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British Polo Day celebrates UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration

ABU DHABI, 19th March, 2017 (WAM) — British Polo Day on Saturday returned to Abu Dhabi for the first of its 2017 events. Some 200 guests and VIPs, including Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, Philip Parham, the British Ambassador, Richard le Poer, Earl of Tyrone, and Bear Grylls, TV adventurer and survivalist, came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions.
The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales in October 2016. 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 new global partner, Chelsea Barracks, the 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.
The event, which was presented by RJI Capital, took place for the 7th year at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of H.H. 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 4X4s, the new Bentayga, in the UAE. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.

British Polo Day Abu Dhabi’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting bespoke-commissioned British Silverware British Polo Day trophies presented by 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 three-course dinner followed by a live charity auction which raised a total of US$20,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Sumba Foundation and Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom and 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 lot that included 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 being held there later this year.
The next event on the calendar is British Polo Day Dubai on Friday 24th March at the Al Habtoor Polo Club and Resort, where the British teams will play against Habtoor Polo and the Gulf Team.