Chestertons Polo in the Park 2014 is set to return next month and as so happens every year, the three-day affair will see celebrities glammed up and revelling in the hottest event of the polo calendar.
Chatting to ! Online at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park polo launch, event founder Daniel Fox-Davies opened up about the established celebrity and royalty following that his sporting creation has attracted.
“Last year David Gandy was down with some friends,” said Daniel. “Leona Lewis was here too. She”s actually a very accomplished horse rider – she has a show jumping horse in Los Angeles and she”s now started taking polo lessons. We get a lot of the local celebrities too, like the Made in Chelsea cast members.
“A lot of the royals do come at different times, like Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. But polo”s not just about the royals. It”s just a really fun sport for everyone to come down and have a good day out.”
England star captain George Meyrick
Prince William and Prince Harry, who are keen polo players, have often been spotted taking part in nationwide charity matches in the past, and according to England star player George Meyrick, who was also at the London launch, the royal brothers provide quite the competition. “I”ve played against them quite a bit in the past, and they are really good players,” he said.
George, 26, will be captaining City AM Team London while his younger brother Tom will be heading Mandarin Oriental Team Beijing.
“It”s a little different when you”re playing against your brother,” said George, who has the highest handicap in the country. “It”s not quite the same because you want them to do well too.”
The siblings will compete against other, as well as the four remaining teams: Team Abu Dhabi, IG Team Sydney, Air Europa Team Buenos Aires and Team New York, led by four-time event winner Jamie Morrison.
Six team captains pose at the Polo in the Park 2014 reception
George, who has played in Argentina, Dubai, China, India, Mexico and the south of Spain among other countries, admitted that the glamorous polo lifestyle has its ups and downs.
“I”ve been doing it for a lot of years now,” he said. “That constant being on the move affects relationships and seeing family, it”s not as easy. But for a lifestyle it”s fantastic. We never really have to have a winter. I do what I love so I feel very lucky, but the more I”ve travelled the more I realise I quite enjoy being at home.”
Having the London “crowd support” gives George hope that his team will win. “It”s one of the most fun places to play because the pitch is a lot smaller than normal, so you get more of a crowd feeling,” he said. “I”d like to say London will win this year, but New York”s a very strong team.”
Polo in the Park will return from 6 to 8 June
The Big Apple team headed by Jamie is the one to watch, added event founder Daniel. “We play outdoor but it”s basically very similar to arena. Jamie is probably one of the country”s leading arena players so the game suits him. It suits his teammates and they know it very well. Money”s got to be on Jamie. Plus he”s the coolest guy out there. He plays in shades for God”s sake, he”s in a league of his own.
“George has a higher handicap outdoor than Jamie does and is also a great player. George is six goals outside in traditional polo, but Jamie”s seven or eight in arena so he”s got a bit of an advantage. He”s a class act. It”ll be a great match to watch them play against each other.”
Walking With The Wounded chat to ! Online about Prince Harry”s South Pole trek
Polo in the Park 2014 will take place from 6 to 8 June at the Hurlingham Park in Fulham. The event”s official charity is Walking With The Wounded, of which Prince Harry is patron.