Last Saturday marked the return of British Polo Day USA at Los Angeles’ historic Will Rogers State Park.
Presented by Land Rover and hosted by British Polo Day’s USA Representative and member of the British Royal Family, Lord Frederick Windsor and his wife, actress and writer Sophie Winkleman, the event saw the great, the good and the glam gather to enjoy a quintessentially British day – and some fantastic polo – in the glittering West Coast sunshine, while raising an impressive US$60,000 for charity.
British Polo Day was founded in 2011 by old university friends and ex-British army officers, Ed Olver and Tom Hudson, whose belief in “the power of the horse as an international language” led them to the creation of a series of high profile international events.
The series is now supported by key international figures, 12 Royal families and 100 independent billionaires and leaders in world innovation, including Elon Musk, Vinod Kumar and Sir Richard Branson. Its goal to showcase bespoke British craftsmanship, heritage and brands while creating a powerful union between horses, business and philanthropy has seen the company donate over £1.5 million to charitable causes while offering a powerful – and extremely enjoyable – networking opportunity to an international elite.
By invitation only, last weekend’s event saw VIPs and guests including the Duke of Argyll, Prince and Princess Charles Windisch-Graetz, Robert and Justine Bloomingdale, Yana and Fabrizio Alliata di Montreale, Wendy Stark, Dhani Harrison, Bo Derrick, top DJ Paul Oakenfold, Sonia Pim Couling and Kenny Loggins arrive in style – in a fleet of Range Rovers – before enjoying a Tattinger Champagne reception and an opening match of Brompton Bicycle Polo.
From their beautifully designed Timothy Oulton seats, guests saw The Hackett British Exiles narrowly clinch a 3-2 victory from the Will Rogers team. Meanwhile, in the pitch side Harrods Garden Party, guests dabbled in some of Britain’s favourite pastimes – a traditional game of croquet, giant jenga and sitting from some amusing depictions by the resident caricaturist.
The eagerly-anticipated British Polo Day USA Charity Auction – this year raising money for Homeboy Industries (one of LA’s most notable charities empowering former gang members to be self-sufficient) and The UK Stem Cell Foundation – saw furious bidding for lots including a private Surf Air vineyard getaway for two, five nights at the Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives and four nights at the dazzling Royal Mansour in Marrakesh with the day’s fundraising raising a significant $60,000.
On the field, The Land Rover Will Rogers Plate saw a nail-biting match between the Hackett Harrow Polo team and home side, Royal Salute Will Rogers Polo Club with the home team prevailing with 5 goals to 4.
Meanwhile, after some exemplary efforts from Dillon Bacon and Chevy Beh, the Justerini & Brooks British Schools team claimed victory over their Californian rivals, The London Southern California Polo team, in a thrilling game ending 10-5.
At the official British Polo Day USA prize-giving, the bespoke British silverware-designed Land Rover Will Rogers Plate was presented by Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor to winners, Royal Salute Will Rogers Polo Club while the triumphant Justerini & Brooks British Schools team then took to the podium to claim British Silverware’s Hackett Bossom Cup.
Royal Salute’s Most Valuable Player was presented to Chevy Beh, while Graydon Brittan won the Holland & Holland Shot of the Day and The London’s Best Playing Pony went to Café, ridden By Imelda de Alba. Imelda herself took home The Harrods ‘Luck of the Draw’ – presented by none other than British Polo Day’s very own resident Harrods Green Man – and the dapper Dave Burt won the Hackett Best Dressed prize.
Setting the tone for the evening ahead, seasoned British Polo Day player Max Kirchhoff dramatically ‘sabered off’ several bottles of Champagne Taittinger to kick off the celebrations. Guests then proceeded to dance the night away at 1OAK – one of Los Angeles’ hottest night spots for the evening’s after-party.
Travelling with Abercrombie & Kent, the British Polo Day itinerary took in some of the most spectacular corners of Los Angeles – including a day of Venice Beach volleyball, private tours of the Getty museum and Getty Villa and a specially-curated ‘Time Lapsus’ dinner hosted by Royal Salute at The Supper Club in the Hollywood Hills on 29th May.
British Polo Club Co-Founder Tom Hudson commented, “The highlight of this year’s event was most certainly raising significant funds for Homeboy Industries and The UK Stem Cell Foundation. Something we feel immensely proud of.
British Polo Day USA Host and Representative Lord Frederick Windsor added, “My wife Sophie and I are delighted to be actively involved in this rare and special global endeavor. Los Angeles has been our home for nearly six years and there is something deeply satisfying about celebrating the very best of Britain and the United States as part of a much wider global undertaking.
This event has continued to flourish and, on behalf of all the guests, my thanks go to our generous host Andrew Bossom – a fellow Old Etonian – for kindly welcoming us to Will Rogers Polo Club for a second year.
In a town where there is plenty of competition for stellar events, I have no doubt that an invitation to British Polo Day has become increasingly desirable.”