Saturday 18th March 2017: British Polo Day, presented by RJI Capital, returned to Abu Dhabi for the first of its 2017 events. Some 200 guests and VIPs including HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, HE Philip Parham, the British Ambassador, the Earl of Tyrone and Bear Grylls came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions.
The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and HRH The Prince of Wales in October 2016, with HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan giving a stirring speech stating the aims of increasing the visibility of the UK in the UAE and vice versa in order to give greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long-standing relationship between the two nations. The unique cultural programme has been initiated to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between people, institutions and businesses. The British Polo Days in the UAE provide such a platform, with the best of British and the UAE on display, with Harrods, Bentley, Royal Salute and Hackett all supporting. There was also a chance to introduce our new global partner, Chelsea Barracks, the exceptional new neighborhood development incorporating 5 new garden squares in Belgravia, London, to the guests. Other new partners included VistaJet and YPI Luxury Yachts, further cementing the British Polo Day community.
This spectacular event took place, for the 7th year, at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of HH Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The glamorous black-tie evening kicked off with a bicycle polo demonstration, a sport played in the Olympics over 100 years ago, with players from the regiments of Cavalry and Guards competing in Bentley and Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi Teams respectively for The Thesiger Trophy.
Next Stuart Wrigley captained the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Abu Dhabi team, sponsored by Vista Jet, who were victorious.
The highlight exhibition polo match of the evening – The British Polo Day Plate –saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles, with both sides led onto the field of play by the first two Bentley Bentaygas in the UAE the opening ceremony. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.
British Polo Day Abu Dhabi’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting the bespoke-commissioned British Silverware British Polo Day trophies presented by HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Muburak Al Nahyan and Ron Wahid, Chairman and CEO of RJI Capital. The agile Curacho, ridden by Sami Al Namsi, was named Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Best Playing Pony’ by Marc de Panafieu, Brand Director for Middle East.
Following the prize-giving ceremony, guests sat down to a delicious three-course dinner prepared by the InterContinental Abu Dhabi followed by a live charity auction raising a total of $20,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan, the Sumba Foundation and Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, that helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.
Guests bid fiercely for lots including a safari of a lifetime to Kenya with The Safari Collection, a stay at the beautiful Cape View Clifton, a special Dinner at Wiltons and a trip to the amazing Nihiwatu on Sumba Island in Indonesia for the British Polo Day held there later this year.
The next event is British Polo Day Dubai held on Friday 24th March at the Al Habtoor Polo Club & Resort where the British teams will play against Habtoor Polo and the Gulf Team.