Latest news in the polo world, including George Meyrick debunking the myth of polo players and the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015
George Meyrick may have been raised on a farm in Gloucestershire, attended public school in Cheltenham, and in his mid-twenties runs a strong of almost 20 polo ponies as he aspires to be an England international on a regular basis, but he insists that he is no Hooray Henry on horseback.
The myth continues that many of England’s leading polo players lead the good life. The reality, insisted 6-goaler Meyrick to Telegraph Sport, is that the players put in two shifts a day, and have to act, think, live and train as athletes. Meyrick even has a personal trainer, and indulges in yoga and plyometrics.
“I like to think we’re athletes. I like to put myself in that category,” explained Meyrick, who spent the winter in Argentina with the Merlos brothers, renowned polo players, breaking in horses and playing as much polo as he could.
He stayed with the Merlos family, paid his own way, and just did it as a sabbatical. He is not alone as an English player in such pursuits, and is already a squad member
“I work quite hard. I’ve been working with a personal trainer for the last few years called Matt Roberts. You’re looking at strength and endurance but without weight and bulk,” Meyrick said.
“You have to be very weight conscious and you have to focus on flexibility. It covers a lot. Most people think of just going into the gym and getting on the weights.”
Meyrick responds firmly at the notion that polo players are from upper class society, enjoying a pint and a cigarette after being taken around a field during chukkas on the back of a thoroughbred pony.
He added: “People look at it and say we’re just carried around by the horse, so surely it’s the horse that does all the work. Obviously, the horse does a huge amount of work, but it’s also physically tiring as well.
“The horse is working extremely hard, yes. It’s for a reason that you need seven or eight horses a game. If it was easy for the horse, you could just use one. But it’s also physically tiring for the players as well.”
Sandstorm on finals day fails to stop Desert Palm
The prestigious Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015 came to an end Sunday with Desert Palm – featuring Rashid Albwardy and Alan Meeker – defeating the UAE Polo Team 10-4 after a sandstorm had cancelled the subsidiary final in the morning’s play.
Unfortunately, the morning’s sandstorm had forced the cancellation of the subsidiary Desert Palm Trophy on pony welfare grounds and so Cartier Red and Abu Dhabi agreed to tie for third place.
Yet, after four fast-paced chukkas in the final, played in the afternoon, HRH Princess Haya presented the Cartier trophy to the winning team.
HRH Princess Haya, accompanied by the Marquess of Blandford, then awarded Amr Zedan of the Guards team with the La Martina Most Valuable Player of the Tournament Award.
The La Martina Best Playing Pony Rug was won by Ali Albwardy’s Castora, who was played by Desert Palm’s Diego Cavanagh.
For the first time, six 12-goal teams took part in the competition, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Cartier’s guests included the Guards Team co-patron HRH Prince Abbas bin Ali bin Nayef of Jordan, who was accompanied by his wife, HRH Princess Sima Al Abbas, and HRH Princess Yasmine Bint Asem bin Nayef.
Under the patronage and in the presence of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, joined in the Royal Box by Laurent Gaborit, Managing Director of Cartier Middle East and India, Ali Albwardy, Owner of Desert Palm, Neil Hobday, Chief Executive Guards Polo Club and American socialite, Olivia Palermo.
CARTIER INTERNATIONAL DUBAI POLO CHALLENGE TEAMS 2015
Desert Palm: Alan Meeker (0); Rashid Albwardy (2); Tom Brodie (2); Diego Cavanagh (8).
UAE Polo Team: Sandra Schneider (-1); HH Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum (0); Santiago Stirling (4); Lucas Monteverde (9).
Cartier Red: Clive Reid (0); Martin Valent (2); Tariq Albwardy (1); Matias Zavaleta (7).
Abu Dhabi: Faris Al Yabhouni (0); Nasser Al Shamsi (1); Ernesto Oscar Trotz (4); Alfredo Cappella (7).
Cartier White: Rashid Al Habtoor (0); Khalaf Al Habtoor (-1); Joaquin Pittaluga (7); Nacho Gonzalez (6).
Guards: HRH Prince Abbas Bin Ali Bin Nayef (0); Amr Zedan (0); Pablo Casero (2); Pablo MacDonough (10).
Cowdray Park Polo Club announces new sponsor
The home of The Gold Cup has announced prestigious champagne marque, Louis Roederer as the Official Champagne Partner in a significant signing which sees the champagne brand take on a major sporting sponsorship for the first time.
EFG International, already a supporter of Cowdray Park, will become the Club’s Official Banking Partner.
Peter Barfoot, Chairman or Cowdray Park Polo Club, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Louis Roederer and EFG International as Official Partners to Cowdray Park Polo Club, joining a growing list of prestigious names keen to be associated with the Home of British Polo.”