British Polo Day Great Britain Celebrates Ties with Mexico in a Blend of True Horsemanship, Culinary Talent and Philanthropy
In celebration of the Dual Year of Mexico and the UK, this year’s British Polo Day Great Britain – presented by Land Rover – had a decidedly Mexican twist, albeit with a British shower or two! Yesterday (Saturday 20th June), VIP and guests including host Urs Schwarzenbach, HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh, The Marquess of Blandford, Viscount Melville, The Duke of Argyll, Lady Violet and Alice Manners, Ron Wahid, Nikki Mehta, Sir Jackie Stewart and Stephanie Powers marked the enduring legacy that exists between the two countries while raising almost £150,000 for charity.
Travelling with Abercrombie & Kent, VIPs and guests marked the lead up to British Polo Day Great Britain with a series of exclusive events. These included a Hotel Matilda Dual Dinner in the vertiginous Royal Suite of The InterContinental – a fusion of the two hotels’ culinary creativity, a private Justerini & Brooks wine tasting at the newly-opened South Kensington Club and an official British Polo Day launch party at Tonteria – our very own Mexican corner of Chelsea! Exclusive behind the scenes tours of Harrods and the Brompton Bicycle factory also proved a hit with our Mexican guests.
On the day itself, guests arrived at the prestigious Black Bears private estate in chauffeur-driven Range Rovers to a Champagne Taittinger reception and an opening game of Brompton Bicycle Polo, in which the InterContinental London Park Lane Rest of World team clinched a well-deserved 3 – 1 victory.
At the Royal Salute ‘Neolithic’ bar designed by British architect Sally Mackareth – handcrafted out of 8,000 year old petrified oak – guests were treated to the time honoured and precious whisky. Meanwhile, the pitch-side ‘Harrods Garden Party’ was bustling with guests making their own ethereal midsummer floral crowns, playing croquet, enjoying ice creams with the resident Harrods Green Man and jumping on board the iconic Rosebery bus.
Guests then sat down to an exclusive three-course lunch authored by InterContinental London Park Lane Chef, Theo Randall and accompanied by fine wines from Royal Warrant Holders, Justerini & Brooks. Among the culinary masterpieces dreamt-up by Randall was a one-off co-authored chocolate pudding with Paul A Young Fine Chocolates.
Torquhil Campbell, The 13th Duke of Argyll then drew lunch to a close, with guests standing on their seats for a traditional Quaich experience with Royal Salute 21 Year Old whisky – a fitting way to toast the noble sport of polo and kick-off the eagerly-anticipated Live Auction. As part of an ongoing commitment to philanthropy – which has so far raised an impressive US$1.5 million – auctioneer Lord Harry Dalmeny soon had the gavel sounding, as a fierce half hour of bidding raised over £144,000 for the Born Free Foundation, Head Injury Through Sport (HITS), the Brooke, The Eve Branson Foundation, NSPCC and fittingly – and at the behest of our visiting Mexican friends – Doña en Vida.
The afternoon’s polo soon had VIPs and guests braving the elements to stand pitchside as the Qatar Airways British Exiles took on the Royal Salute Commonwealth team in the opening Hackett Cronan Cup. These two very closely-matched teams – at 13 goals – battled hard. The Royal Salute Commonwealth team’s Tom Hunt and Simon Keyte left the Qatar Airways British Exiles adrift by 3-1 however magic by George Meyrick and Satnam Dhillon in particular changed the course of the match and a subsequent three goals resulted in a 5-5 draw.
Then, following a quintessential British afternoon tea and the customary treading of the divots, the RJI Capital British Schools team took to the pitch against the Mexico Polo Team – our kind hosts of British Polo Day Mexico – in the Land Rover River Field Plate. Undeterred by the thunderstorm overhead, the Mexico Team drew first blood with Diego Solorozano scoring a penalty from the 40 yard spot. Thereafter the strong trio of Imelda de Alba. JJ de Alba and Luis Perez kept the Mexicans in the lead, emerging triumphant with a 3 – 2 victory.
The official British Polo Day Great Britain Prizegiving marked the end of a great day’s polo. The crowd gathered to see Urs Schwarzenbach jointly present the Royal Salute Commonwealth and Qatar Airways British Exiles teams with the bespoke British Silverware designed Hackett Cronan Cup. Joined by Ron Wahid, CEO of RJI Capital, a merchant banking firm based in London and one of our principal sponsors, the two then presented the visiting Mexico team with the Land Rover River Field Plate – another magnificent British Silverware piece.
The Royal Salute ‘Most Valuable Player’ was presented to JJ de Alba, the Holland & Holland ‘Shot of The Day’ to George Meyrick and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Best Playing Pony’ to Echo. Charles Russell Speechlys Erica Shelton clinched the Qatar Airways ‘Business Card Drop’, while The Harrods ‘Luck of the Draw’ went to Hello Magazine’s Juliet Herd and the Hackett ‘Best Dressed’ prize to a very dapper James Demetriades.
As the sun set and the asado sizzled, the resident DJ set the scene – from the top deck of The Rosebery – for the Taylor Morris and Britannia Elevation Summer Solstice Party.
Commenting on British Polo Day Great Britain Ed Olver, CEO of British Polo Day said: “We were delighted to return once again to Black Bears – by kind permission of the Schwarzenbach family – for the home leg of British Polo Day’s Global Series. With 2015 being the Dual Year of Mexico and the UK, it was with great pleasure that we hosted British Polo Day Mexico hosts and great friends the de Alba family – who head home across ‘the pond’ victorious in their efforts.”
British Polo Day Great Britain took place on Saturday 20th June 2015 at The River Field, Black Bears, Henley-on-Thames.
The event was partnered with Land Rover, RJI Capital, Royal Salute, Hackett London, Harrods, The Intercontinental Hotel Group London Park Lane, Visit Mexico, Conade, Qatar Airways, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Justerini & Brooks, Charles Russell Speechly’s, Champagne Taittinger, Holland & Holland, British Silverware, Billionaire.com, Global Partnership Family Offices, Benthorp, Brompton, Great British Racing International, Bonas MacFarlane Education, Abercrombie & Kent, Taylor Morris Eyewear, D.R Harris & Co, Cassabo, Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, Floris, Jax Coco, South Kensington Club, The Grosvenor Stationery Company, East Imperial Superior Beverages, iBid, The Rosebery, UK MX Reino Unido Mexico 2015, Cicely Violet, Formula Life, Fresh Air, 3rd Home, Franco’s, Wiltons, Davidoff, The Cavalry & Guards Club, Walpole, Pendragon Productions, Balvanera Polo & Country Club, Born Free, Head Injury Through Sport (HITS), the Brooke, The Eve Branson Foundation, NSPCC and Doña en Vida.