HOLD the Veuve, the 2018 Pacific Fair Magic Millions is all about the punter … and polo.
It has long been referred to as the sport of kings but CEO of Harvey Norman Katie Page is all about bringing polo to the people.
Kids under the age of 15 will be free for the January 7 world-class event, and adult tickets capped at $35 as Magic Millions organisers make the most of rejuvenated public parkland at the Gold Coast.
The event, which kicks off the annual yearling sales, is inspired by Magic Millions ambassador Nacho Figueras, one of the world’s top polo players and the face of Ralph Lauren.
The impossibly handsome Argentinian — who is a close friend of fellow polo obsessive Prince Harry — is making it his mission to bring the elitist sport to the masses.
The 40-year-old father of four, who is married to fellow Ralph Lauren model Delfina Blaquier, is passionate about recreating the experience of his childhood growing up on a farm near Buenos Aires, where polo was a game played by everyone, everywhere.
In a major coup for organisers, Figueras will be the star attraction at next Sunday’s Gold Coast event as the captain of the Veuve Clicquot Magic Millions Polo team.
Katie Page, who with husband Gerry Harvey co-owns the Magic Millions, said Figueras was the perfect fit for the event.
“The only elite thing about polo is the players — they are elite athletes,” she said.
“Once you have seen the speed of the horses, mallets and balls flying, you get an appreciation of the skill, strength and courage it takes to play polo.
“Nacho Figueras has made it his life’s work to take polo to the people so he is just the perfect choice to headline Magic Millions Polo 2018.
“We want everyone — all ages — locals and visitors to enjoy an amazing day on the Gold Coast.”
Ms Page said polo’s popularity has exploded in recent years “with good reason”.
“Adrenaline, live sport; understated glamour; good food; stunning setting all with family and friends. Ticks every box for the perfect Sunday summer afternoon.”
While there will be high-end VIP areas, the Gold Coast event is gearing up to be a family-friendly affair with live entertainment from start to finish.
Aussie country singer Adam Harvey will provide the music and horseman extraordinaire Guy McLean — who regularly performs to sellout crowds in the US — will display his skills.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the polo without a decent dose of glitz and glamour.
In the VIP marquee, members of racing royalty will lead the charge.
Olympian Zara Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter and her husband, former England rugby player Mike Tindall will be in attendance as will Francesca Cumani and her husband Rob Archibald.
For the VIP guests, 20 chefs will spend nearly 300 hours prepping 25 kilos of salmon, 98 kilos of chicken, 100 kilos of meat, 228 bunches of herbs for delicacies like lamb pies, polo burgers and ranchero chicken in soft buns.
Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps and more than 200 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label will be just some of the refreshment options keeping patrons hydrated.
On the field, Hugh Bowman, the guru who has guided WINX to 22 straight wins and who has just been named as the world’s best jockey, will be making his polo debut in the jockeys v trainers game.
He will be joined by Kathy O’Hara taking on trainers Chris Munce and Michael Kent.
Hamish McLachlan from Channel 7 will combine to make up the playing and commentary team alongside Nacho Figueras.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Getting the horses ready for the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo in the week running up to the event is no easy task, with the well-planned preparations similar to a military operation.
Here’s the lowdow on the logistics involved:
• The event’s 45 horses are sourced from southeast Queensland polo community
• Their daily diet will involve 5kg grain, hay/roughage, oil, electrolytes
• Physical preparation for the day is intensive — the horses will be exercised twice a day by eight grooms
• During the games the horses can travel between 6 and 8kms per chukka and will reach speeds of up to 55km/h.
• The sport requires some incredible horsemanship from players who are required to get on an unknown horse and ride at such pace with such skill.
• Typically they use one horse per chukka (there are four chukka’s per match)
• The average age of polo horses is 8-9 years compared to a racehorse average age of 3 years