Friday 27 March saw British Polo Day, presented by Land Rover, mark the second leg of its annual UAE Series with British Polo Day Dubai. The Habtoor Family, the event’s hosts, welcomed over 700 VIPs and guests to the magnificent Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, heralding the start of Dubai’s landmark twentieth anniversary World Cup weekend.
Arriving in chauffeur-driven Land Rovers to a Champagne Taittinger reception, VIPs including members of the Jordanian royal family, HH Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed, His Grace The Duke Argyll, Prince Alexei Cantacuzene Count Speransky, Her Majesty’s Consul General to Dubai Edward Hobart, Major General Carew Wilks, Jim and Fitri Hay, Dubai socialites Hugo Taylor and Lina Sammon and top polo player Pablo Mac Donough raised a glass to the historical and cultural ties that bind Great Britain to Dubai.
Celebrating these long-standing traditions, elite members of the Cavalry & Guards regiments of the British Army coaxed their camels onto the pitch for the Hackett Thesiger Trophy, beautifully modelled on a photo that Sir Wilfred Thesiger took of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan over 60 years ago. The match went the way of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Cavalry team who – over the course of three chukkas – found the flags three times. The Gaucho Guards made a valiant effort to come back in the fourth chukka, but it was too little too late.
Equally entertaining for the pitch-side crowds was the Brompton Bicycle Polo Match – a rather amusing and unsteady example of pedal proficiency between Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club and Rest of the World. Rest of World put pedal to the metal and scored four triumphant goals, with no return from their Dubai contemporaries, resulting in a 4 – 0 win.
But back in Polo the Hackett British Exiles took to the pitch against home side, Habtoor Polo for the final match of the day – the British Polo Day Dubai Cup. Habtoor Polo – who have had a most successful season in the Gulf – proved stiff competition, although the Hackett British Exiles threatened their lead, up until the third chukka with some great play particularly by Jamie Morrison. The game was one of great spirit and good manners but the Habtoor ‘powerhouse’ saw off a brief challenge by the Exiles and a flurry of goals in the fourth chukka winning by 8 goals to 5. A score that belied the pace and play of the game.
While players swung polo mallets, guests enjoyed the Harrods Garden Party, compete with a crowd-pulling caricaturist and a wonderful gallery of images by poloartist Mike Rumsby. British Polo Day’s resident Harrods Green Man kept order while guests enjoyed an afternoon of quintessential British charm, with an Emirati twist. Meanwhile, the Hackett and Taylor Morris ‘pop-ups’ added a dash of style and panache to the event, while the Royal Salute and Gaucho bars ensured that the guests kept dancing well into the evening.
For more information, visit www.britishpoloday.com