HURLINGHAM 7th 8th & 9th June 2013
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04 | MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013
mint polo IN THE PARK 2013
08 10 12 17
Welcome from MINT Welcome from City Events Show Times Event Map
the world of polo 18 22 26 30 33 38
A New Kind of Polo History of Polo The Hurlingham Club The Hurlingham Polo Association Rules of Polo A-Z of Polo
Summer Calendar Coutts Polo at the Palace
LIFESTYLE 61 62 64 70 72 78 81 82
Polo for Her Polo for Him How to buy a Horse Travel: Urban Cowboy Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review Watches: Game time Shopping Village Autographs
teams 42 44 46 48 50 52 54
Meet the Teams MINT Team London Camino Real Team Buenos Aires City AM Team Abu Dhabi IG Team Sydney Mandarin Oriental Team Beijing Otkritie Team Moscow
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06 | MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013
Scan below for the MINT Polo in the Park app
feature | lifestyle
mint polo 2013 | 02
welcome | mint
welcome MINT partners would like to welcome you all to MINT Polo in the Park We at MINT are really proud to be sponsoring this premier event in the London social and sporting calendar for a fourth year and have been amazed at the success and growth it has achieved in such a short period. The team at MINT is known for their highly energised approach to business, as well as our reputation for dynamic solutions. For us to be able to take up the rare opportunity to link with a fresh and innovative event in the heart of London and help it grow over the long term makes great sense and mirrors our approach to MINT’s own areas of business. The idea of taking a traditional sport such as polo back to its home of Hurlingham Park is exciting in itself, but the prospect of introducing a new format of spectator friendly, high octane ‘Twenty20’ polo is something not to miss. Thanks to all of the team at City Events, all those who have sponsored the event, and of course, a huge thanks to all of our clients, many of whom are here to watch MINT Polo in the Park. We hope that all of you who visit this event really enjoy the show... and that MINT Team London can repeat their success of last year!
Richard Barnett and Michael Secretan MINT Partners
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feature | lifestyle
INSTITUTIONAL AGENCY BROKERAGE
mint polo 2013 | 02
welcome | city events
welcome from city events
On behalf of City Events and all our sponsors I am delighted to welcome you the 5th Annual MINT Polo in Park. As ever, we would like to give a particular mention to our Title Sponsors at MINT. Our original aim was to try to introduce as many people as possible to the joys of watching polo, with the hope that many would be encouraged to take up the game. Many low goal players start late in life, having not really ridden a horse before. Ham Polo Club, Royal Ascot Polo Club and The Royal Berkshire Polo club all offer excellent introductory courses and are less than 45 mins from London. I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to go and take a taster lesson. Like all the best things the basics can be mastered quickly leading to a lifetime in pursuit of improvement. Personally I have always thought that it is not until you have sat on a horse (even a wooden one!!) and attempted to hit a small ball with an odd shaped mallet that one gets to really appreciate the skill and finesse of the players that you will be watching this weekend. We had hoped to slowly build a landmark event in London and 2013 will also see our second event in the Middle East. â€œCoutts Polo at the Palaceâ€? will take place in the private gardens of the world renowned Emirates Place in Abu Dhabi in November. I hope this heralds the start of many new and exciting polo tournaments around the world for City Events. Have a fantastic day! Yours truly Daniel Fox-Davies Chairman, City Events Ltd
10 | MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013
welcome | show times
show times friday 7th June
City Friday - London’s Summer Office Party MINT Polo in the Park kicks off with ‘City Friday’ featuring three afternoon polo matches plus a fantastic variety of bars offering direct views out over the polo field, delicious street food outlets and a Luxury Shopping Village. Corporate guests can dine in style at the exclusive Hurlingham Club before heading across for an afternoon of high-octane polo with afternoon tea.
12 noon The Hurlingham Club and Park opens 2:45pm POLO MATCH Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Team Beijing v Camino Real Team Buenos Aires 4:30pm POLO MATCH Mint Team London v Otkritie Team Moscow 6:30pm POLO MATCH City AM Team Abu Dhabi v IG Team Sydney 8:30pm Last Orders at all bars 9:00pm Grounds Close
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show times | welcome
show times Saturday 8th June
Ladies Day - The Social Event of the Summer Sip Champagne and cocktails in the new Pommery Garden Bar or the Mahiki Coconut Bar. Relax in the Crown and Corgi or enjoy a tall glass of PIMMS at the PIMMS Bus and Garden. Delicious gourmet street food is served all day in the new KERB Food Market and this year Club Med KidsTM will provide a fully staffed area filled with inflatable toys, table football, a soft play centre and circus games.
12 noon The Hurlingham Park and Corporate Enclosure opens 2:45pm POLO MATCH 4:30pm POLO MATCH 6:30pm POLO MATCH 7:30pm Last Orders at all bars 8:00pm Grounds Close
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welcome | show times
show times Sunday 9th June
Finals Day â€“ A Fun Action-Packed Day for Everyone From 12pm to 1:30pm children can participate in a multitude of fun games organised on the polo field and the polo teams will also be available for autograph signing sessions. Polo fans can watch the Final and Plate Final and see the victors being presented with the MINT Trophy and the MINT Plate at the end of day prize giving ceremony.
12 noon The Hurlingham Park and Corporate Enclosure opens 2:30pm MINT Polo in the Park Plate Final 5:00pm MINT Polo in the Park Final 7:00pm Grounds Close
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FROM BALL AND STICK TO BUCKET AND SPADE You could soon be swapping Polo in the Park for Polo in the Pool on an all inclusive Club Med family getaway. And treating the family to a new holiday wardrobe with ÂŁ500 to spend at Petit Bateau.*
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map | welcome
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 17
the world of polo | about
a new kind of polo In a spectacular fusion of world class sport, luxurious hospitality and glamorous socialising, where better to spend a quintessentially British summer weekend than MINT Polo in the Park 2013
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about | the world of polo
othing says the arrival of summer quite like summer dresses, blazers and boat shoes, jugs of Pimms and polo action in glorious sunshine. For the past four years, the first weekend in June has seen Hurlingham Park packed with groups of friends and colleagues, families of all sizes and ages, and polo enthusiasts for the annual sporting, retail and gastronomic event that is MINT Polo in the Park and we predict that 2013 will be bigger and better. For the fifth consecutive year, guests are anticipating a delightful three-day extravaganza of world-class polo, exquisite hospitality and glorious social atmosphere, as the hallowed and historical turf of Hurlingham Park in Fulham thunders with the hooves of polo ponies and their talented riders. Hot on hooves of four wildly successful MINT Polo in the Park events, this year’s dates promise to be even better. The rule changes have been made to make the game easier to understand, and one of these is that teams no longer swap sides after every goal is scored. This rule was a hangover from the days
A delightful three-day extravaganza of world-class polo
when the game was played on uneven fields in India, where swapping sides was necessary to ensure that one team did not benefit from playing downhill for the entire game. The “suicide dash” is also new and refers to the ball being placed in the middle of the pitch, with both teams behind their goal line, turning the start of the game into a virtual race for the ball. A big “D” ring has also been set up outside of the goal line, and any goal scored from outside this ring is worth two points instead of one, encouraging dramatic shots at goal instead of simply dribbling the ball over the goal line. Watch teams from all around the world battling it out on the field to be crowned victors. The four corners of the globe are represented by IG Team Sydney, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Team Beijing, Otkritie Team Moscow, City AM Team Abu Dhabi and Camino Real Team Buenos Aires, plus the home team and 2012 Champions, MINT Team London. While some of you may well be polo aficionados, most of you will be equally interested in being kept fed and watered as you mingle and enjoy
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THE WORLD OF POLO | ABOUT
yourselves. Wander around with your glass of champagne courtesy of Pommery, refuel on goodies from the KERB Food Market, savour a cool pint from the Crown & Corgi or the Stella Artois Club House, but if it’s all getting too much just recline in a deckchair at the PIMMS Bus and Garden. Wandering away from the polo action, you’ll find yourself in the Luxury Shopping Village which will be a fashionista’s heaven. Featuring more than 40 exhibitors, browse everything from hats to Argentine leather goods and bespoke jewellery to pieces of art for on the spot purchases. ‘If you have the kids with you drop them off at Club Med KidsTM ; a secure, supervised area featuring a soft play centre, face painting, competitions and music.
Keep up to date with the latest MINT Polo in the Park information by following us on Facebook or Twitter: www.facebook.com/ polointhepark, Twitter: @PolointhePark
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walking with the wounded MINT Polo in the Park is delighted to announce that Walking with the Wounded will be the official charity for the 2013 event. Walking With The Wounded raises vital funds for the training of wounded service personnel so that they can find long-term employment and create secure futures for themselves and their families.
WHO’S THE BEST DRESSED? If you think you’re looking dapper enough to WIN a bottle of Pommery Champagne or a day at Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden, tweet a photo at @PolointhePark tagged #K&CBestDressed. The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine will announce the winner via the big screens, so keep your eyes peeled. Good luck!
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the world of polo | history
the game of kings Despite this nickname, polo is one of the only sports in the world to have spread with global appeal, regardless of geographical and political borders. From the first game in ancient Persia to the fifth annual MINT Polo in the Park event we look back at the sport’s distinguished history
lthough twenty-first century polo conjures up images of well-heeled, English society gatherings, immaculate whites, dashing Argentinean players, and afternoon teas, the game actually originated in China and Persia more than 2,000 years ago. A far cry from the carefully regulated and finely honed sport we enjoy today, the first recorded game took place in 600BC between the Turkomans and the Persians – and rather than a sport, was at first devised as a training game for cavalry units, particularly the King’s Guard. Indeed, to the warlike tribesmen, who played it with as many as 100 to a side (it’s almost unimaginable) it was a miniature battle. Over the years, the increasingly exciting and adrenaline-fuelled game of polo became an Iranian national sport played by nobility, and Persian literature and art offers a wealth of polo references. Ferdowsi (the famed Iranian poet historian) gives a number of accounts of royal polo tournaments in his 9th century epic, Shahnameh, including King Sapoor II, who learned to play polo at just seven years old!
The world soon discovered the appeal of polo as it passed from Persia to other parts of Asia including Japan, where a polo ground of 300 yards long was built in the former capital, Ispahan. The Japanese history books detail a revival of the game in later centuries, and in the intervening period the game had been adopted on the Indian subcontinent, gaining the nickname “The Sport of Kings”. And so it was in India that British tea
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INTERESTING FACTS The name ‘polo’ is said to have been derived from the Tibetan word ‘pulu’, meaning ball. Prince Charles played his first game in 1963 aged 15, in a team captained by The Duke of Edinburgh. This famous saying is inscribed on a stone tablet near a polo ground in Gilgit, Pakistan: “Let others play at other things. The king of games is still the game of kings.”
planters discovered polo in Manipur in the 1850s. They founded the world’s first polo club at Silchar, west of Manipur, and other clubs soon followed. Today, the oldest in the world is the Calcutta Polo Club, which was founded in 1862 by two British soldiers, Captain Robert Stewart and Major General Joe Shearer. Malta followed in 1868, as soldiers and naval officers stopped off there on their way home from India. In 1869, Edward ‘Chicken’ Hartopp, of the 10th Hussars, read an account of the game in The Field magazine while stationed at Aldershot, and planned a game on a hastily rolled Hounslow Heath, where ten rules were also quickly assembled. But it was John Watson (1856–1908) of the 13th Hussars, who formulated the first real rules of the game in India in the 1870s. Over the years, various tweaks to the game have been made worldwide; the nineteenth century saw the introduction of handicaps, for example. Now a worldwide sport, polo continues to be played in more than 80 countries. It was included as an Olympic Sport between 1900 and 1939 and has recently been re-awarded this status by the International Olympic Committee.
The British are generally credited with spreading polo worldwide during the late nineteenth century after the 10th Hussars at Aldershot introduced polo to England in 1834. The establishment of polo clubs throughout England and Western Europe followed after the formal codification of rules; the UK governing body is the Hurlingham Polo Association, which drew up the first set of formal British rules in 1874.
history | the world of polo
The POLO Timeline
600bc 600bc The first recorded game took place between the Turkomans and Persians (the Turkomans won)
4th century ad King Sapoor II of Persia learned to play polo, aged seven
7th CENTURY AD Polo spreads from China to Japan
16th century ad A polo ground (300 yards long and with goal posts 8 yards apart) was built at Ispahan, then the capital of Persia, by Shah Abbas the Great. The Moguls were largely responsible for taking the game from Persia to the east and by the sixteenth century the Emperor Babur had established it in India. Polo was revived in Japan by the 8th Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751) and was played until the early twentieth century. It was the favourite sport of the last Shogun who surrendered power to the Emperor in 1868
1850S 1862 The first polo club in the world was formed by British tea planters at Silchar, west of Manipur. Calcutta Polo Club, the oldest existing polo club, was founded
1868 Malta Polo Club was founded, due mainly to army and naval officers stopping off there on their way home from India
1872 The polo club at Monmouthshire was founded by Capt. Francis ‘Tip’ Herbert (1845 - 1922), 7th Lancers, at his brother’s seat, Clytha Park, near Abergavenny. All Ireland Polo Club was also founded in 1872 by Horace Rochfort of Clogrenane, Co. Carlow
1869 Edward ‘Chicken’ Hartopp, 10th Hussars, read an account of the game in The Field, while stationed at Aldershot, and, with brother officers, organised the first game – known then as “hockey on horseback”
1874 Polo was established at Hurlingham
1875 The first official match in Argentina took place on 3 September, where the game had been taken by English and Irish engineers and ranchers
British tea planters discovered the game in Manipur (Munipoor) on the Burmese border with India
1876 Lt. Col. Thomas St. Quintin, 10th Hussars, introduced the game to Australia – he was the “Father of Australian Polo” and two of his brothers stayed on there as ranchers and helped the game to develop. In the same year, polo was introduced to the USA by James Gordon Bennett Jr, who had seen the game at Hurlingham while on a visit to England
1888 Handicaps were introduced in America
1895 The height for polo ponies was raised from 14 hands to 14.2 hands
1910 Handicaps were introduced in England and India
1919 Height restrictions on polo ponies were abolished
2009 The inaugural MINT Polo In The Park tournament takes place in London
Today, polo is played in 80 countries worldwide. It was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1939 and has now been recognised again by the International Olympic Committee
Source: Hurlingham Polo Association, www.hpa-polo.co.uk
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the world of polo | hurlingham
26 | MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013
hurlingham | the world of polo
bringing polo home Discover more about the unique history of the home of polo over the past 1,000 years
urlingham was the cradle and home of English polo and for sixty-five years, the game flourished there and made the name of the Club famous all over the polo-playing world. A favourite resort during the summer season, thousands flocked to Hurlingham to watch the more important matches.” This quote, taken from The Hurlingham Club Captain Taprell Dorling (1953) perfectly sums up the importance and relevance of The Hurlingham Club in the history of British polo; and in an interesting coincidence, it was our own ‘Team GB’ that won gold in the last London Olympic polo battle (1908), which was also played at The Hurlingham Club. Although it was widely considered to be the home of polo, the sport was not played at the Club between 1939 and 2009, when MINT Polo in the Park finally brought the game back home. We find out more…
THE HURLINGHAM CLUB
From before 1066 the lands of the Hurlingham Club belonged to the Bishops of London, who had their summer residence at Fulham Palace. By the mid-eighteenth century the landscape was one of gardens and in 1760 Dr William Cadogan (a famous physician), leased nine acres for a ‘cottage’ – the core of the present Hurlingham House. In 1797 the lease was re-granted to John Ellis who, in 1800, acquired
the freehold with an additional eleven acres. Mr Ellis employed the architect George Byfield with landscape advice from Humphrey Repton to enlarge the ‘cottage’ into the neo-classic mansion as we see it today. In 1807 the estate was sold to the 3rd Earl of Egremont, a magnificent patron of the Arts and the Turf, who in 1820, sold it on to Mr John Horsley Palmer, who later became Governor of the Bank of England. He added a further sixteen acres.The last private owner of Hurlingham from 1860 was Richard Naylor, a great Victorian capitalist.
“Nowhere is a more picturesque gathering of beautiful women and handsome men to be seen than at Hurlingham on a fine afternoon during the London season.”
In 1867 Mr Frank Heathcote obtained the leave of Mr. Naylor to promote pigeon shooting matches at Hurlingham. His next step was the formation of the Hurlingham Club “as an agreeable country resort”. The Club leased the estate from Mr.Naylor in 1869 and in 1874 acquired the freehold. Polo was brought to England in 1869. Owing largely to the initiative of one of the Club’s first Trustees, Lord De L’Isle and Dudley, the game was established at Hurlingham in 1874, five years after the first official game of polo in England between the 9th Lancers and the 10th Hussars on Hounslow Heath. The name “Hurlingham” then became synonymous with polo and for 65 years The Hurlingham Club was the headquarters for polo for the British Empire.
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the world of polo | hurlingham
Hurlingham became the undisputed home of polo after having hosted the 1908 London Olympics Polo final (when England won the gold medal), and the prestigious Westchester Cup between England and USA from 1910 to 1939. But with the outbreak of the Second World War, the polo grounds – that once attracted 10,000 spectators – were converted into allotments, and the last polo event took place at Hurlingham in 1939 between The Jaguars and The Milers. Notably, the name of Hurlingham lived on, lending its name to the Hurlingham Polo Association. Seventy years on, and over 80% of polo playing countries play under the rules of the HPA.
WARS & SURVIVAL
During the Great War of 1914-18, Yeomanry and an R.N.A.S. balloon detachment were based at the Club and in WWII, an anti-aircraft battery and balloon barrage unit were located in the same place.The main polo ground was turned into allotments for growing vegetables. The estate withstood twenty-seven bombs and a landmine, with serious damage to the Clubhouse.
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MAKE WAY The end of polo at Hurlingham stimulated other activities. Tennis flourished and a cricket field, formerly the pony exercise track, was opened in 1951. The Croquet Association had its headquarters here from 1959 to 2002 and top-ranking international competitions were regularly held on the lawns.
After the war both the polo grounds were compulsorily purchased by the London County Council and became a recreation ground – Hurlingham Park. The club was left with the residue of the estate (about 42 acres) as it is today.
RESTORATION & IMPROVEMENTS
A scheme of modernisation between 1989-1992 included the rebuilding of the conservatory on the original site of Byfield’s 1798 conservatory; new bars in the Clubhouse and a modern fitness centre with a half-size Olympic indoor pool and gymnasium. Work initiated in 2002-
2003 introduced covered tennis courts and the reconstruction of the East Wing. The younger members benefited in 2008 from an all-weather multiuse sports pitch and in the same year, City Events Limited signed an exclusive deal to reinstate the grounds at Hurlingham Park and bring polo back to its British roots. It is with thanks to City Events that the magnificent game of polo, in whatever form, is being revived and lives on again at the real home of the sport, The Hurlingham Club – a very important year in polo history. For more information, visit www.hurlinghamclub.org.uk
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the world of polo | hpa
guardians of the game In every sport there are those who regulate play. From rugbyâ€™s RFU to FIFA in football, governing bodies keep a steady hand on sportâ€™s rudder. Polo is no different, and the HPA has been presiding over its affairs since the very first chukka
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hpa | the world of polo
he Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) is the governing body for polo in the UK and Ireland. It has issued the rules and regulations by which the game of polo must be played since they made the first set of English grass polo rules way back in 1875 – the HPA is the ‘grandfather’ of modern polo. The first ever match played at Hurlingham grounds was in 1874 and it became the national headquarters of the sport. After 60 years of polo – encompassing the First World War – the grounds at Hurlingham were turned over for agricultural use. Then, following the outbreak of World War II, no polo was played again until 1952, when the HPA reclaimed the land and re-laid the pitches. The HPA, like most governing bodies, has a focus to promote public interest in the sport, as well as developing the sport from élite to grass roots levels. One of the key ways in which the HPA supports the growth of the game is through its Instructor and Coach qualifications. These allow polo enthusiasts to coach players of abilities from 0–3 goals and 3+ goals respectively, and are crucial to polo’s continued development. They are also responsible for the organising of fixtures lists and the handicapping of anyone playing within its jurisdiction. Grass roots polo starts in the Pony Club and Junior HPA. It comes as no surprise then, that the majority of the 50 best players in the UK have previously played Pony Club Polo, as did all the
INTERESTING FACTS The HPA is currently made up of:
outdoor clubs in the UK
outdoor clubs in Ireland
arena clubs in the UK & Ireland
associations in the UK & Ireland
overseas clubs and associations
England team in the 2010 Coronation Cup, and there are many up-and-coming British players going through the ranks of the Pony Club and Junior HPA. Promoting play across the nation, the HPA gives grants to the Armed Forces, the Pony Club and schools and universities for the encouragement of polo, and to clubs for improvement of their grounds. A bursary scheme is also run by the HPA for players of varying standards and ages to play overseas. Individuals who are full playing members of the clubs in the UK or Ireland are automatically associate members of the HPA. They are subject to the rules and regulations of the HPA as a player and horse-owner, and are allocated a handicap according to their abilities. An individual is unable to play at any affiliated club without being a member of the HPA. The HPA releases an annual yearbook, which contains clubs, their players and also future fixtures and tournaments. The arena handbook is available from any arena-playing club, and rules are available to download on the website. For those interested in finding out more about what can sometimes be considered a confusing and complex sport, the HPA produces a quarterly publication called Hurlingham Polo Association Magazine. Featuring articles on who to watch, the latest news and gossip from the circuit, event calendars and player profiles, the title is widely considered essential reading for any polo enthusiast, whether you’re totally new to the game, an enthusiastic spectator, a budding amateur or a seasoned professional. For more information, go to the HPA’s website at www.hpa-polo.co.uk
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 31
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old & new | the world of polo
THE ‘OLD’ RULES
t seems fitting that as a nation of polo enthusiasts, the earliest official rules of polo originate from the Hurlingham Polo Club, here in England, in 1876. Testament to the popularity of the game, it was just three years later that those of the Westchester Polo Club in Rhode Island, America, asked the British officers to write a definitive version of the Hurlingham Rules and corresponding club rules. These rules are still valid today. In addition, it was the Americans who devised the handicap system, which was adopted by Britain and India in 1910. Polo can be played on practically any level field of sufficient size and the official international dimensions of a polo field, which are 166 yards wide by 300 yards long. However, match organisers are increasingly allowing play on smaller fields, as it is easier for spectators to watch. The goal has uprights but no crossbar, and is 8 yards wide.
Each team consists of four players. Number 3 is the captain, who commands the team. Number 4 (also known as ‘back’) is responsible for defence, while Number 1 and Number 2 are attackers.
Depending on aptitude, each polo player has a handicap ranging from -2 to +10. While the entry level of -2 denotes a beginner, around 90% of all polo players have handicaps in the range 0 to +2. The national polo associations review and assign player’s handicap annually, according to success in the tournaments. When a team is
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put together, the handicaps of the four individual players are combined to give the team figure. Tournaments are advertised in various classes of play (low-, medium- or high-goal), and the team handicaps of the competitors must correspond.
A polo match consists of four, five or six time periods known as chukkas. In Europe, a match normally consists of four chukkas, each lasting 7.5 minutes. The last chukka of the game lasts 7 minutes. A pony can be played in no more than two chukkas and not in consecutive chukkas. At half-time there is a 5-10 minute break, during which the public are asked to ‘tread in’ the divots of turf created by the ponies’ hooves.
Direction of Play
Whenever a goal is scored, the direction of play switches. This is to avoid match conditions putting one team at a disadvantage.
Line of the ball
The fundamental rule of polo is known as ‘Right of Way’ (ROW). Whenever the ball is in play, a ROW is deemed to be held by the player who is established on, or at the closest angle to, the Line of the Ball (LOB = the extended path along which the ball has travelled, or is travelling). No other player may enter
or cross this ROW. The player with ROW can lose this by being ‘ridden off ’ or ‘hooked’. ‘Hooking’ means using the stick to prevent the other player from retrieving or striking the ball. This is done by blocking the opponent’s stick during a swing or while the other player is dribbling the ball. It is forbidden to hook over the body of the opponent’s pony. ‘Riding Off ’ means trying to force an opponent off course using a kind of body check, so that the player can no longer hit the ball. This is allowed, provided it takes place parallel, and not at an angle, to the player who has ROW.
In principle the ball is tapped on the right side of the pony, known as the ‘offside’. Tapping takes place in a forward or backward direction. For a ‘nearside’ play, which takes place on the pony’s left side, the player has to twist in the saddle and, holding the stick in his right hand, bring it to the other side of the pony. Nearside forehand and nearside backhand are the corresponding forward and backward plays. ‘Under the neck’ refers to strokes performed in front of the pony. Among the trickiest manoeuvres are ‘round-the-tail’ strokes, performed to the rear of the horse.
The Polo Pony
The present-day polo pony (height 14.5-16 hands, or 155-160cm)
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the world of polo | old & new
far exceeds pony height. It traces its pedigree back to the crossing of the original Himalayan mountain ponies, the Manipuris of Assam, with English or American thoroughbreds, Arabians and others, especially South American stud horses. The Argentinian polo breed still dominates. These horses are masters of the sudden burst of speed. Brave and pugnacious, their agility and alertness are unrivalled.
Equipment and Tack
Each player carries a mallet around 52 inches long. The mallet is usually made from a bamboo cane, with a tapered ‘cigar’ head, commonly of Tipuana Blanca wood. The handle is fitted with a fabric sling, which is wrapped round the hand for stability
during tapping. All players must wear a helmet, preferably with face guard. Leather knee guards are also required. The legs of the ponies themselves are protected from blows and flying balls by soft bandages or wraps. Their tails are tied to prevent entanglement with the mallet. Light saddles without knee rolls are used and tack consists of a double rein. The breast girth and standing martingale prevent the saddle from slipping and guarantee support for the rider.
THE ‘NEW’ RULES
Changes have been made to the game in order to create a much more spectator friendly game for those watching at the side of the polo ground, as well as for those spectators around the globe, who are viewing the event via television. These new rules have proven popular with both players and spectators during the last three MINT Polo in the Park events and mark the beginning of a new era in polo.
The Pitch and the ‘D’ Ring
At MINT Polo in the Park, the pitch is no longer made from four sides it’s octagonal. The eight-sided pitch is a shorter length, 250 yards, and a narrower width of 120 yards. The corners have also been cropped to keep the ball in play for longer. The goal posts remain 8 yards apart and there is still a centre line with a starting marker in the middle of it. The difference here is that the penalty line markers have been removed and replaced with a ‘D’ ring, as one might find in hockey. A goal scored inside the ‘D’ ring is rewarded with 1 goal and a goal scored outside is awarded 2 goals.
Instead of the penalty lines, which are traditionally used according to the severity of the penalty, a new ‘Yellow Card’ system is used in
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combination with a ‘Sin Bin’ box besides the pitch. A penalty is given to any player causing a ‘Foul’. A single or two yellow cards during the game will result in the player being sent to the ‘Sin Bin’ where the player has to dismount for a 60 second period of play before being allowed to rejoin the game.
Helmets, face guards, mallets, kneepads and other equipment which is in direct contact with the polo pony remains much the same. For the player, the traditional white polo breeches have been replaced with colour co-ordinating polo jeans. The polo ball has changed colour from white to orange.
The rather complicated rule of changing ends every time a goal is scored has been replaced with the new rule of changing ends after each half of the game.
Usually the game is monitored by 1 or 2 mounted umpires alongside a single sideline umpire, but the new rules boast advanced judgement techniques. With the backup use of television playback, umpires will have access to close-ups.
Spectators watching the game ‘live’ will be able to view detail and slow motion playback, on a huge television screen.
Goal hit outs
Players will hit out after a goal when the umpires call play.
Ball out of play
If the ball goes out of play there will be a throw-in. However if a player is deemed to have deliberately hit the ball out of play, a spot hit will be awarded to the opposing team.
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the world of polo | a-z
the a-z of polo Absorb yourself in the game of kings, and follow the match to the last detail with our ultimate polo glossary
Claims by players for a foul, commonly expressed by the raising of sticks above their heads.
The number 4 in a polo team is invariably referred to as the ‘Back’ rather than by his number.
A backhand swing, changing the direction of play.
White and made of plastic or wood, weighing 4.5 oz and is 3.5 inches in diameter.
BELL OR HOOTER
more than 45 degrees; the faster the pony travels, the smaller the angle must be.
c CHECK & TURN
Slowing a pony down, to turn safely.
There are six Chukkas (periods) in high handicap matches, each lasting 7 minutes plus up to 30 seconds of overtime. If during the extra 30 seconds, the ball hits the sideboards or goes out of bounds, or if the umpire blows his whistle for a foul, the chukka is over. There is no overtime at the end of the final chukka unless the score is tied.
Located off the side of the field and rung by the timekeeper to inform umpires when 7 minutes of play in a chukka have lapsed.
Turf kicked up by ponies’ hooves.
The back lines of the polo pitch. Teams change ends, i.e. switch the halves they defend, each time a goal is scored in order to equalise wind and turf conditions.
When the umpire starts or resumes play by rolling the ball down the centre of a line-up of players.
A player is permitted to ride off another to spoil his shot or to remove him away from the play. The angle of contact must be no
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Hard helmets for players are compulsory. Face-guards, knee pads, whips and spurs are optional.
A full size polo field is 300 yards by 160 yards. The goal posts, which collapse on severe impact, are set 8 yards apart.
An unofficial goal observer appointed to signal a goal (flag over head) or no-goal (flag under waist).
Any time the ball fully crosses (at any height) the line between the goal posts, it is a goal regardless of who knocks it through, including the pony.
All players are rated on a scale of -2 to 10 (the higher the better) and this refers to their overall playing ability. A player’s horsemanship, range of strokes, speed of play, game and sense are the factors considered in determining handicap level. The team handicap is the sum of its players’ handicaps. In handicap matches of six chukkas, the team with the lower handicap is awarded the difference in goals at the start of the game. For matches other than six chukkas, the side with the lower
a-z | the world of polo
handicap begins with a number of goals start according to the following formula. The difference in the teams’ handicaps is multiplied by the number of chukkas to be played and then divided by six. Fractions count as half a goal. For example, a 26-goal team would give a 24-goal team a 1.5 goal start in a four-chukka match.
Teams with a total handicap from 17-24 goals. It is the highest level of official tournament polo played in the United Kingdom.
A professional player.
The move whereby a player uses their mallet to block or interfere with an opponent’s swing by hooking the mallet of the other player with their own mallet. A player may only hook if he/she is on the side where the swing is being made or directly in front or behind an opponent.
HPA (THE HURLINGHAM POLO ASSOCIATION)
This is the governing body of the game in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Its governing officials are called stewards. They should not be confused with club stewards who are more important and who guide and advise members while at the club.
Teams with a total handicap of 8-12 goals.
3-minute long rest periods between chukkas. Half-time is 5 minutes.
Goal judges are positioned behind each goal to signal when a goal has
been scored. Hard hats must be worn for protection, of course!
Should a team hit the ball over the opponent’s back line during an attack, the defending team resumes the game with a free hit from the back line where the ball went over (equivalent to a goal kick in football).
l LINE OF THE BALL
‘Crossing the line’ is the most frequent foul in polo. The line of the ball, namely the imaginary line along which the ball travels, represents a right of way for the player following nearest that line. There are strict rules governing opponents’ entry in to the right of way in the interest of safety.
Teams with a total handicap of 4-8 goals.
The shaft is made from bamboo cane or graphite composite and the head from a hard wood. The wide face of the stick head is used to strike the ball. Polo sticks range in length according to the height of the pony played and extend from 48-54 inches.
Teams with a total handicap of 12-15 goals.
A shot at the ball by an inexpert player, when the ball is very close to the legs of the pony or under the belly of the pony. So called because a high degree of skill and timing is required for both shots, if the legs of the pony are to avoid being struck and in turn injured. It is assumed
that only millionaires with lots of ponies can afford to have a pony out of play due to injury.
The left-hand side of the pony.
A ball which is hit under the pony’s neck.
When a ball goes over the sideboards, it is considered out-ofbounds. The umpire throws the ball in between the two teams lined up at the point at which it left the field of play.
The right-hand side of the pony.
A financially unchallenged amateur player who pays to put a team together, which is usually made up of at least two professionals and is normally named after the patron’s house or company.
A free hit is awarded when a foul is committed. The hit is taken from a set distance, dependent on the severity of the offence. Penalties and distance are as follows: P1: Automatic goal P2: from 30 yards to an open goal P3: from 40 yards to an open goal P4: from 60 yards to a defended goal P5: from anywhere on the ground P5B: from the centre of the ground programme.
Although termed ‘ponies’ they are in fact horses and above 14.2 hands. Most are of the Argentine
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 39
the world of polo | a-z
Criollo breed, or pure or cross thoroughbreds. Their main qualities are speed and stamina, and temperaments that are amenable to the rigours of the game. There is no height limit for the ponies, although most are between 15 and 15.3 hands. The pony can account for as much as 80 percent of overall performance.
Each of the four team members plays a different position. Since polo is such a fluid game, players momentarily change positions, but will try to return to their original assignment. No.1: essentially a goal striker No.2: also a forward, but plays harder, especially on defence No.3: the pivotal player between offence and defence who tries to turn all plays to offence. He is usually the highest rated player on the team No.4: is the most defensive player whose primary responsibility is to protect the goal area.
Two riders may make contact and push each other off the line to prevent the other from striking the ball. It is primarily intended for the ponies to do the pushing, but a player is allowed to use his body, but not his elbows.
A player or pony who performs well above expectation.
s SAFETY (Penalty 6)
Is awarded when a defending player hits the ball over his own backline. The free shot is taken 60 yards out from the backline, opposite the point where the ball went over. Like a corner in football. No defender can be nearer than 30 yards from the ball when it is played.
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These are 9-11 inch high (optional) vertical boards placed along the sidelines only.
Hitting the ball behind and under the ponyâ€™s rump.
TAKE HIM OUT
An exhortation to a team-mate to ride off an opponent to take him away from the play.
The referee sitting at the sidelines who will arbitrate, if the two mounted umpires on the field are unable to agree a foul.
Called by an umpire when a foul is committed, an accident occurs, or at his discretion. A player may call time-out if he has broken a key piece of tack or is injured. Time-out is not permitted for changing ponies or for replacing a broken stick, although a player may do so at any time.
The replacement, at half-time, of divots of turf by the spectators.
Two mounted umpires (one for each side of the field).
The team patron.
Rubber boots ideal for treading-in the divots during wet weather.
Bandages or leg wraps used on ponies for support and protection.
x XTRA TIME
In the event of a tied score at the end of the final chukka, there will be a five minute break to allow players to rest and change to a fresh pony before beginning a sudden death chukka. The first team to score wins. In extra time, the goal posts move an extra 8 yards apart.
y YOUR LINE
These words are often heard shouted by players to a team-mate indicating that he has, rather than an opponent, the principal right of way to the ball.
z ZONE (SAFETY)
The area around the pitch, out of bounds for spectators during play.
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teams | world map
meet THE TEAMS
MINT team LONDON
camino real team buenos aires
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world map | teams
otkritie team moscow
mandarin oriental HYDE PARK team beijing
city am team abu dhabi
United Arab Emirates
IG team SYDNEY
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teams | london
team london As one of the most glamorous days in the English calendar, the pressure is on for the home team. Playing on home turf, they will no doubt have the biggest cheers to spur them on as they face old-time rivals, the Argentines, in a showstopping battle of wills.
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london | teams
Nick Britten-Long was born in Nairobi to a third generation Kenya family and returned to the UK at a young age. Nick started playing whilst at Stowe School and with his father, Richard, at the Beaufort Polo Club. Nick, since the retirement of his father, runs the Laird Polo Team, which has over the years successfully competed in all main UK tournaments from low goal to high goal. Through polo, Nick has been fortunate enough to have played in many wonderful places such as Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy and South Africa. When not playing polo, Nick works full time as a director in a private commercial real estate company based in London. He has a handicap of two.
Londoner George Meyrick (25) holds a handicap of five and started playing polo at just seven-years-old. George is a member of the Guards Polo club where he plays during the summer. He keeps thirty ponies in England and twenty ponies in Argentina, including his favourite, Acorn. His career highlights include winning the Queen’s Cup playing for Dubai. During winter, Meyrick plays in India and Argentina, which is his favourite location to play in.
Oliver Hipwood (38), nicknamed ‘OJ’ on the field, harks from Englefield Green, Surrey and has won high goal competitions including the Gold Cup in 1995 playing for Ellerston and the Queen’s cup in 1993 playing for the Black Bears. The best location he has ever played in has been St. Moritz where he played on a frozen lake in the mountains, while for a warmer experience he prefers Thailand and would one day love to play in Santa Barbara, US. Oli used to spend most winters in Australia but since having a family spends his winters at home.
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 45
teams | buenos aires
team buenos aires The Argentinian capital hosted the first polo world championship in 1987, and fiercely keeps up to its polo heritage. Deriving skills and stud ponies from the gaucho cattle herders on the Pampas, Argentinian play is noted for its passion and agility. If you are looking for the ultimate polo experience, look no further than Camino Real Polo Country Club.
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buenos aires | teams
With a handicap of four at his local club, the Royal County Berkshire, Oscar (38) has been a natural since he started playing aged 16. Oscar has gone on to win the major snow polo tournaments in St. Moritz and Klosters and is well known for retraining racehorses, which have not made it on the track, into successful polo ponies. He has 40 ponies in England and 40 in Argentina. ‘Sol’ is an old favourite mare, but ‘Paitence’ is a new ex-racehorse Oscar has retrained which he loves.
Piki Diaz Alberdi
Argentine Alejandro Diaz-Alberdi, nicknamed ‘Piki’ on the polo pitch, is an 8-goal professional polo player who at one stage in his career rated at 10 goals, the highest handicap a player can receive. Formerly a player on the Dubai Polo Team, Piki currently plays for Habtoor Polo Team in the UK, which is one of the best in the world. During his 20-year career Piki has won many of the top competitions including the Argentine Open in 1996.
A very keen Polo amateur, Gus Bilbao was born on the 5 June, 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Gus has always considered himself lucky to have been born and raised in Buenos Aires, the international capital of Polo. He started riding thoroughbred horses at a young age and still remembers the first horses he rode. Gus normally plays in the arena and on grass in Argentina, England, the United States and occasionally in the Caribbean. He wants to help grow the game in Europe and the US, and is excited about representing his hometown in his adopted city.
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 47
teams | abu dhabi
team abu dhabi Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is one of the worldâ€™s fastest growing and most exciting cities. Polo has been keenly contested in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in recent years, where celebrities rub shoulders with royalty at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club. In November 2012, City Events created the most spectacular polo venue in the world by launching Coutts Polo at the Palace on the private lawns of Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
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United Arab Emirates
abu dhabi | teams
Mohammed Al Habtoor
1 Abu Dhabi
Despite being a latecomer to polo, Mohammed Al Habtoor has dominated the sport in the Middle East in recent years, winning all of the major polo tournaments including Coutts Polo at the Palace 2012. Playing polo since 1999, he was drawn to the sport after attending the Desert Palm Polo Club. A natural player, Al Habtoor has been trained by English professional Peter Webb and has competed against top players such as Santiago Chavanne, Marcos Heguy and Lolo Castagnola.
2 Abu Dhabi
Born in Argentina in 1972, Guillermo started riding at the very young age of three and started playing polo at the age of nine. He has played in a professional capacity since 1992 and has travelled the world, currently playing off six goals. One of the big highlights of his career he says was playing for his home country and winning the Copa Provindia and Campania Deldesierto twice. Guillermo is currently based in the Middle East playing for the Habtoor Polo team where earlier this year he lead them to a stunning victory scoring the winning goal at the Dubai Gold Cup.
3 Abu Dhabi
Nacho (36), who now lives in Ascot, Berkshire, first played polo at the age of 14, turning professional at 17-years-old. Nacho plays polo all over the world with great success; some of his major wins include the British Gold Cup, the Dubai Gold & Silver Cup, The Royal Windsor, the Deauville Gold Cup and the St Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow four times. One of his proudest moments was playing for England at the Cartier International day. This summer, Nacho will be playing for Emlor polo team in both the Queenâ€™s and Gold Cup.
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teams | sydney
team sydney Sydney boasts 12 polo venues and is a hot bed for polo talent. The Aussies can be found playing all around the world but they are still yet to win at MINT Polo in the Park! Be sure to see a very determined team this year.
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sydney | teams
Jamie Morrison (36), nicknamed ‘Morro’, holds a handicap of four – he has played on both the London and New York teams at past MINT Polo in the Park events. Morrison plays at his local club, the Royal County Berkshire, and keeps twelve ponies including his favourite, Louisa. During winter, Morrison plays in Berkshire and Argentina, and in the snow polo at St. Moritz. He names Palermo in Argentina and Brazil Campinas Palomo as the best locations he has played in. Jamie Morrison is an internationally renowned polo player and captain of the England polo team. The sport is in his blood, stemming from his father who started the Royal County Berkshire Polo Club.
Marcos Araya started playing polo in Argentina at the age of five and has been coming to the UK for the past six years. Marcos has won many tournaments in Argentina, including the Copa Republica, Copa Santa Paula and the Ellerstina Silver Cup. While in the UK, Marcos is based at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. Last year he won the Victor Ludorum for the 15 and 18 goal tournaments playing for Emlor polo team and also played in the Queen’s and Gold cup; the UK’s most prestigious high goal tournaments, for Les Lions and Azzurra.
Michael’s first experienced polo at a young age on his father’s farm in Vermont. Since moving to the UK in 1999, Michael has participated in a multitude of tournaments during the British season. Tournament wins include, among others, the extremely competitive Cicero Cup in 2009, The Arena Gold Cup in 2010 and 2012, and the 15 goal HPA Arena Nationals in 2013. Michael is a competitive player, avid rider and has a great passion for horses. The start of the 2013 season saw him at the helm of the Ralph Lauren Team in the St Moritz Snow Polo Championship, winning The Silver Cup. Looking forward to the rest of this year, he is delighted to be taking part in MINT Polo in The Park.
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teams | beijing
team beijing Serving as a medieval military exercise in the army, polo has been a part of life in China for centuries. The use of polo for military training lasted for many generations, and the game was always played in reviewing troops. Precision and aggression are key qualities of the Beijing team, who take no prisoners.
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beijing | teams
Liu became the first Chinese player registered in the International Equestrian Association and is now the number one ranked player in China. Liu was a member of the combined American/ Chinese team that won the US Open Polo Championship and his immediate personal goal is to advance to 6-goals and to compete in the strongest and most competitive matches. Above all, Liu wants to see polo thrive in China so that more Chinese people can share his sport.
MIGUEL ANGEL DIAZ
Miguel, 30 years old, is a polo player from Pilar, Argentina. He has been playing polo for 10 years and has achieved 4 goals. He feels the most important part of polo, before everything, is to take care of the horses. He will be playing with the mighty King Power for the UK season.
Federico Von Potobsky
Federico, 25 years old, is a 6 goal player from Villa Dolores, Argentina. He has been playing polo for eight years all around the world. Nicknamed ‘Fede’ on the pitch, he will be playing polo in the UK for this season.
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teams | moscow
team moscow The game was introduced to Russia in 1870, but fell out of favour after the 1917 Revolution, however there are now five fields in and around Russiaâ€™s capital. If polo on snow is your thing, Moscow hosts this variation on the sport in February. Fast play and hardy stamina necessary in the cold climate will prove invaluable on the Hurlingham field.
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moscow | teams
Max is 22 years old and lives in Ascot, Berkshire. He began playing at 12 years old and currently plays off a handicap of 6 goals; he has already represented England on several occasions. During the summer months Max is a member at Guards Polo Club and spent this winter playing in India and Switzerland where he won the prestigious St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. His most memorable polo experience was playing on Ground One at Palermo, Argentina. When Max is not playing polo he enjoys playing golf and snowboarding.
Charlie is 24 years old and comes from Windlesham in Surrey where his polo team Twelve Oaks is based. He started playing at seventeen and has since played polo all over the world, including representing England playing beach polo. Despite his travels Charlie still names his home club; Guards Polo Club as his favourite place to play.
Jake is also 24 years old and has played in America, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Argentina. Jake names Perth, Australia as his favourite location to play polo but he is looking forward to returning to Hurlingham Park to compete for the MINT Polo in the Park trophy.
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Polo and Culture Experience Trips Camino Real have unbeatable access to all that is good about Argentina. Hotels, restaurants, Tango and best of all, Polo. Set in the heart of Argentina, Camino Real Polo Country Club is just 50 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires and 20 minutes from Ezeiza International Airport. www.caminorealpolo.com
Much more than just a World Class Polo destination
Photography by: Jenny Mealing
calendar | events
summer CALENDAR JUNE - august 2013
From Goodwood to Wimbledon and Ascot to MINT Polo in the Park, Kari Rosenberg has compiled a thorough calendar of summer events not to be missed, from June through to August
MINT Polo in the Park, Hurlingham Park
Queen’s Club tennis tournament begins
Prince of Wales Trophy Final, Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club
Image © Alison Henley
The Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup Final, Guards Polo Club
Royal Ascot opens
Qualifying begins ahead of the 2013 Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Image © The Grand Prix Ball
The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final, Guards Polo Club
Image © Pospisil MRL
Image © Natursports
Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship
The Grand Prix Ball, The Hurlingham Club
Forumla 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone
National Motorsport week begins
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 57
events | calendar
Henley Royal Regatta
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Goodwood Festival of Speed & Moving Motor Show
Image © Dana Ward
Audi International, Guards Polo Club
National Fishing Month
142nd British Open Golf Championships
Image © Roberto Curruti
London 2012 Anniversary
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Silverstone Classic (World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival)
Glorious Goodwood Flat Racing
calendar | events
Image © David Acosta Allely
Rugby Football League Cup Final
Bournemouth Air Show
MotoGP British Grand Prix
Image © Sportsphotographer.eu
Johnnie Walker Championship begins
Duke of Wellington Trophy Final, Guards Polo Club
FA Community Shield
Ricoh Women’s British Open Golf Tournament
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 59
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for her | lifestyle
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MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 61
lifestyle | for him
polo for him
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5 1. Dunhill, Blue Cufflinks, £175 / 2. A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Up/Down / 3. Reiss, Sage Pinot Shorts, £69 / 4. Thomas Pink, Navy Todd Skinny Tie, £69 / 5. Reiss, Three Piece One Button Light Grey Suit, £495 / 6. Crockett & Jones, Hallam Shoes, £320 7. Thomas Pink, Navy Offley Plain Linen Shirt, £89 / 8. Aquascutum, Navy Classic Piquet Polo, £75
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lifestyle | buying a horse
T IS notoriously hard to make money out of horses, but for high earning risk takers who enjoy a flutter, there’s not a more exciting hobby. Newmarket is the epicentre of the business, where trainers, breeders, owners and bloodstock agents converge to make up the complex equine ecosystem. And at the heart of Newmarket are the sales, where everyone is looking for the future superstar of racing. Trainer Edward Dunlop, owner of Ed Dunlop Racing, is one such person. Known for his hospitality, Ed is happy to let people look around, whereas some stables are so superstitious they won’t tell the media which horse is which for fear of changing the horse’s luck. The highest rated racehorse in the world, Frankel, has an unbeaten record of 14 wins and is valued at £100 million. His trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, understandably, keeps him out of the media spotlight for fear of jinxing him. On the morning of the sales Ed’s yard is a hive of activity and the horses prepare to go out for their morning exercise on the gallops on Warren Hill. At well over 6 feet tall, Ed’s dreams of becoming a jockey expired quickly and instead he can be seen calling comments and instructions to his horses’ riders as they canter past. “Thoroughbreds are like children, they get sick easily and a small cut can blow up. We give them high protein feed, ‘rocket fuel’, and hope that after our training programme they go on to win races. Highly bred and highly strung, they love routine, so we give them a military regime,” he says. Although a horse in training will probably be costing Ed’s clients, who include Sir Alex Ferguson and Andrew Lloyd Webber,
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purchasing power For those thinking about owning a horse, visit www.own1 .co.uk and join horse owners Dame Judi Dench, Michael Holding, Michael Owen, Ronan Keating and James Nesbitt in possibly the most exciting hobby around.
roughly £25,000 to £30,000 a year, there are huge profits to be made for the lucky ones. Snow Fairy, one of Ed’s most successful horses, was bought for only €18,000 and went on to win more than £4 million in prize money. All thoroughbreds can be traced back to three Arabian horses from the 1600s which were crossed with native mares. Amy Bennett, marketing executive for British Bloodstock Marketing, explains further: “It’s not like making a pure bred dog, which involves a lot of inbreeding. Racehorses are bred to be athletes, not for aesthetic qualities, and the pedigree of a horse is carefully considered long before it is conceived. These cultivated genes are extremely valuable with stallions such as Sea the Stars is now €85,000 a pop.” Although a good heritage can help, it’s not a guarantor and going to the sales is useful to see how horses might react in a busy racing environment. As the oldest sales in the world, Tattersalls was founded in 1766 in Kensington and relocated offices to Newmarket after the site was bombed in WW2. There are sales throughout the year in February, April, May, July, four in October and three in November. The rich and famous, including author Jilly Cooper, mill about the stable yards looking at how the horses react to the crowd. They are all unbroken and some foam at the mouth, while anxious leaders whisper to them to relax. The bell rings for the auction to begin and the tension jumps a notch. Horses neigh wildly, married couples whisper intently and young landed gentry, trainers, owners, press and buyers from India, Turkey, China and Japan make their way purposefully to the theatre.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dan Abraham
With investment from the Middle East, the horse racing industry is facing a revival. Gemma Taylor travels to Newmarket to find out why
buying a horse | lifestyle
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lifestyle | buying a horse
Most buyers go through a bloodstock agent and are sometimes on the other end of a phone during the bidding. Bloodstock agents arrive early to watch the yearlings walk and guess how likely they are to win The Derby. The Derby is Britain’s richest Group 1 flat horse race and the most prestigious of the country’s five classics in England. Open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies, it is run at Epsom Downs in June over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards (2,423 metres). Being a bloodstock agent 40 years ago was a prestigious role for ex-army officers. Now anyone with a good stock of knowledge and experience can build a career. Amy believes that being a good bloodstock agent relies on confident judgement as you live and die on your results. Angus Gold, Sheikh Hamdan’s agent, can be seen clutching his book with nerves of steel. “Angus would have a team of people to make sure all the horses at the sales had been looked at before even thinking about bidding. For example, if Sheikh Hamdan said he wanted a sprinter, Angus and his team would narrow them down to the best 25 and have a vet check their heart and X-rays for any bone problems before then choosing 12 to bid on”, says Amy.
Trainers exercise horses on the gallops on Warren Hill in the morning mist
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The most expensive stallion in Britain in 2013 is Frankel, standing at £125,000.
Auctioneer Alistair Prim starts the bidding to a hushed crowd. Alistair’s father was an auctioneer and his jokey banter soon has hands flying with sales reaching well over the £1 million mark. Martin Mitchell, former Director of Tattersalls for many years and currently a consultant, has noticed a recent change in spend. “Fifteen years ago there seemed to be a number of horses making £1 million to £2 million and a lot making £30,000 to £40,000. Now the top and bottom tiers have dropped off because of foreign investment from Qatar and America and the compacted market sees sales averaging at £800,000 to £1 million.” Some owners and trainers bought foals at the sales last year for £70,000 and are now looking to make a profit by selling them as a yearling for possibly £220,000. With yearly keep costs at £10,000, pinhooking can be a lucrative business. After the sales, buyers have 28 days to pay and have the horse drug tested after which the yearling will go to the breakers where it will spend a couple of weeks being handled. Thoroughbreds are natural followers and sometimes all it takes is a shoulder nudge in the right way for a horse to follow.
buying a horse | lifestyle
A thoroughbred which then goes on to win race after race will be rewarded with early retirement to a stud farm where his owner can expect fees of up to £85,000 per mare for his valuable genes. The most expensive stallion in Britain in 2013 is Frankel, standing at £125,000, but fees range down to around £1,000. Matthew Sigsworth, management assistant at Cheveley Park Stud Farm, says Group 1 winner Pivotal sired 135 mares last season. “Those who work in this profession have enough euphemisms to sink a ship and never actually say the word ‘sex’. Our stallions cover three a day at 9.30am, 3.30pm and 8.00pm. The rest of the time they eat and sleep. It’s every horse’s dream. If they stop working, they go out to paddock or are gelded and sent to the national hunt”, he says. A small graveyard lies at the end of the stud farm’s drive. When a horse dies it’s traditional to bury the head, hoof, heart and testicles. A strange, macabre Victorian practice was to keep the hoof and polish it for use as an ink quill. Matthew says that when the end comes, owners like to stay in touch and instead keep a shoe or lock of hair as a reminder of the momentous and profitable life they’ve had together.
Owners are careful not to overtrain the horses so they peak for the race, like an Olympian
Auctioneer Alistair Prim talks at lightning speed
Each horse has their own bridle to stop passing infections
Bloodstock agent Angus Gold waits for his lots to come out
MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 67
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lifestyle | urban ranch
urban cowboy Karen Bowerman connects with horses in one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world in the searing heat of the desert at the Grand Canyon Ranch
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urban ranch | lifestyle
was told his name was Taxi, “because he’d give a ride to anyone.” I wasn’t sure how to take this, but I grabbed the reins and mounted anyway. Badger was out in front; I drew up behind him. We waited for Sunday, Betsey, Tom and Jerry to join us. As Badger checked off their names, I decided ‘Taxi’ wasn’t so bad after all. It was close to sunset on Grand Canyon Ranch in Arizona. Seventy miles away the lights of Vegas would soon be dazzling the skies. Here, there’d be nothing but stars. But right now as the air pulsed with the heat, the rocks pumped out warmth and the bleached sky was on the verge of turning violet, there was little indication (other than Badger’s say so) that the shadows that were beginning to speckle Spirit Mountain, the shadows the Indians once thought were faces of their ancestors, would eventually bring respite for us too. Taxi picked his way through the desert, tracing an uneven, almost indiscernible trail through a carpet of wild, purple sage, fleshy, pointed agave plants and the tiny flame-shaped flowers of the Indian paintbrush or prairie fire. Badger, in his red and white striped shirt, suede waistcoat, jeans and chaps pointed out the fat stumps and spiky leaves of the Joshua tree which grows around an inch a year for 600 years, and drew my attention to a coyote, howling in the distance. We rode in single file, across land that 4,000 years ago was home to the Cohina Indians. Now it’s owned by an Englishman from Stockport with a fascination for the Wild West – and helicopters. Nigel Turner, a former army helicopter pilot and stuntman, bought Grand Canyon Ranch on the west rim of the canyon in 2002, after18 years running Heli USA, which offers helicopter sightseeing tours of Vegas and the canyon. He flew regularly over the ranch and, when he noticed it was for sale, approached its 87-year-old owner.
“He was an old school cowboy”, Turner explains, “someone who wanted to do everything on a handshake. Negotiations were a nightmare. What did a cowboy want with an Englishman? He thought I was a nutcase! But then we went on a 10-mile ride round the ranch. By the end of it, I was stuck to the saddle with blood, but I did it to prove I was serious. That was the turning point.” They closed the deal on a Friday. On the Saturday Turner bought the biggest caravan he could tow, drove to the ranch and parked under the oak tree. “Everyone said, ‘Knock the place down!’ ‘Bulldoze it!’” he recounts. “The roof was falling in; there was plastic sheeting over the floor and no electricity. I cooked on a campfire and had to rely on one of the springs (the ranch has five) for water. It took me a couple of years to get the place up and running. But I never doubted my decision.” Today, Turner flies visitors to the ranch in hi-tech helicopters, million dollar machines he describes as Ferraris of flight! It’s a jaw-dropping experience over, and through, the Grand Canyon. We fly 2,000 feet below the rim; Turner points out Eagle Rock, the
Nigel Turner flies visitors to the ranch in hi-tech helicopters, million dollar machines he describes as Ferraris of flight! It’s a jaw-dropping experience over, and through, the Grand Canyon.
Hoover Dam and the silvery waters of Lake Mead. At the ranch he shows us the original house: a stone cabin with a corrugated roof and a simple timber frame. It was built by Wellington Starkey, a mormon pioneer, who settled in the canyon in the 1800s. The new house blends in with the old. It’s a simple affair with whitewashed bricks and a lean to. Inside, there’s just enough room for a small kitchen, a few wooden tables and a woodstove for when the nights grow cold. Cattle horns, about 4ft long, double up as coat hooks, shelves are decorated with spurs and branding irons, and rattlesnake skins, of various lengths, are pinned over the inglenook fireplace. “See the mountains ahead of us?” Badger shouts over his shoulder, aware that if we ride abreast, it’ll be 100 years before the trail we create is reclaimed by the wild. I trace a jagged outline. “Now see the mountains beyond?” I pick them out against a blushing sky. “Well that’s where the ranch ends. A pretty decent backyard, wouldn’t you say? 168 square miles.” To be with their horses in the middle of nowhere - far away from people is his first love, smiles Badger quietly.
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lifestyle | AUDI
OVER THE TOP The range-topping Audi RS 5 Cabriolet is as subtle as a battering ram, says Matthew Carter, but much more fun
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AUDI | lifestyle
h, the 1980s! The era of Gordon Gekko, big hair, shoulder pads and conspicuous consumption. It was also the decade that the Swiss electronica band Yello produced an album entitled You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess. And for reasons that are about to become apparent, I couldn’t get the title track out of my head as I drove the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet the other day. You see, this is about as mad as it gets: an unassuming A5 soft-top gets mugged as it heads down the production line and is turned into a fire breathing monster by being given the full RS treatment. A hand-built 450hp 4.2-litre V8 is crammed under the bonnet, the chassis is lowered, stiffened and Audi’s fourwheel drive quattro system added into the mix. The brakes are beefed up, sports seats added and the beast is given subtly flared wheel arches, new bumpers, a discreet rear spoiler, massive wheels and the largest tailpipes you’ll see this side of a Saturn 5 rocket. The transformation is comprehensive. It’s the engine that’s at the heart of the car. It’s an extraordinary thing, this V8 – a normally aspirated (no turbos here) snarling, fire-snorting lump of metal that spits in the face of the tree-saving eco brigade. It rockets the Cabrio to 62mph from standstill in just 4.9 seconds and will take you onto a maximum speed of 174mph if you want it to. As it comes off the line, the RS5 is governed to a maximum speed of 155mph, but hand over an extra £1,300 to your local dealer and Audi will give you another 19mph to play with. Is this useful? Not in the UK, obviously, but no doubt vital if you spend your time on the German autobahn. All this is matched by a soundtrack that ought to be recorded and made available as a download single. Toggle through the Drive Select pre-set
In brief Car: Audi RS 5 Cabriolet Price: £68,960 Engine: 4,163cc, V8 Power: 450 hp Performance: 174 mph max*, 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds Drive: Four-wheel drive, sevenspeed S tronic *See text
driving modes to find Dynamic, and the muted exhaust note becomes a snarl, the steering sharpens and acceleration becomes instantaneous as the seven-speed dual clutch automatic shifts gears faster than you can say 1-2-3. Yes, the S tronic ‘box has a manual mode, but with shifts as slick as this there is no point in taking it out of automatic mode. This performance is more than matched by the chassis, which has been lowered by 20mm and gets its own specific damper, spring and anti-roll bar settings. For starters, the RS 5 benefits from Audi’s fourwheel drive quattro technology that makes sure as many of those horses are transferred to the road as possible. Not only does that mean it gets the power down well, but it also feels remarkably responsive for what’s a comparatively large car. And the grip when cornering is little short of breathtaking. Braking performance from the large wave-design steel discs is reassuring though if you feel you need more, ceramic discs are available from the extensive options list. The only question mark hangs, as ever, over ride comfort. The trouble with cars designed to blast down billiard-table smooth autobahn is that when they’re driven on our broken blacktop, the firm ride becomes downright uncomfortable. In fact, with retuned spring and damper settings the RS 5 isn’t as bad as some recent hot Audis, though the rock hard ride proffered by the Dynamic setting of the optional Dynamic Ride Control system will still shatter teeth, especially if the car is riding on the 20-inch tyres that comes as part of the £2,250 Sport Package. Leave it in the Comfort or Auto setting though and, for the most part, the ride is acceptable. But there’s something gloriously mad and bad about the RS 5 Cabriolet that’s difficult to ignore.
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events | polo at the palace
For details on the ultimate VIP hospitality event in Abu Dhabi, email Rachel Roullier at: email@example.com
City Events is an international event management and sports marketing agency. Founded in 2009 by a team of experienced sports marketing professionals, City Events now owns events and consults to companies and rights holders who require sponsorship, hospitality and event expertise. In addition to MINT Polo in the Park, City Events is proud to announce their latest event on the City Polo Series â€“ Coutts Polo at the Palace. This polo tournament will take place at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi later in the year.
City Events Team: - Rory Heron - Rachel Roullier - Paul Vernon - Richard Kirtley - Antonia Laing - Katy Jones
Managing Director Commercial Director Event Director Operations Manager Hospitality Executive Polo Manager
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MINT POLO IN THE PARK 2013 | 77
lifestyle | watches
GAME TIME Make sure you never miss a match with these horological heirlooms and modern masterpieces
of the Best
british watches since 2011
eyes to the skies True, it may be a company named after a British clockmaker, rather than a British brand per se, but Graham does devote its creations to the English inventor of the lever escapement mechanism. And for us, that’s reason enough to include them here. Progressing from the pedantic, we thought we’d bring you the news that Graham has recently launched the ‘Geo.Graham The Moon’, a watch that combines a flying tourbillon with a highprecision moon-phase perpetual function. The cycle of which is calculated on the Moon’s exact synodic period for a duration of 122 years. Pretty cool, British or not.
The Robin, £5,850 Robert Loomes, 2011 www.robertloomes.com
one to watch
Serpent Calendar Steel 42mm POA, Speake-Marin, 2012 www.speake-marin.com
Don’t take your eye off the watch of the moment from the product stable of industry veteran Patek Philippe:
“It will tell you the day, date, month, leap year and phase of the moon; the 18-karat gold, Art Deco-inspired 5940J is a modern-day classic that unites Patek’s present with its illustrious past.” Right: 5940J, £61,530, Patek Philippe www.patek.com
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Signalman DLC GMT PR £4,050 Schofield, 2011 www.schofieldwatchcompany.com
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SHOPPING VILLAGE | lifestyle
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Daniel Majid was wounded during his tour of Afghanistan in 2010 when an IED explosion severely damaged his right shoulder. After months of rehabilitation, Daniel was able to raise his hand but was unable to continue his military career. Walking With The Wounded helped Daniel get the education he needed for a new career path. Today, Daniel is working as a Geography teacher and again looks forward to seeing raised hands.
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