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Asahi British Beach Polo Championships at Sandbanks

PUBLISHED: 16:18 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:29 22 April 2014

Archant

Champagne cocktails and chukkas played on the shores of ‘Britain’s Monte Carlo’ makes this a glittering summer event that attracts a stylish crowd and world class polo players

Richard Budd PhotographyRichard Budd Photography

One of the highlights of the South Coast’s ‘summer season’ must surely be the Asahi British Beach Polo Championships. This glittering adrenalin-fuelled event played out on the golden beaches of Sandbanks returns for its seventh year on the 11-12 July.

Supported by some of the world’s best arena polo players, the hotly anticipated beach festival promises even more excitement and glamour - both on and off the pitch. Founded by Johnny Wheeler and David Heaton-Ellis, the publicity for the inaugural Beach Polo Championships in 2008 was kick started by Piers Morgan drawing people’s attention to Sandbanks as ‘Britain’s Monte Carlo’. New ideas such as camel polo (stand by for elephants!), floodlit beach polo, equine displays and the glamorous appeal of the event to celebrities, has kept people talking about the Championships year after year.

During the two day event top polo players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales do battle on the Blue Flag beach at Sandbanks, an exclusive area of Poole often referred to as the ‘platinum peninsula’. The matches are fast and furious as the large orange ball flies around the sand at speeds of up to a 100 mph, while players expertly manoeuvre their ponies in and out of the fray, mallets flashing in the sunshine.

Arena polo has often been referred to as ‘ice hockey on horse back’ and the spectators are close to the action – so can fully appreciate the horsemanship, speed and gladiatorial nature of beach polo. The polo ponies love the sand as they can accelerate and stop fast and can turn extremely sharply. Plus they can always cool off in the sea after!

The thoroughbred ponies and high goal players love playing on the beach in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Jack Kidd who is a regular player for England at the Championships is a real fan of the event: “I have been lucky enough to play polo all round the world – Sandbanks is still one of my favourite weekends of the year. The polo is insanely competitive, the guests are always on great form and the beach parties - well they’re simply the best!”

Polo players and supporters have something of a reputation for letting their hair down after dark. The polo ‘Beach After Parties’ are a very cool but exciting place to relax, socialise and dance until the small hours. On the Friday evening live music will increase in tempo after the floodlit beach polo match with the most original DJs connecting with the mixed generation audience as they party on the beach.

The closing party on Saturday night brings an eclectic mix of sounds to rock the Jurassic coast. The title sponsors Asahi beer provides a refreshing balance to the flowing champagne and excellent food to fuel the dancing. It is rare to see people leave the beach before the famous 1am ‘survivors’ photo!

To complement the polo the Asahi British Beach Polo Championships offers a host of other activities such as ‘have a go’ polo, the Oakley Ladies Beach Volleyball, fashion shows, the charity Audi versus Polo Pony race and the vibrant retail village. Such a prestigious and stylish event is also an excuse to dress up though there is nothing to stop you having a quick dip in the sea too.

Whether visitors are dining in the waterfront Sandpolo Hospitality marquee, enjoying the exclusive VIP Experience, soaking up the atmosphere with General Admission tickets, or sitting outside the fence on the purpose built beach viewing area - this unique event is a chance for polo to show off its attributes to around 5000 supporters each year. The glamorous crowd, stylish venue and thrilling spectacle is an intoxicating mix. No wonder the Asahi British Beach Polo Championships is the ‘must see’ event for this summer.

***

Championship schedule

Friday 11th & Saturday 12th July

1pm Gates open

3pm Polo Match 1

4pm Beach Fashion Show

4.30pm Oakley Beach Volleyball

5.30pm Charity Race

6pm Polo Match 2

7pm Prize Giving

7.30pm – 1am Sandpolo Beach Party

10pm Floodlit Beach Polo – Friday night only

***

Tickets can be for either Friday or Saturday - General Admission: £25

Family Admission: £70 (2 adults/ 2 children *under 18) Entry from 1pm to 7.30pm, access to grandstand arena seating, main marquees, bars, food concessions and retail village

General Admission & Beach After-Party: £50

Entry from 1pm to 1am, access to grandstand arena seating, main marquees, bars, food concessions and retail village, Entry to the Beach Polo After-Party (Over 18s only)

Beach After-Party Only: £30

Entry from 7 pm (Over 18s only) access to main party marquee area, bars, food concessions and retail village

Sandpolo Hospitality: £168pp

Includes: Entry to the Sandpolo Hospitality Lounge 1pm-1am; access to grandstand seating and retail village; champagne reception; 3 course lunch; afternoon tea; joining celebrities and players for the Beach Party until 1am; Audi Chauffeur Service; group photograph

Sandpolo Beach Party VIP Table: £102pp (based on tables of 10 or 12)

Includes: Designated VIP table from 1pm - 1am; complimentary glass of Pimms; access to grandstand seating and retail village; After-Party Hostess Service from 7.30pm; opportunity to mix with the celebrity guests and polo players; bottle of vodka with mixers at your table; group photograph

Sandpolo Beach Party VIP: £72

Includes: Entry to the event and the VIP lounge from 1pm to 1am; complimentary glass of Pimms; access to grandstand seating, and retail village; an opportunity to mix with the celebrity guests and polo players

***

For more details about the event or to book tickets visit sandpolo.com

General Enquiries - info@sandpolo.com

Hospitality & VIP Tickets - sjw@sandpolo.com or 07812 191215

Sponsorship/Advertising - jw@sandpolo.com or 07796 693796

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