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Meet the players

Polo players

There are over 68 polo clubs in the UK, many of which have professional polo players. All of the players at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach have either been professional players or are currently professional which is why Polo on the Beach is such a high handicapped beach polo match.

In a standard polo match each team has four players but as beach polo has a much smaller pitch there are only three players per team. All the players have to be right handed to avoid injury.

Here are some of the players who have been involved with Polo on the Beach. Teams will not be confirmed until very close to the weekend as the polo season is still underway and the players may still have professional commitments.

Andy Burgess

andy-3

Handicap 2 goals

After a career as a professional polo player around the world, Andy now runs South West Polo near Wadebridge. He teaches polo to novices, trains horses and works to develop the sport in the region. Andy will be riding his own horse Shrivar in the kitesurf challenge, racing kitesufer Dreya Bennett along the shoreline in a speed showdown. As captain of First Great Western, Andy is looking to reclaim the Watergate Bay Trophy after narrowly missing out at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach 2012. This year, he will also captain the Cornwall team who will play against the Rest of the World on Saturday.

Tim Vaux

tim-vauxsq1

Handicap 4 goals

Tim Vaux is one of Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach’s most experienced players and been a regular at Polo on the Beach for six years. This year he is playing in the Cornwall Team on Saturday as well as captaining Team Joules on Sunday. A professional player for many years, Tim runs the family business at Vaux Park Polo Club in Somerset. Equally at home on sand or turf he is regarded as an expert arena polo player. He has been playing polo for 12 years and currently owns 40 polo ponies of his own, as well as stabling another 60!

Richard Blake Thomas

Richard Blake-Thomas

Handicap 5 goals

A regular player at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach, Richard Blake Thomas missed last year’s event due to a broken ankle. He has made a strong recovery and seen his handicap increase from four goals to five. Richard plays for the Polistas team based at the Guards Club at Windsor Great Park and also plays for Wales. He breeds and imports horses specifically for polo and is the older brother of Andrew, who will play for rival team Joules.

Andrew Blake Thomas

Andrew Blake-Thomas

Handicap 5 goals

Younger brother of Richard, Andrew is also a regular player at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach. A former England international, Andrew is a firm favourite with the crowd here at Watergate Bay thanks to his prolific performances in front of goal which helped his team Joules to victory in 2012. Andrew currently plays for patrons in the UK and abroad.

Jamie Le Hardy

Jamie Le Hardy

Handicap 7 goals

Current England squad member Jamie Le Hardy is a qualified polo coach and professional player based at Crowdray Park Polo Club in Midhurst. Jamie has competed in polo matches in over 40 countries around the world, winning nine national opens. He spends most of his time playing in Argentina through the winter months.

Chris Hyde

Chris Hyde polo

Handicap 9 goals

Chris is Europe’s highest ever handicapped Arena player at 9 goals and was captain of the successful England team beating America in February 2013.  He also won the St Moritz Snow Polo in January this year with Team Cartier and was named World Polo Tour Most Valuable Player. This will be Chris’ debut at Polo on the Beach and we are very excited to be welcoming such a highly handicapped player to Watergate Bay.

Join the House Party and enjoy an amazing Cornish menu

Veuve Clicquot

Make the most of Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach this year and come along to the House Party VIP reception at the Watergate Bay Hotel on Sunday 19th May.

From 3pm as the action gets going on the beach you could be sipping rose Champagne cocktails and tucking into a traditional Cornish cream tea with jam, scones and Rodda’s clotted cream, cream on the top of course! As well as a selection of Danish open sandwiches with combinations like gravadlax and picked dill cucumber, hot smoked salmon and fennel, and blue cheese and bacon.

Scones

There will be plenty to eat and drink on the beach as well with the Veuve Clicquot Champagne deck and The Beach Hut barbecue and bar, which will be serving up beef rendang, grilled halloumi,  and the classic Beach Hut burger, from noon until 8pm.

House Party

For our VIP guests the party doesn’t stop once the trophies have been presented, head to the hotel’s Living Space for more Veuve Clicquot Champagne, delicious food and live music and dance until late into the night. Executive Chef, Neil Haydock, will be on hand to show off his new concept of ‘little dishes’ designed so that you can enjoy many different tastes and flavours. These will be contemporary dishes which take inspiration from around the world and show case the very best of Cornish produce. As a keen supporter of the latest Cornwall Food & Drink campaign #ChooseCornish, Neil is always looking to his local suppliers for the best quality produce.

You can expect dishes like spider crab, green mango and chilli, Heritage tomato Bonoconoi and pesto Genovese, chicken chasseur, mash and gremolata, moroccan lamb, cous cous and harissa, Eton mess, chocolate and mango pudding and chocolate mousse with chocolate crumb.

Forget the polo, we want to come just for the food!
Buy your House Party tickets online for £110 per person.

 

Meet the polo ponies

Polo on the Beach

The ponies are as important as the players in polo. In total there are 25 ponies taking part over Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach weekend including the two demonstrations and two matches. 18 ponies are travelling from Lytchett Heath Polo Club in Dorset, where Jemima and Rob Brockett train and lease horses specifically for polo, the remaining ponies will be coming from South West Polo Club and Vaux Park Polo Club.

Polo ponies are often not ponies at all; they are usually full sized horses ranging in size from 14.2 to 16 hands high at the withers (shoulders). Originally horses higher than 54″ were not allowed to play polo, today there are no limitations but the smaller horses, providing they can carry the weight of the rider and are fast, are better at polo than larger horses.

Many are thoroughbred crosses and some of the horses playing at this year are retrained racehorses. For many polo players the cost of importing horses or even breeding and training them from birth is very expensive, so being able to take on a horse that has already been ridden has many advantages. They are also very fast!

Shrivar

Shrivar

Shrivar is an Irish ex-racehorse who will be celebrating his sixteenth birthday this year. Throughout his racing career, he won over £30,000 in prize money. He is nicknamed “Lofty” as he is quite large for a polo pony. Capable of running at up to 40mph, Shrivar will be challenging a kitesurfer to a race along the shoreline in an action-packed test of speed on Saturday 18th May at 2:30pm.

Shrivar is also looking forward to his first guest appearance at Fifteen Cornwall’s Spring Farmers’ Market on 15 March 2014.

Ruby Flare

Capture

Ruby Flare A former racehorse, Ruby Flare was born and bred in Great Britain. She had some success over hurdles before being retrained as a polo pony. She’s very fast and agile, with the ability to get you where you want to be very quickly. She’s very gentle and great with children.

Negro

Negro

Negro is a regular player here at Watergate Bay and won Best Playing Pony at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach in 2008. Incredibly agile and quick, he is a big horse, with a big character to match. Originally from Argentina, he loves to have his photograph taken.

Panina

Panina

Originally from Argentina, Panina is an incredibly brave and determined polo pony. She is a keen a swimmer and an absolute machine on the ground. She will be looking to defend her Best Playing Pony title which she won here at Watergate Bay last year.

Pachu

Pachu

Pachu is a real gentleman. He is most capable, so powerful and often considered one of the favourites on the beach and at the polo club. He won Best Playing Pony in 2008 at the Sand Polo Championship in Sandbanks. Also born in Argentina, he’s a very determined pony.

Paddy

South West Polo lesson

Paddy (left) was bred from Ascot champion ‘Celtic Swing’. Following in the footsteps of his father’s legacy, he became a racehorse before being retrained as a polo pony. He is Irish-born and his father stood at the Irish National Stud, a big stud farm for top Irish stallions, so he certainly has good genes.

 

For the full weekend line-up visit our event guide, and to really get involved in the polo atmosphere treat yourself to a House Party ticket and become a VIP guest for the Veuve Clicquot reception on Sunday 19th May.