MINT Polo In The Park: champagne, laughs and some stellar networking

MINT Polo In The Park, taking place this year on 8, 9 and 10 June is London’s ultimate summer networking and socialising event. What better way to spend a Friday with clients and colleagues than in the glorious sunshine of Hurlingham Park – the crowd cheering as ponies thunder past on perfectly manicured lawns, while you sip champagne next to a white picket fence?

But while MINT Polo In the Park has charged to the top of the social and hospitality calendar in the last five years (it won London Sporting Attraction of the Year in 2010 and 2011), the event’s heritage goes back much further.

Hurlingham Park has a special place in the history of UK Polo – the second recorded game of polo played in the UK was at The Hurlingham Club in 1876 – and it was the home of all UK and Commonwealth polo from 1900 until 1939. The pitch was even home to England’s Olympic polo triumph – the ground was the venue for the final of the polo competition, when London last hosted the Olympics in 1908 – and in the early 20th century it was the ground that every polo player – from Argentina to Assam – wanted to play on and today the players are clothed by La Martina, the ultimate polo brand.

In 1939 the pitch was turned into allotments, but 70 years on, UK polo returned to its spiritual home with a contemporary Twenty20 spectator friendly revival of this great tradition: the high-octane MINT Polo in the Park tournament.

This three day festival is the ultimate polo experience, the only tournament of its kind in the world, held right here in central London. It has a truly international flavour, with six global teams (IG Index Team Sydney, City A.M. Team Delhi, MINT Team London, Camino Real Team Buenos Aires, Otkritie Team Moscow and Mandarin Oriental Team Abu Dhabi) competing for glory. To ramp up the excitement for the pitch-side spectators, the teams have three players rather than four, and a scoring system encourages these galloping athletes to shoot from long range.

Spending an afternoon in the sun, as attentive staff top up your Pimms, MINT Polo in the Park offers a truly first-class solution to the eternal quandary of client entertainment. With a dress code of “glamorous”, this is a quintessentially British summer event in an iconic central London venue, with a sporting attraction that appeals to both genders. From private, Michelin-starred lunches, vintage champagnes, Al Fresco barbecues and afternoon High Tea, to informal picnics and the Harrods Food Court, MINT Polo in the Park provides every hospitality and hosting option you could imagine.

MINT Polo in the Park is as much about spending the afternoon talking in the gardens as it is about watching a high-octane equestrian battle, which has lost none of the ferocity of its original format. The Hurlingham Club itself is the centrepiece of 42 acres of immaculate gardens, and on Friday it hosts the Walking With The Wounded auction.

Walking With The Wounded is the official charity of MINT Polo In The Park – raising money to help wounded servicemen and women to find careers after injuries in combat. This year, members of the Everest 2012 Expedition, supported by Glenfiddich, will be at the polo, just two weeks after their Everest summit push. It’s a great opportunity to meet these impressive men and hear their stories first-hand, and of course to see the MINT Polo in the Park flag they will be taking to the summit.

City Friday is also the event’s corporate hospitality day, with the Veuve Clicquot After Party at The Hurlingham Club. If you are looking for a new way to have a great time with your clients, in a setting where you can dip in and out of the action and enjoy socialising, there is no better event in London.

Overall, MINT Polo in the Park offers something different: it is a mix of contemporary and heritage; of elegance and adrenaline; of glamour and equine industriousness. From the first moment you step through the gates of the Park and see the expanse of grass being criss-crossed by gladiatorial mallet-wielding horsemen, surrounded by a fixated crowd, you’ll be hooked.

The hospitality packages come at various levels of formality over a packed afternoon and evening, with three polo matches throughout the day.

By Ash Bhardwaj

To find out more, check out www.polointheparklondon.com .For hospitality packages contact Rachel Roullier at City Events on Rachel@cityevents.uk.com or 0207 936 5284 (all prices subject to VAT)