turks in the First World War. Quotations abound within the book but perhaps the one most likely to strike a chord with
our readership is “We play polo, we talk polo, we even dream polo”, followed by a section on the contribution of the 61st Cavalry and the President’s Bodyguard to polo in India. My own personal recollection goes back to 1973, when I travelled to India with the British army team and was wonderfully entertained when we played for the Sudan Cup, which remained firmly in the hands of the 61st Cavalry despite our gallant efforts.
Within the book, the spirit of the cavalryman and his love of the horse shine through in pictures and in words. The magnificent uniforms of the officers and soldiers and the accoutrements of the horses are displayed in full colour, often against the backdrop of the wonderful buildings and monuments which occur throughout India. This is a book to inspire and delight, keeping alive a magnificent heritage of great men. But perhaps the last word, as it does in the book, should go to the horses themselves, as written on their memorial: “Lest We Forget Them In Memory of All The Horses That Have Served The Regiment God Bless Their Souls” ◗ Horse Warriors: India’s 61st Cavalry by Henry Dallal is published in hardback, £49.99, 224 pages
Hold, count, repeat ★★★★ Yolanda Carslaw gets to grips with a manual that stretches the body from top to toe without unduly exercising the mind his pair of books by US sports injury consultant Brad Walker is aimed not only at career sportsmen and associated fitness professionals but also at ordinary fitness enthusiasts. While jargon is kept to a minimum and you don’t need a physiology degree to get to get the best from either of them, the more technical and niche of the two is The Anatomy of Sports Injuries. The Anatomy of Stretching has broader appeal, and it is on this title I’ll focus. The most daunting thing about Stretching is the lengthy contents page, but don’t be put off – turn straight to ‘How to use this book’, which explains the indexing system, drawings and
62 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
stretch descriptions. Walker goes to great lengths to make sure the reader understands what stretching is for, with informative sections on, for example, the benefits of stretching, how to stretch safely (“hold, count, repeat”) and types of stretch – from static to ballistic. He then embarks on 120 pages of stretches, each with a page to itself, sensibly divided into body areas – from neck and shoulders to shins, ankles and feet and named in logical fashion (“double heel drop calf stretch”; “rotating stomach stretch”). For each stretch, Walker tells readers which muscles are stretched and which injuries the stretch might benefit.
Mainstream sports that might benefit from each stretch are listed, too, although polo is not on Walker’s radar – but horsemen from any discipline will be glad to see an almighty 19 separate back stretches. ◗ The Anatomy of Stretching (£14.99, 176 pages) and The Anatony of Sports Injuries (£16.99, 258 pages), both by Brad Walker, are published by North Atlantic Books in paperback
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Promotional prices for booking before the season! Facilities at La Tarde: • 4 polo fields • Stick and ball cages. • Excellent self contained cottages for our guests to stay in with living rooms and satellite TV. • A brand new clubhouse with bar and restaurant • Swimming pools, gym, football ground, tennis and volley courts Only 45mins from down town Buenos Aires. Telephone: (0054) 11 4798-9231, (0054) 11 9 49864527 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.latardepolo.com.ar
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The knowledge Dates for the diary
What’s on in June
For comprehensive tournament listings and results, visit www.polotimes.co.uk
Principal fixtures at home and abroad UK highlights Test Matches Beaufort – International Test Match (Open), England vs Australasia: 20 June RCBPC – South Africa v England Arena Test Match: 18 June, evening Special events Hurlingham Park, London – Polo in the Park (18-goal): 5 to 6 June Clapham Common, London – Toast Festival Polo: 26 to 28 June 22-goal Guards – The Queen’s Cup (17-22): 19 May to 14 June Cowdray – Cowdray Park Gold Cup starts (Open/20-22): 23 June to 19 July 18-goal Cowdray – Duke of Sutherland’s Cup (15-18): 23 May to 12 June Cirencester – Cirencester Park 18 Goal Tournament (15-18): 16 to 28 June Beaufort – Argentine Club Cup (22-28): 23 to 27 June Medium-goal Beaufort – Arthur Lucas Cup (12-15): 19 May to 6 June Guards – Royal Windsor Cup (12-15): 31 May to 21 June
Saint-Tropez Polo Club – Saint-Tropez Polo Club 11th Anniversary Tournament (12-15): 12 to 21 June Saint-Tropez Polo Club – Russia Côte D'Azur Cup (8-12): 13 June Bagatelle polo field in Parc Bois de Boulogne, Paris – 115th Open de Paris (8-10): 6 to 28 June
Kari Polo Club – The Baraton Hungarian Open (6-goal): 12 to 14 June
Belgium Antwerp Polo Club – Scapa Sports Polo Trophy (10-goal): 8 to 21 June
Other dates for the diary
Italy Porto Cervo, Sardinia – Costa Smeralda Spring Gold Cup (15-goal): 24 May to 1 June
Germany Polo Club Schleswig Holstein – Rolex Classic 500: 19 to 21 June Hamburger Polo Club – Berenger Derby: 12 to 14 June
Singapore Singapore Polo Club – Singapore International Tournament: 10 to 14 June
Austria Polo Club Schloss Ebreichdorf, Vienna – Sal. Oppenheim Cup (12-14): 19 to 28 June Polo Club Schloss Ebreichdorf, Vienna – Slovakia Open (Open/6-goal): 5 to 7 June
10 June, Guards – Pony and embryo auction after Queen’s Cup semi-finals 23 June – exhibition of Nic Fiddian-Green’s horse sculptures opens at the Sladmore Gallery 27 June, Barbican Centre, London – UK debut of tango orchestra Café de los Maestros (tickets £15-£25)
Corrections In the May issue of Polo Times we incorrectly stated that the recently cancelled Laureus Polo Cup scheduled for June was to be played at Cheshire Polo Club. It was, in fact, due to be hosted at Ham Polo Club, as last year. Also in the May issue, we captioned a photograph on page 34 of SUPA National Schools Arena Champions Millfield School referring to Jeremy Barber as the team’s coach. He is their former coach. Their current coach is Roger Horne.
Fixtures Test Matches Beaufort International Test Match
Intermediate 10 Goal 20 June
High 22 Goal
Rutland High Sherriffs Cup
Low 8 Goal
Tidworth 9th Lancers Cup
Kirtlington Arlington Cup*
Cowdray Cowdray Park Gold Cup
23 June–19 July
Beaufort The Eduardo Rojas Lanusse 6–14 June
Low 4 Goal
Guards The Queen's Cup
19 May–14 June
Burningfold Burningfold 8 goal
Ascot Asian Art
RCBPC The Prince of Wales Trophy
Cheshire National 8 Goal
30 June–5 July
Beaufort Richard Underwood Cup
30 May–14 June
High 18 Goal
Coworth Tally Ho Challenge
Beaufort The Somerville L/Learmonth 20 Jun–12 July
Beaufort The Duke of Beaufort's Cup 30 June–12 July
Edgeworth Isa Trophy
Cambridge Greenheath Tournament
Cirencester Cirencester Park 18 Goal 16–28 June
Fifield Man Financial
Chester Midsummer Challenge
Cowdray Duke of Sutherland’s Cup
Guards The Meyado Archie David Cup 2–28 June
Druids Lodge Copra Cup*
Guards Caterham Cup
Haggis Farm Tanker Trophy
23 May–12 June
Other High Goal Beaufort The Argentine Club Cup
Inglesham Foxcote Cup and Audi
30 June–12 July
Hertfordshire The Woolmers Park Cup 20–21 June
Cirencester Cirencester 0-40 Goal
Inglesham Polistas Challenge Cup
Hurtwood Cody's Challenge
Guards Asia Cup
Kirtlington The Meyrick Cup*
Inglesham SATS Trophy
6–7 June 27–28 June
Medium 15 Goal
Kirtlington The Kirtlington
Inglesham Abel Business Consulting
Beaufort The Arthur Lucas Cup
19 May–6 June
RLS The Ginger Hunt Challenge*
Kirtlington The Groundsmans Trophy* 30 June–5 July
Low 6 Goal
Knepp Genitrix Vase25-Jun
Guards Royal Windsor Cup
31 May–21 June
Binfield Heath Phillimore Trophy
Lacey Green Summer Tournament
Guards Mountbatten Cup
31 May–21 June
Cheshire Wirral Ladies Cup*
New Forest Kuseyo Memorial Trophy 13–14 June
Hurtwood Boscawen Cup*
Druids Lodge SOS Trophy*
RLS The Birthday Trophy*
RCBPC The Eduardo Moore
23 Jun–5 July
Edgeworth 6 Goal Championship
RLS The Ian Potter Memorial Trophy*
RLS The Meltdown Challenge Cup
Fifield 4 - 6 Goal*
RLS The Midsummer Tournament*
Hertfordshire The San Antonio Trophy 6–7 June
Taunton Vale Friar Park Trophy*
Cirencester The Queen Mother Trophy 16 June–5 July
Inglesham Mid Summer Cup
Tidworth Queen's Royal Irish Hussars 6–7 June
Guards Phoenician Cup*
26 June–12 July
Kirtlington Dent Cup*
Tidworth 10th Hussars' Cup*
RCBPC The John Prestwich Trophy
26 May–7 June
Knepp Jendens Trophy
Low 3 Goal
Rugby The Spring Hill Bronze
Kirtlington Mackenzie Hill Cup*
Intermediate 12 Goal
RLS The Warwickshire Polo Centenary 3–7 June
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25–28 June 2–7 June
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Low 2 Goal
Beverley Milagro Cup
Binfield HeathBorough Marsh Farm
Beaufort The Novices Cup
20 June–5 July
Brightling The House Cup
Beverley John Nuttall Cup
Cambridge Greenheath Tournament
Binfield HeathCommittee Cup
Hertfordshire The Woolmers Park Cup 20–21 June
Burningfold Burnt Hill Cup
Knepp Knepp Low Goal Trophy
Cheshire Heaton Bowl*
Lacey Green The Baileys Trophy
Dedham ValeDedham Vale Plate
Lacey Green The Nenuphar Trophy
Dundee The 1974 Manyatta Mugs
Lacey Green Summer Tournament
Dundee The 3rd Century Dying Gaul
Longdole Emerging - One day
Dundee Lady Walker Ciggy Box
Longdole Emerging - One day
Edgeworth Edgeworth Challenge
Moyne Moyne Polo Midsummer
Epsom Fathers Day Cup
New Forest Fellowship Cup
Epsom Victory Day Cup
New Forest King Garns Cup
Fifield Challenge Cup*
RLS IXL Cup
Ham Mixed Doubles*
RLS The Equinox Special
Ham Petersham Bowl Intra-Club
Rugby The Turnock Rogers Cup
Ascot Vikings Trophy
Hertfordshire The San Antonio Trophy 6–7 June
Rugby The Why Not Cup
Hurtwood Roger Coupe Cup
Sussex The Sussex Summer Cup
Kirtlington Omi Garner*
Taunton ValeThe Friendship Cup*
Knepp Cambria Motors Tournament
Tidworth Mixed Doubles
Lacey Green The Baileys Trophy
Tidworth Grenadier Cup
Lacey Green The Nenuphar Trophy
Tidworth Queens Royal Lancers Cup 26–28 June
RLS The Stoneythorpe Trophy*
Vaux Park Lahore Trophy
RLS The RLS 2 Goal Tournament*
W Somerset Bilbrook Trophy
Rugby The Rose Cup
W Wycombe Chairman's Cup
Rutland Horsefeeds Bowl
W Wycombe Amateur Challenge Cup* 20–21 June
Rutland The Ranksborough Trophy
Rutland The Hartopp Trophy
Beaufort Young England Match
Suffolk Feedmark Flaming June
Schools & Universities
Sussex Comtec Challenge Trophy
Beaufort Prep Schools and Colts
Sussex Square Peg Challenge
Guards Oxford v Cambridge Old Blues 6 June
Tidworth Grenadier Cup
Guards Old Etonians v Old Harrovians 6 June
W Wycombe Chairman's Cup
Guards Eton v Harrow
White Rose The Summit Cup
Kirtlington The Varsity Match
Wicklow Stolen Spurs Cup
Longdole SUPA National Schools
Longdole SUPA National Schools
Low 1 Goal Beaufort 1 Goal
Low 0 Goal Ascot The Muriel Trophy
20 June 7 June
Longdole SUPA National Senior
Millfield National Girls' Schools
Offchurch Bury La Martina Uni Fest
Picture of the month On the first game of the Queens Cup on 19th May, Guillermo Terrera, Talandracas number 2, decided that it was quicker to get to the ball by foot, whilst his team mate, Lucas Monteverde, and Alejandro Muzzio and Piki Diaz Alberdi from oponents, Al Habtoor, preferred the conventional method. Photograph by Tony Ramirez – www.imagesofpolo.com
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 – 01435 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 St Albans – 07710 262435 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 Opening of the new clubhouse at Guards 26 April 2009 – Smith’s Lawn
Queen unveils clubhouse On a sunny spring Sunday in Windsor Great Park some 700 Guards members and guests gathered to watch The Queen open Guards Polo Club’s pride and joy of 2009 – its stylish new £2m clubhouse. The Queen arrived from church at the wheel of her Jaguar, while Prince Philip followed, driving his Land Rover. In front of the main entrance, where the statue of her husband on a polo pony now has pride of place, Her Majesty congratulated club officials – in particular Brian Stein, who headed up the Clubhouse Committee (see below) and whom she presented with his own car parking space at Guards as a gesture of thanks from the club. Club chairman Col Paul Belcher told the crowd: “It took four years to plan and 18 months to build. Four architects had a go at it. The first designed a building not unlike Sandhurst; the second design looked like a BMW showroom and the third was like a showroom with a showroom on top.” Finally architect Gareth Williams hit the spot with his elegant creation in modern colonial style, with plenty of light and a spacious terrace.
Her Majesty unveils a commemorative plaque at the main entrance
The Queen took a tour of the clubhouse then went to inspect La Martina’s new shop and headquarters a few steps away, and admire the Royal Box, which interior designers Etavonni have refurbished – including a surprisingly effecive move – framing the murals within.
Guards’s Charles Stisted
Guards colours, navy and maroon, feature on the carpet and chairs
From the mastermind of the project, Brian Stein
Photographs courtesy of Tony Ramirez
A team happy with their new kitchen
Kira Franck, Platina Tong, Brian Stein – chairman of the Guards Clubhouse Committee – and Irena Krunic
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“I was looking at a book of the 100 ‘best places in the world’, which included the Taj Mahal. To my surprise I saw Guards Polo Club there, as the most quintessential place in England, visited by royalty and captains of industry. The authors felt the clubhouse was simple and unpretentious – and this lack of pretension made England very special. “It was from this position we started. The new clubhouse needed to be functional, unpretentious and fit in with the landscape and the Royal Box. Utilitarian yet elegant, and slightly understated. I also wanted to achieve what happens at Wimbledon, where you come through from the front and see the hallowed ground before you – and to see the ground from any position inside. “It was important to have a central bar where people can sit facing each other, and part of the bar for players only [so they can get sustenance easily after games]. I also wanted nice toilets. Being in the [hospitality] business I see people spending money and effort on front of house but not always on bathrooms. These were part of the project. “The trophy cabinet has turned out especially well. Guards has trophies that go back to regimental times; beautiful silver which people never saw. You see the wonderful display cabinet as you come in. It’s well alarmed and protected! “I’m also pleased with the DC3 propeller [hanging from the ceiling], which I found in France. It’s fitting, because Smith’s Lawn was used as a military airfield in the Second World War.”
The Queen greets Guards polo manager Oliver Ellis
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Miami Beach World Cup, Florida
Beach babes and polo pros catch the eye in the USA Six 16-goal sides fought it out last month in the fifth annual Miami Beach World Cup, playing in an arena one-ninth of the size of a grass ground. Organisers ACT Productions and The Polo Life first brought polo to the South Florida sands in the USA’s first international contest of its kind back in 2005. It is now the world’s largest beach polo tournament and this year featured ladies’ favourite Nacho Figueras, playing for Team Black Watch, Mexican highgoal polo veteran Carlos Gracida, playing for The Villages, and Florida-based three-goal British player Dominic State, playing for Team ComcastFontainebleau. However, none of them could stop Team Bombay Sapphire emerging as the eventual victors of the three-day event. They beat Black Watch in the final, 7-6. Eight ladies’ teams, featuring players from seven countries, also got their own taste of polo on sand in the inaugural South Beach Women’s Tournament, played in two divisions before the start of the 16-goal men’s contest on Thursday 30 April. A La Martina fashion show and a VIP tent stocked full of gourmet food and cocktails kept guests entertained between games and both the men’s and the ladies’ events look set to be repeated again next year.
Team Comcast-Fontainebleau (in orange) vs Team Bombay Sapphire
Nespresso’s Sabine Schaffer (on pony), MVP Isabella Wolf (holding bridle) & Cariane Hoffie
British player Dominic State confessed to some minor lapses in concentration brought about by these scantily clad La Martina models
Kris Kampsen strikes the ball
Team Setai Hotel vs Team Audi
Photographs by courtesy of Yisell Muxo
Team Nespresso combined players from the US and Dubai and won Division A of the ladies’ comp
Winners, Team Bombay Sapphire (l-r: Luis Escobar, MVP John Gobin, coach Ricky Bostwick and Lance Vetter)
Joey Casey chases Canadian Brandon Phillips
Nacho Figueras (wearing black) drew a crowd wherever he went www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 67
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Out and about Cowdray Park members’ drinks party Ambersham, West Sussex
Celebrating the start of a busy new season Members of Cowdray Park Polo Club gathered in the evening sunshine at the newly-refurbished clubhouse at Ambersham to mark the start of the polo season during the May Day bank holiday weekend. Longtime Cowdray caterers Keith Hanson and his team handed round canapés and generous supplies of wine – poured to the max by enthusiastic staff. Among those to make an appearance, apart from the usual crowd of regulars such as former chairman David Jamison, were Lt Col Tex Pemberton from West Sussex County Council, and his wife. This year Ambersham’s sixth ground, closest to the village, is seeing its first action as a chukka ground. Tournaments in full swing in early May included the Barrett Cup (4-8) and the Tyro Cup (8-12), each with nine entries.
Julia Embiricos, the chairman’s wife Carolyn Butler and Adrian Kirby
Cowdray regular Alan Kent
South African Leroux Hendrix with Roddy Matthews and John Kent
Oldest member Kitty Morrison
Flaco and Santucho Gaztambide
“The Agent”, Robert Windle
Photographs by Clive Bennett
Antony Embiricos and Martin Brown
Club Chairman Robin Butler with Ravensbourne patron Adrian Kirby 68 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
Terry Hanlon, the “Voice of Polo”, talks to Lucas White
Polo manager Chris Bethell
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Audi Polo Challenge: Umbogo vs Audi 10 May 2009 – Coworth Park Polo Club
Showbiz stars watch Princes on flying form An exclusive gathering of 200 – with plenty of faces from the music and entertainment worlds – assembled at Coworth Park last month to watch Princes William and Harry in action with and against an impressive England contingent. In the fast-flowing chukkas – the first play of summer on the pristine main ground – the princes’ Umbogo side, in bright turquoise shirts, beat Audi 4-3. The princes chose the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, Sentebale and the Child Bereavement Charity as the event’s beneficiaries. Guests enjoyed Champagne and cocktails all afternoon, followed by a dinner masterminded by John Torode. Prince William and his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, chatted at length after the match to television presenter Ben Fogle. Other guests included Kirsty Gallacher and pop star Lemar. After dinner British band The Feeling got everyone dancing, and soul diva Beverley Knight and pop queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor took to the stage, too.
Jon Zammett and Robert Allton
Above: Brenden Cole and Zoe Hobbs. Left: Malcolm and Alix Borwick enjoy the after-party
James Beim (grey hat) rides the line on Coworth’s immaculate field
Photographs courtesy of Charlie Sainsbury-Place and JAB Promotions
Prince William, Mark Tomlinson, James Beim, Prince Harry, Jeremy Hicks, Freddie Horne, Malcolm Borwick, Luke Tomlinson and Mark Baldwin
Rick Parfitt Jnr, attending this year as a guest rather than a performer
Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon
The Feeling frontman Dan Gillespie Sells with soul star Beverley Knight
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Out and about Audi Polo Awards 18 May – Hilton Park Lane, London
Game honours greats at fourth year of ‘Oscars’ More than 350 players, followers, sponsors and industry insiders piled into a giant banqueting room at the Hilton Park Lane in May to find out who had won a volley of titles that honour the greatest polo successes of last season. In the fourth running of the event, guests witnessed the current stars at all levels of polo – although mostly, by necessity, those at the upper levels – climb onto the stage with comedian Rory Bremner and Australian presenter Hamish MacLachlan to receive prizes. The British, in general, were more talkative and forthcoming in their acceptance speeches than some of the Argentines. Highest prize tally went to James Beim, who scooped three awards (for a full list of winners see www.polotimes.co.uk). Meanwhile three influential figures were handed lifetime achievement awards: Mark Vestey, who made a highly entertaining speech following evocative pictures on big screens of the glory days of Stowell Park and Foxcote; Prince Philip, whose award was collected by Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers, and Cartier managing Director Arnaud Bamberger, whose company celebrates 25 years of internationals in 2009.
Victor Ludorum winners at 18-goal level Enigma (l-r): Malcolm Borwick, Jerome Wirth, Rob Archibald and James Beim
Sponsors included Caballus, Reschke Wines, Turtle Island, Thai Polo Club and Pommery. The Heaton-Ellis Trust was the charity of the night (see news pages).
Gonzalito Pieres, most outstanding high-goal player, with Johnny Lynn
Photographs by JAB Promotions
Female champion Tamara Vestey and compère Hamish McLachlan
The ‘dream team’, as voted by party-goers on the night (l-r): Miguel Novillo Astrada, Juan Martin Nero, Pablo MacDonough and Facundo Pieres – with Clare Milford Haven
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England manager Andrew Hine with wife Robyn
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Jamie Peel, Cartier MD Arnaud Bamberger, David Stirling and Juan Martin Nero
Juan Martin Nero, whose pony Noche won the Kerry Packer best high-goal pony award, with Ros Packer
James Beim, best British pro, and Jon Zammett
The lifetime achievement award-winners: Nick Colquhoun-Denvers collected Prince Philip’s
Jodie Kidd, resplendent and summery
Rory Bremner does a convincing Gordon Brown
Above: arena team Tschogan, with (l-r) Sebastian Dawney, Heiko Voelker and Jamie Le Hardy Left: newlyweds Lucy and Andrew Tucker, chef d’équipe for the England squad www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 71
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Out and about PJ’s start-of-season polo party, Chelsea – 18 May
Twenty years on and still the hottest ticket PJ’s Bar & Grill on London’s Fulham Road hosted its traditional annual start-ofseason polo party, now in its 20th year, on Monday 18 May, celebrating the restaurant’s milestone by welcoming a record number of guests. PJ’s polo-playing owner Brian Stein hosted between 350 and 400 patrons, players, fans, journalists and socialites over the course of the evening and the party, an early evening affair that was supposed to finish at 9pm, was still going strong at 10.30. “We had a fantastic response this year and it was a terrific evening,” said George Santos, one of Stein’s right-hand men at PJ’s. “When so many people were still lingering around after 9 o’clock, we took the party on to Brian Stein’s other Chelsea address, PJ’s sister restaurant, Cactus Blue. Around 180 guests made it there and then a hardy 120 or so went on for some late-night dancing at Kitts Nightclub in Sloane Square afterwards, where they met a contingent of revellers from the Audi Polo Awards.”
Four-goaler Jamie Morrison, Charlotte Radford, Erica Osterlund and Tom Fox-Davies – brother of patron Daniel
Iain Forbes-Cockell, aka The Major, and Jorge Santos
Brian Stein, Platina Tong and Broderick Munro-Wilson
Photographs by Edward Lloyd and www.cyberphotographer.com
Alice Fortescue and Polo in the Park’s Charlie Froggatt
Lucinda Watson, Will Randall Coath and Sophie Kyriazi
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Ben Duncan and Liz Brewer
Emma McCall from Horse & Hound
Ana Clara and Sebastian Amaya
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Amrita Bilinoria, Catherine Rhind and Lauren Du Plessis
Mark Parmenter, Simon Holland and Lesley and Tony Pidgley
The PJâ€™s bar team enjoy the party
Tom Morley and Jana Dowling
Hamish Macdonald, Purnita Paul-Choudhury, Charles Hancock and Renata Korczyk
Annie and Nick Colquhoun-Denvers
Charlie Wooldridge and Luke Melnyk
Oliver and Antonia Hancock
Oliver Taylor and Christine Adams
Kirsten de la Beck and Constantin Saxe-Weimar
Lauren Burligham, polo-playing party-fixer Royston Prisk, Callie Moore and Jack Kidd
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Out and about Team Australia in Jamaica 2009
‘Five go mad in the Caribbean’ – the book Enid Blyton wishes she wrote On the flight over, having finally cleared from my mind the drama of putting the May issue of Polo Times to press, I allowed myself to wonder what I could expect from the tour of Jamaica upon which I was about to embark. The situation reminded me of the numerous well-known touring anecdotes of Australian cricket legend David Boon – a hard playing, hard drinking Aussie who reportedly smashed Australia's traditional beer-drinking challenge on the flight from Sydney to London by downing 52 cans before the 1989 Ashes series. Would the five-strong Australian side I was about to spend the week with have any of the same inclinations and, if so, surely they couldn’t have Boony’s stamina, could they? The first few days certainly had me worried, fuelled as they were almost exclusively by a diet of Red Stripe, Red Bull and Grey Goose. But, after the Aussies’ victory in the first game and three consecutive nights out (which didn’t end for some team members until a boozy breakfast at 7am), exhaustion finally set in and we were mercifully granted a couple of nights off as the team prepared to get back in shape for the second match of the tour. The party began again in earnest after their second victory in Ocho Rios and culminated after the third in Kingston on Sunday 3 May.
Team Australia demonstrates how to “play hard” off the field as well as on (l-r: Ric McCarthy, Dick Doolin, Richard Rawlings and Matt O’Leary)
Hugh Evans shows his nerves
Photographs by James Mullan
The beautiful view from the frontage of the Sandals Ocho Rios hotel on the north coast of the island
Nice to know we were being looked after
74 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
Polo Contacts Worldwide founder Hugh Evans shows the Jamaicans how to throw a boomerang
PTJune 2009 p74-75 Jamaica social YC-MB
The Aussies (l-r: O’Leary, Doolin, Rawlings and McCarthy) hit Margaritaville, Montego Bay
The Australian entourage, plus selected members of the polo media
The stretch of beach behind the Sandals Beaches Resort in Negril on Jamaica’s west coast
Richard Rawlings and local girl Kelly Wates
Team Australia recorded a video diary of their escapades
Peculiar antics at an unsuspecting rum shop
A local polo fanatic gets a taste
They made it all happen: Hugh Evans and Karen Kranenburg
Ah, so this is where the dicks hang out – Dick, Ric and Richard (left to right) fertilise the Jamaican roadside
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 75
PTJune 2009 p76-77 Classifieds
LONGDOLE POLO CLUB • £550 for Membership paid before 1st May •
June Fixtures 4th - 7th 11th - 14th 13th 20th - 21st 18th - 21st 25th - 28th
Club Matches Knepp 2 Goal Trophy 0 – 2 Goal KCPC vs Cowdray 3 a-side Jendens 6 Goal 0 – 6 Goal Lorenz Consultancy Cup 0 – 4 Goal
Email email@example.com or call 01403 741007
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Longdole Polo Club, Birdlip, Gloucestershire, GL4 8LH
June Tournaments 6 - 7 June 20 - 21 June 27 June
Committee Cup -2 - 2 Goal Borough Marsh -4 - 0 Goal Phillimore Trophy 4 - 6 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”
76 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTJune 2009 p76-77 Classifieds
Get yourself noticed email: email@example.com
Our website gets over 50,000 hits a month
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 77
PTJune 2009 p78-79 Classifieds
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.
Tel: 01570 422250 Fax: 01570 423842 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
78 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
PTJune 2009 p78-79 Classifieds
CH GROUNDS MAINTENANCE LTD Specialists in the construction, maintenance and drainage of polo grounds.
CONSTRUCTION SAND SPREADING VERTI-DRAINING OVERSEEDING DRAINAGE & SPRAYING
CHESHAM OFFICE Tel: (01494) 758208 Fax: (01494) 758886 Email: email@example.com www.chgrounds.com DESTINATIONS
www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 79
PTJune 2009 p80-81 Classifieds
Classifieds PONIES 15HH MARE: Dark bay 5 yrs. Chukka level, needs finishing by experienced player. Tough and quick. Windsucks a bit. At grass in Northants. Owner now abroad. £800. Tel: 07968 268180. NOVICE, PATRON OR PONY CLUB: 5 great easy English TB horses aged 5 & 6, good natures, good looking, no vices, 15.1- 15.3hh, £3,750 - £5,250. Available to try at private ground, Oxfordshire. Call James 07800 517869. 2 SUPER POLO PONIES – HERTFORDSHIRE: 15.1hh strawberry roan mare, 16yrs beautifully schooled played up to 10 goal with 2 goal pro. Suit lady/PC home. £3,000. 15.1hh chestnut mare 16yrs, played up to 12 goal+2 seasons of PC. £2,500. Tel Vicky 07985 500118. WANTED ON LOAN: 5* star home offered for 14.2/15hh pony for 15 yr old son just starting to play. Kind, experienced pony to help him learn. References available. Situated in West Sussex. Tel 01403 864846/07824 807244 YOUNG ARGENTINE POLO PONIES: Fantastic young stock of Argentine ponies that are now ready to go on, all of great appearance and temperament. Sensible offer's only. Call us and come and see for yourself. Midhurst, West Sussex 07887 525497. 15.2HH POLO MARE NOW 19 BUT VERY STRONG: Stunning 15.2hh polo mare with vast amount of experience at med - low goal. Still playing, superb, very fast and strong, not a novice ride, only selling due to age. £1900. Call 07545 501763 (Wiltshire) 15.1HH ENGLISH TB BLACK MARE 8 YO: Very easy, snaffle mouth, kind nature, perfect manners, very good looking, quick. Plays 0 to 12 goal. Suit more lightweight player. Owner giving up so quick sale. £5,500. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07775 997908 (Kirtlington). STUNNING FRIENDLY 14.3 HH POLO PONY: Sadly for sale due to university. Has played juniors to B grade at polo cross for last 4yrs. Previously played up to 12 goal polo. Great acceleration and brakeseasy ride. Uncomplicated: good to box, shoe, clip, hack. Done some PC and jumping lessons. Sparky is a friendly horse both with people and other horses and a pleasure to own. Re advertised due to timewasters. Call 07921 222980 or 01905 841441 STUNNING BLACK ARGENTINE GELDING: 15.1HH Argentine gelding (Muneco). 8 yrs. Perfect hitting platform, strong ride-offs, very agile & responsive with a light mouth, loves to be schooled. Playing 8 and 2 goal £7,500. Also 15.2HH English TB mare 10yrs and two very promising first-season 4yr old geldings. Contact Kieran 07790 email@example.com 14.3HH BLACK 7YR PRETTY ARGENTINE MARE: Very easy, fast, quick on turns, brave in ride off, fit to play. 51” stick. Easy to box, shoe and clip. £7000. Call 07710 330 840. POLO PONIES AND YOUNG STOCK FOR SALE: We have a selection of polo ponies and young stock for sale to suit all abilities. All home bred out of ex-high goal mares by our half American Quarter Horse stallion. Please contact Gareth on 07930 991454 or firstname.lastname@example.org 2 YEAR OLD TB MARE WELL BRED £1000: Broken for polo. Very calm and quiet, to make 15.1hh. Could alternatively be brought on to stick and ball stage if required. Bay - Sire Bold Edge, Dam Baytown Rhapsody, Damsire Emperor Jones. Oxfordshire, please call 07800 517869.
80 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
GOOD PONIES AVAILABLE TO HIRE OR LEASE: Very nice ponies to suit all standards available from a chukka to a season and anything in between. For more information call Jemima on 07976 279161 or 01258 820495 OLD BUT GOOD!: 21yo bay mare, 14.3hh, ex high goal, fast, sharp, needs good rider but is great fun. £800 ono. 07970 697593 ZERO GOAL STRING: Priced for quick sale due to move abroad. No expense spared on these ponies. All sound-no vices, ready to play. £4-6k each. Tel: 01342 714920 TWO PLAYING PONIES: 15.1hh Argentine chestnut mare, white star, 8yrs. Well put together, quick and agile, uncomplicated and great fun to play- £8000. 14.3hh Argentine bay mare, white star, 10yrs. Quick with great handle- £6000. Both ideal for any level and could be played by anyone. Played 0-10 goal last season with a 0 goal player and are only for sale as a result of finishing uni and having to reduce my string. Call 07989 749835. 15.2HH 6-Y-O ARGENTINE BRED: Chestnut gelding. Played -2 to 3 goal. Excellent, easy to play and 100% sound. Ridden by 16y-o son. Suit PC player. £6,500. Tel: 07979 861559. POLO PONY/PONIES WANTED ON LOAN: 5* private home awaits well behaved low goal polo pony/ponies to supplement our current string. Call Jella 07796 445916 or 07917 899489. 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. 5yrs old gelding, 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. A 6yo bay mare, very fast and easy to do in everyway (£6250) and a 8yo black mare who is very straight forward (£5500).Based in Dorset. Tel: 07879 675546 2 FABULOUS CREDIT CRUNCH PONIES: Both play arena/grass. COMEDREJA 9yrs 15.1hh bay mare, played low/med goal. £8000 ono. BONITA 11yrs 15.1hh chestnut mare, played low/medium/high goal. £7000 ono. Quick sale wanted. Can't believe we are selling them, these special ponies took a long time to find. Tel: 01653 628253/07795 182272 or email: email@example.com 2 BOMBPROOF 6 YEAR OLD GELDINGS: Will suit anyone who wants nice easy uncomplicated horses to learn on or play - one black, one bay. £4,500 each. Oxford 07800 517869 BAY MARE POLO PONY: Easy, talented argentine mare for sale, near Hurtwood Park. 13 years old. Played low goal tournaments for last six years. Has hunted as well. £3750. Call 07917 631310. 14.3 POLO PONY, 7 YEARS - £3,500: Playing low goal. Diamante, ideal pony club or starter pony. Totally reliable and uncomplicated. Tel 07545 501763 (Wiltshire) TOP BLOODLINES - BROODMARES SALE/LEASE/LOAN: Small selection of broodmares with extremely good bloodlines - all ex high goal, some in foal to top argentine stallion. Others ready to cover now. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07970 697593 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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com LOVELY PONIES FOR SALE: Selection of wonderfully well bred ponies for sale for all levels, from low goal to high goal. Genuine ponies, all easy with no quirks! From £5,000 upwards. 07970 697593 www.eastwoodstud.com SITUATIONS
YOUNG HORSE TRAINER/GROOM: Required to start immediately on quality horses at a high goal yard north of Cowdray Park. Training ponies, stick & ball, farm chukkas under guidance of professional player. Accommodation provided. Call Clare 07957 587066 or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. TRANSPORT AND MACHINERY 6/8 HORSE POLO BOX: DAF 45-210 7.5tonne. R Reg. Excellent condition, lockers, cctv, washer/water tank, up-rated suspension, MOT & Tax. £15,000. e-mail: email@example.com or call 07775 806 333. LEYLAND ROADRUNNER 8.13: 1989 Ready to go, 12 months mot, 6 months tax, well maintained - new exhaust, battery, brakes etc. partitioned for four horses, non HGV. £3500 for quick sale, call Eric 07887 538843. MERCEDES BENZ 1720: 8-10 horsebox, H reg (1990), 17,000kg gross weight, 24ft bed. Blue cattle style lorry back. MOT to Jan 2010. £4500 ono. Call Ed Hitchman 0777 620 7961. HORSE BOX: Very tidy Leyland Daf. LGV 5 horse plus tack. Easy to drive, excellent condition. Low mileage (67Km) new battery, new tank, brakes, engine (2008). Isolator fitted. V reg. £7,000 priced to sell as surplus to requirements this season. Contact: 01306 627 255 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 31/05/09 and taxed to 31/7/09. £10,000 ono. Contact Edwin de Lisle - 01536 770585 / 07711 075 450 or firstname.lastname@example.org DRIVER AVAILABLE: Professional, freelance artic or rigid driver available, with polo pony experience. Clean LGV class C+E licence for 4 years. No accident
PTJune 2009 p80-81 Classifieds
Large selection of sticks, saddles, stick & kit bags, knee pads & other polo gear Call or email Jamie Gordon on:
077100 73910 email@example.com
claims. References available. Oxford/Henley based. Call Jonathan on 07810 772778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 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). POLO LORRY 56 PLATE MAN 4 STALL LOW MILES: 4 stall, George Smith lorry built as horsebox, in excellent condition, 42000km, full service history. Ready for work. May part exchange. Call Nicola at Stratford Horseboxes 07812 654736. Photos available. EQUIPMENT SCOREBOARDS AND CLOCKS ESPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR POLO: Outdoor and arena sizes. Fully electronic, displaying the time counting down, both scores and chukka number. Automatic bell/horn. Controlled wirelessly by a remote control you can even
wear on your arm. Visit www.SportingDesigns.co.uk or call +44 (0)7860 303217 VIRTUALLY UNUSED TERRA-VAC: Max 20 hours use. 1cu.m. Petrol driven, towed by a quad bike, tractor etc. Ideal for “pooper-scooping” paddocks, stables etc. List price - £2,995 + VAT. Asking price - £1,500. Please contact Anthony Lorenz on 07788 945180. WANTED SECOND HAND POLO BOOTS: Size 10. Good condition. ASAP. Tel: 01794 368183 LIVERY 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 01367 860207 or 07740 200507, email@example.com, www.asthallfarm.co.uk.
When you contact advertisers, please mention that you saw them in Polo Times www.polotimes.co.uk June 2009 81
PTJune 2009 p82 week-JM YC MB
The last word
in the life of. .
I’VE BEEN BACK IN THE UK since mid-April, helping look after Zacara’s horses and getting them ready for the season. Our patron Lyndon Lea is out for the time being with a broken collarbone and we’d heard the week previously that Javier [Novillo Astrada] wouldn’t be playing for the team this year because of illness. So it was a slightly unsettled and uncertain start to our preparations.
Photograph by Yolanda Carslaw
ON MONDAY 4 MAY, like any typical Monday, I went to the stables first thing, at about 7.30am. After checking on the horses and looking in on polo manager Sam Kirkpatrick and the grooms, I stick and balled a few ponies before shooting off to my new gym for an induction session about 20 minutes away at 11am. The stables were fairly quiet, as none of the other players were back in the UK at that stage, so I drove down to Cowdray in the afternoon to watch some 12goal and catch up with some friends. I stayed at my nearby home in Petworth that night, where I live with my girlfriend Lucy, who has just finished a degree at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. ON TUESDAY I was up early in order to get back over to the Zacara stables near Binfield in Berkshire by 8.30am. After checking the horses, I went through the horse lists for a practice that afternoon and then rode a pony recovering from injury. The grooms and I
82 June 2009 www.polotimes.co.uk
Three-goal Englishman Jamie Peel takes James Mullan behind the scenes at Zacara’s high-goal base as the team assembled in the UK last month for their start-of-season preparations played some of the 42 horses we have here in the practice at 3pm and then we had an asado together from 7ish. I went to bed about 10pm. I WAS UP AND GONE BY 6AM on Wednesday, as it was the only chance I would get that week to drive to Chipping Norton to check on my own horses. I looked at the young ones I am bringing on and met up with the vet to check everything was in order for the mares I am putting in foal this season. I then rode some of the young horses, had lunch with my Dad, and then
stick-and-balled the six main ponies in my string in the afternoon. I’m a massive Chelsea fan so drove back to Cowdray in time for the second leg of the Champions League semifinal. We lost to Barcelona right at the death, I sulked a bit and then finally went to bed. ON THURSDAY MORNING I was back at the Zacara stables first thing. Sam and I devised the horse list for another practice that afternoon. At 11am I went to the gym and then home for lunch. Tom Meyrick, Ignacio Toccalino and Santiago Laborde arrived and played with us at 3pm for the first time. They, along with Eduardo [Novillo Astrada] would be making up the team for the Queen’s Cup. Tom Meyrick will be playing Lydnon Lea’s ponies. I was obviously disappointed to miss out but my contract is being honoured and my job now is to help the team in whatever capacity I can, preparing the horses and playing with the team in practice chukkas as much as possible. After practice that afternoon I went back to my accommodation near Binfield and had an early night. FRIDAY BEGAN in the same vein as Thursday, with a trip to the stables and then a session at the gym, trying to make up for my recent lack of polo! I had five horses to stick and ball in the afternoon and then went home and out to dinner with Lucy and some friends we had staying from London. EDUARDO ARRIVED from Argentina on Saturday morning and I went to Polo Splice near Cowdray to collect our repaired sticks and get some equipment for the Zacara horses. We all played the team’s first practice chukkas at Zacara at 3pm together and then went back to the stables to sort out the horse lists for Sunday’s game. Lyndon [Lea] arrived that afternoon and stick and balled a couple of ponies (despite still being in a sling just five days earlier!). He seems to be recovering well. SUNDAY WAS MATCH DAY, but in the morning I played a practice at Lechuza Caracas with Miguel Novillo Astrada and Guillermo Caset on our spare horses. After an early lunch we all assembled back at Zacara to prepare for the game, the first match of the Les Lions Holyport Cup. The boys played well and beat Jean-Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco side, a team including the two 10-goal Pieres brothers. The horses were fantastic so it’s an encouraging start. After the game, I went back to the stables and checked over the horses with our team vet Shane and then drank maté with the grooms before heading back to Cowdray for an early night. F
Per Bound Cover Issue 5
Per Bound Cover Issue 5
Polo Times June 2009