From Sotogrande to Santa Barbara, via Cowdray Park, we take a look at the key polo events across the globe in 2016. Follow the 2016 season at Telegraph Sport’s dedicated polo channel.
Cartier Queen’s Cup 2016, May 17 – June 12
One of the world’s leading polo tournaments, the trophy was first presented to the Club by HM The Queen in 1960 and she historically attends on finals day to present the silver cup. Last year proved a memorable tournament for King Power Foxes, who dominated the final and scored one of the best goals in recent memory.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, Cowdray Park, June–July
The 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup tournament starts on June 21 with the King Power side of ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha – perhaps with the Premier League trophy for good measure – returning to defend the title of British Open Champions. The semi-finals of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup will be played on July 13 and the high-octane final will take place on Sunday July 17. One not-to-miss on the sporting calendar.
The British Ladies Open Championship
Runs during the final week of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup with the culmination of the women’s event taking place on July 16, the Saturday of Gold Cup weekend.
Chestertons Polo in the Park, Fulham, June 3-5
Test Match polo for the England team returns to Hurlingham Park. Last year marked the first time Test polo has been played since 1939 and England will play on International Friday once again. The weekend will also see a Ladies’ Day and children’s activities.
British Polo Day, Henley-on-Thames, June 17-18
The global polo network, set up by two ex-Army officers, hits British shores after taking in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Morocco and the USA already this year. The sedate surroundings of the Black Bears Polo Club will be the host after a Friday night launch in London.
British Beach Polo Championships 2016, Poole, July 8-9
International polo, pro beach volleyball and a 4 x 4/Polo Pony Charity Race are on the agenda at this year’s event in Sandbanks. No better venue to match the glamour of this well-attended event.
USA SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
With insight from top US player, Nic Roldan
Palm Beach Polo Season & the US Open Polo Championship, runs until April 24
The high goal season in Palm Beach starts with three 20 goal tournaments followed on by three 26 goal tournaments all help at the International Polo Club and culminating in the US Open. The US Open Polo Championship, is the most prestigious tournament in the United States, it dates back to 1904 where it was first played at Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, NY and has been played at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida since 2004.
Nic Roldan’s insight: Wellington is my home town and as well as the home of polo in the US. Travelling in and out is easy plus there is the bonus of many dressage and show jumping riders also being based here for the winter season, an equestrian paradise all round with much to see plus not forgetting Miami is just down the road for those who want the South Beach experience.
7th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament, Palm Beach, March 31 – April 3
Watch great polo at one of the most elite polo destinations in the world, see over-the-top tailgate competitions and mingle with GPL and polo fans alike.
Roldan’s insight: This is such a fun event which is doing a great job at adding a new demographic to the sport and grows year upon year. It’s awesome to see people playing the game with genuine passion and enthusiasm. A must for everyones bucket list.
East Coast Open – Aug 28 – Sep 11, Greenwich Polo Club
Outside of IPC you can only find high goal polo at Grand Champions, Greenwich and Santa Barbara. The East Coast Open is one of polo’s most prestigious competitions in the United States and is in close proximity to New York City where the first polo match was played in the United States more than 125 years ago.
Roldan’s insight: Going to Greenwich in late summer is a great way to end your summer. The club is stunning. Peter Brant who owns the club is a keen art collector and next to the main field you will find the Brant Foundation housing part of his collection plus in the grounds you can find the stunning 12-metre high Jeff Koons puppy as if it were a natural part of the landscape.
Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open, Aug 12 – 28 Santa Barbara Polo Club
If one was told that in 1894 an exhibition polo match was held during a flower festival and from that sprouted a polo club, one would think that it sounds like a most British of stories and not the way one would expect Santa Barbara Polo Club to trace it roots to. Summer polo is the States is split between East and West (Pacific) coast and Santa Barbara Polo Club is the home of polo on the West Coast. The highlight of the season is the Pacific Coast Open.
Roldan’s insight: Spending the summer in Santa Barbara is a dream, its a great place to play nestled between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean it truly is magical. Being able to take the horses to the beach yet being only a drive away from LA. They also do a lot to encourage youth polo.
USPA International Cup *November 26 Grand Champions Polo Club
This is the U.S equivalent to HPA’s International day at Guards and is the culmination of Grand Champions Fall Polo season which is made up of 6 medium goal tournaments and two very competitive 20 goals. It is the last polo played in Palm Beach at the end of the year.
Roldan’s insight: Grand Champions offer a unique service with providing a series of week long tournaments both during the Fall and Spring. It’s a great way for out of town players to get the Palm Beach Polo experience and to get to play with many top players.
USPA Aspen World Snow Polo Championships, Dec TBC
This is the only snow polo tournament held in the US and has been going strong for almost 2 decades. Thanks to the Aspen Valley Polo Club’s organisation and horses it is very easy for out of town players to make this their snow polo debut or simply come and watch the spectacle.
Roldan’s insight: The is the best way to end the polo year and just after the Argentine open, time to both let off some steam on the slopes as well as time to relax in the most magical picture postcard of settings.
SOTOGRANDE 2016, Santa Maria Polo Club
The club hosts over 25 tournaments per year, with four of them recognized by the World Polo Tour. Now a hotbed of elite polo, the club has grand ambitions to further grow as one of the premier destinations for polo in Europe.
Easter and Spring season, Mar 18 – June 26
Santa Maria gets the “bocha” rolling for the Spring Season, a total of 12 tournaments over three months with plenty of activity in between.
Gold Cup, July 27 – Aug 28
The 45th edition of the International Polo Tournament will culminate with the annual Gold Cup at the end of August, with some of the biggest names in the sport contesting the trophy.
The spring season will start on Sep 1 with the San Jorge Open, culminating with the final of the 123rd Argentine Polo Open Championship, set for Dec 10. The question is: will Adolfo Cambiaso and La Dolfina be back for an incredible fourth defence of the Triple Crown?
Tortugas Open: Sep 27-Oct 15
Hurlingham Open: Oct 18-Nov 5
Argentine Open: Nov 19-Dec 12