Black Tie British Polo Day Abu Dhabi


I am loving this tradition of attending the British Polo Day in Abu Dhabi, this was my third year in a row, which now officially makes it a tradition. The first time was a happy coincidence of #FlyingForALiving and #TravellingForPolo where the two were combined. An unexpected work flight took me to Abu Dhabi for a mere 24 hours, just enough to attend the BPD event and fly on. Last year I was in Dubai on holiday, so it was an easy stretch. This year I happen to be living in Dubai, and the team invited me to join the festivities.

This Saturday the 18th of March, BPD held the first event of 2017, at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo club in Abu Dhabi. I made my way down there, a short 40-minute drive from the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club where I work as social media executive, and was at a polo match earlier. So therefore was a bit late to witness my favourite part of the event; the Brompton bicycle polo. The reason this is my favourite is that the guys are brutal to each other and they fall off constantly. Fortunately the bicycles are not very high, so no one gets hurt, but it is amusing for spectators.

Brompton Bicycle Polo is no easy game to play. Photo credit Sam Churchill/British Polo Day 2016

Camel polo is another interesting feature at the BPD events in the UAE. It is a traditional game here and really requires a lot of teamwork. There is one man steering the camel and another hitting the ball. I guess it makes it easier as you only need to focus on one thing (I would be the ball hitter for sure ;)) Though you need to be very coordinated with your camel-mate to get it right.

It was a lovely evening of socializing. I absolutely love the diversity of guests at BPD events, especially here in the UAE. In one group we were 5 people; one man from Argentina who lives in LA, a couple from London, with the wife from South Africa and the husband from Australia, me a half Danish half Brazilian mix living in Dubai and a Greek friend who lives in London. The internationality  is just mind-boggling and results in wonderful conversations and connections.

The exhibition polo matches were quite intense. First off between the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Abu Dhabi team, sponsored by Vista Jet, who were victorious.

Followed by the very entertaining British Polo Day Plate match. Initiated by the traditional car parade,  where the teams were led onto the field by two Bentley Bentaygas, the match saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.

Photo credit Sam Churchill

Photo credit Sam Churchill

HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan led the prize giving ceremony, starting off by inviting the man himself, Lt. Col. Simon Ledger, up on the stage to receive a well-deserved round of applause for his commentary of the matches. The teams received their respective trophies and lots of pictures were taken.

Photo credit Sam Churchill

The BPD Team, I love seeing these happy faces around the world.

The evening continued with an excellent three-course meal paired with Justerini and Brooks wines including a live charity auction.

As Cinderella time approached I made my way back home with a smile on my face and lots of new memories to cherish and I was already looking forward to the next event, BPD Dubai, which is this Friday at our club the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. The brunch is by invitation only, but the picnic area is open to all and we encourage people to come and watch. It sure is a special day and trust me, the bicycle and camel polo are fun additions you won’t want to miss!


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