IT’S here again. This year’s eagerly anticipated MINT Polo in the Park tournament is soon to kick off, and it’s already promising to be a corker. Teams include MINT London, IG Markets Sydney, City A.M. New York, Otkritie Moscow, Gaucho Buenos Aires and Abu Dhabi. They will be playing every day of the 3 day tournament, held at the historic Hurlingham Park grounds.
World Polo signed an exclusive deal in 2008 to reinstate the grounds at Hurlingham Park bringing polo back to its British roots.
Hurlingham Park has a long history of polo. The game was first played at Hurlingham Park in 1874, and for 65 years the club was the polo headquarters for Britain and her empire. But with the outbreak of the second world war, the grounds were requisitioned by the government and converted into allotments, bringing an end to polo at the club. That was until 2008 when World Polo signed an exclusive deal to reinstate the grounds at Hurlingham Park and bring polo back to it’s British home.
Much like every professional polo team has its patron, Polo in the Park has its title sponsor. MINT is a leading independent agency trading house for clients wanting wholesale brokerage services and trading support in financial centres around the world. The agency is committed to long-term sponsorship of the event. Richard Barnett and Tim Bullman, MINT’s co-CEOs, said “MINT partners is proud to be the long-term title sponsor of the World Polo Series at MINT polo in the park. At MINT we strive to deliver a superior service to our clients, so we feel it is appropriate to sponsor such a premier sporting event. Furthermore, polo is a good fit for MINT as it reflects the skill, tenacity and teamwork required to be successful in our business”
With the revival of polo at Hurlingham, World Polo also brought in new rules for the tournament, making the games faster and more accessible for spectators new to the sport. These new rules follow in the footsteps of the Twenty20 format that has been so successful in cricket.
Though at first the arch traditionalists showed some resistance to the new format of polo rules, Daniel Fox-Davies, the chairman of World Polo, says that it was a big hit with the players from the off: “Players say that they love it. There isn’t the constant stopping and starting to change ends and we can keep a much more fast game. The City A.M. – New York team with Jack, Jamie and Henry have managed to do well in the past through their experience of arena polo – knowing how to play off the boards and how to play in the smaller team – but the competition will be fierce this year.”
The organisers of the event invite the top players from around the world, but according to Louisa Crofton, the polo manager for this year’s MINT Polo in the Park, those with arena polo experience often have the edge in the fast-moving format created for the tournament: “Obviously all eyes will be on the City A.M. New York team as defending champions, but the MINT London team are worth keeping an eye on.” The team is made up of Ryan Pemble, Sebastian Dawnay and James Harper, all of whom are newcomers to the tournament. “They all have strong outside and indoor polo handicaps and are well established as a team.” A dark horse (or pony) could be the IG Index team, says Louisa Crofton “A player who is well worth looking out for is Zac Hagdoorn of the IG Index – Sydney team. He has the lowest handicap in the tournament, but is a very versatile player and will do well”
With Hurlingham Park a 2 minute walk from Putney Bridge tube station on the District Line, you don’t need to arrive by helicopter to attend a thrilling polo game. Just come along for what will be another thrilling and glamorous weekend of high-octane games with the sport of kings.
MINT POLO IN THE PARK
TICKETS FROM: £20 adults, £10 child
FAMILY TICKET FROM: £60
PHONE: 0844 847 2282