British Polo Day India – presented by Land Rover and in association with Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces – took place for the fourth time from 12th to 14th December 2014 at The Jodhpur Polo and Equestrian Institute, Jodhpur, India.
Guests at this exclusive invitation-only event included the Maharaja of Jaipur, the Maharaja of Patiala, British Deputy High Commissioner Chandigarh; David Lelliott, Viscount Melville, Lady Phillimore, Olivia Inge, former Miss India; Parvathy Omanakuttan, Sanjay Kapur and Priya Sachdev. All of whom were hosted by His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur.
Opting for pedal – rather than pony – power, the British Exiles, Commonwealth, Cavalry, Guards and Ladies teams provided a quintessential, and rather amusing, start to each day’s polo with a Brompton Bicycle polo match. Meanwhile guests enjoyed Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces’ delicious pitch-side afternoon tea and a unique Hackett London ‘pop-up’ showcasing their Autumn Winter 2014 collection of classic polo shirts and stylish outerwear pieces.
Over the three days, guests were treated to a series of fast-paced polo matches, played in the superb setting of Jodhpur Polo and Equestrian Institute. The opening match of British Polo Day India was between the Royal Salute Oxford team and the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces Jodhpur team which, following fierce competition between the two and some strong runs on both sides, resulted in a 7–4 win for Jodhpur, over His Highness’ alma mater. The Holland & Holland ‘Shot of the Day’ – presented by John Stevenson – went to Yogi Singh Bhanwari of Jodhpur.
Day two saw the Jaeger-LeCoultre Eton College team take on its Indian contemporary, the Charles Russell Speechlys Mayo College team for the Land Rover Trophy. This was a dramatic and technical game of great skill but Eton clinched the trophy, winning 6–5, with some excellent linking, marking and hitting, and a brilliant performance by, ‘hero of the day’, Will Ramsay. Saturday’s Holland & Holland ‘Shot of the Day’ went to HH Maharaja Padmananbh Singh of Jaipur.
On the final day of polo – Sunday, 14th December – the Land Rover Sahara Warriors team took to the pitch against The Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces Jodhpur team. After a close match, The Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces Jodhpur team won by 4-2, taking home the Taj Cup.
Rounding off this year’s polo was the Hackett Cup between the Hackett British Army and The President’s Bodyguard teams – the latter of which won 4-1 and claimed The Hackett Trophy. Sunday’s coveted Holland & Holland ‘Shot of the Day’ was presented to Captain Philip Kaye KRH of the Hackett British Army Team.
British Polo Day India’s final closing prize giving saw the crowds gather for the presentation of the final day’s prizes by host, His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur and British Deputy High Commissioners Kumar Iyer and David Lelliott. HH Maharaja Padmananbh Singh of Jaipur – the 16-year old son of the royal family of Jaipur, who represented Mayo College – was Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ and received an extraordinary Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Classique clock. Meanwhile, with the style stakes set high by the ever-glamorous Olivia Inge and her fellow models, McQ’s ‘Best Dressed Female’ was awarded to Meera Saxeena and Hackett London’s ‘Best Dressed Male’ was won by the dapper Samir Suhag.
Guests enjoyed three days of heritage polo, followed by glamorous evenings in some of India’s most historic settings – drinks on the roof of the Umaid Bhawan Palace and a candlelit dinner in the Mehrangarh Fort, to name a few. The weekend culminated in a magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace reception and a spectacular fashion show – styled by Nick Hart, of Spencer Hart – on the evening of Sunday 14th December. Top British model, Olivia Inge and former Miss India, Parvathy Omanakuttan modelled some of the most iconic names in British fashion, including McQ Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Hackett London.
The evening also included a live auction for the benefit of The Indian Head Injury Foundation and Head Injury Through Sport. With lots including a stay at the exclusive Nihiwatu, Sumba; a week in one of 3rd Home’s luxurious properties; a Holland & Holland shooting lesson and Justerini & Brooks private dinner; a bespoke Brompton Bicycle and very special Royal Salute Hundred Cask Whisky Selection, the auction raised an impressive US$9,000 for these worthy causes.
Tom Hudson, Director and Co-Founder of British Polo Day said: “The aim of British Polo Day is to not only celebrate the history and heritage of polo, but also to celebrate the Best of British and the trade and cultural ties that bind our great countries. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with the UKTI GREAT campaign. A big thank you too to everyone else who has supported the fourth British Polo Day India – the event has grown year on year and we’re already looking forward to the fifth in 2015!”
His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur added: “British Polo Day has given me purpose – from weaving together the presence of some of Britain’s most luxurious brands with India’s rich culture and heritage, to giving regional players an event to aspire to play in and create new talent. We have now built long-term relationships with our partners, sponsors and guests and – galloping into its fourth year – India remains the proud host of the year’s finest British Polo Day.”
The event was sponsored by Land Rover, Hackett London, Royal Salute, Jaeger-LeCoulture, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, Taittinger Champagne, Abercrombie & Kent, Billionaire.com, Justerini & Brooks, Brompton, Global Partnership Family Office, Holland & Holland, Charles Russell Speechlys, Gavel&Grand, British Silverware, Taylor Morris, Prestat, 3rd Home, Jax Coco, The Grosvenor Stationery Company, D.R. Harris & Co, The GREAT Campaign and Bib&Sola Ltd.