by Annabelle Hood, www.luxuryjournalist.com
Polo is enjoying something of a trendy renaissance in the UK this season – the game no longer seeming to be the exclusive preserve of the moneyed English upper classes, but this year seems to have attracted a mix of young celebrities donning their designer shades and raising a glass of fizz.
This week’s prestigious Audi International Day in alliance with the Hurlingham Polo Association, took place at Guards Polo Club in Great Windsor Park (where Prince William and Prince Harry play), with England playing South Africa for the coveted Coronation Cup 2012.
Some put this year’s more intimate event down to the London 2012 Olympics; others to the fact that Cartier have finally hung up their long-standing sponsorship hat, taking the traditional Chinawhite party set with them. But this didn’t stop a clutch of celebrities treading the divots in their droves: We spotted English actors Dominic Cooper, Trueblood’s Stephen Moyer, ‘Dr Who’ Matt Smith and Burberry model-actor Douglas Booth. Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole was also pivoting around the VIP Enclosure with his newly pregnant wife. And proving that polo is still the quintessentially aristocratic British sport, the eighth Duke of Wellington, Arthur Valerian, was there too.
English TV presenter Nick Knowles was enjoying a lavish lunch in Keith Prowse’s fabulous African-themed hospitality enclosure aptly named ‘Chukkas Restaurant’ on Smith’s Lawn. Here we enjoyed champagne and canapés as tribal drummers greeted us on the front lawn – basking in a rare beautiful day of bright summer sunshine.
We sat down to a three-course extravaganza of Droewors, biltong, ethopian flat breads and Sirloin Beef, rounding the meal off with an African ‘Egoli’ trio of koeksusters with cardamom syrup, mini milk tart and a gold-topped chocolate dome.
From here it was just a short trot across the lawn to watch the polo ponies in action on the pitch. England defeated the South African team by a close-run 9 – 8 result. US polo ponies must be quarantined via Mauritius, so hats off to the South Africans on dedication…
We celebrated with afternoon tea and by dipping our toes in event organiser Keith Prowse’s signature coolwater plunge pool – which felt every bit as cool as this wonderful social event. Next year will be even bigger and better, Audi will ensure that – be sure not to miss it.