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Chukkas away - the Sandbanks beach polo championships are back
THE excitement and glamour of beach polo returns to Sandbanks this summer for some fast and furious action along Poole’s golden sands.
Some of the world’s best players will compete for glory at the Asahi British Beach Polo Championships when it returns for the sixth year on July 12 and 13.
Teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be chasing the trophy won by Ireland after a gripping final against Wales last year.
There is floodlit night beach polo on the Friday evening, visiting international polo teams and the traditional after parties.
The spectacular sport played on the Blue Flag beach brings out the best of the thoroughbred ponies and high goal scoring players.
“I have been lucky enough to play polo all round the world – Sandbanks is still one of my favourite weekends of the year,” said Jack Kidd, who is a regular player for England at the championships.
“The polo is insanely competitive, the guests are always on great form and the beach parties well – they are simply the best,” he said.
There is a purpose built beach viewing area outside the fence and waterfront Sandpolo hospitality marquee inside, and around 5,000 supporters a year enjoy the two days of action.
Have-a-go polo, Oakley Ladies Beach Volleyball, fashion shows, the charity Audi v polo pony race and a busy retail village are among attractions while camel polo has also proved popular.
The event was founded by Johnny Wheeler, pictured, and the late David Heaton-Ellis in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength, with Piers Morgan drawing attention to Sandbanks as “Britain’s Monte Carlo”.
“A co-operative council and a large, stunning, easily accessible beach are the vital ingredients for us as event organisers,” said Johnny.
“Some good weather, the best polo players and an enthusiastic crowd is pretty important too,” he added.