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NZ’s top polo tournament ready to play

Mystery Creek’s Will Harper makes a move. Photo NZ Polo

The first big competitive polo tournament on the global polo calendar for 2021 is coming to Clevedon in February.

Recognised as the nation’s most prestigious and competitive polo event, the BMW NZ Polo Open will be held at the Auckland Polo Club, Clevedon on Sunday February 21.

Next year will mark the 44th year for the renowned NZ Polo Open that is cemented as a summer highlight on New Zealand’s sporting and social calendar.

Despite this year with Covid-19 and the current border restrictions, event director Lucy Ainsley is confident the event will be one of the best yet.

“The teams for 2021 will be predominantly Kiwi polo players and, with more teams entered, the competition will be tough which will make it great for spectators,” says Ainsley.

“We are proud to have BMW as our official partner and fantastic returning sponsors with some exciting new ones on board too. We are doing everything our end to make it an exceptional day out, one that after all the lockdowns we all need.”

The popular Fashion on the Field will return, as well as the Veuve Clicquot and Rodd & Gunn Dashes, and the George FM Afterparty on the Club Setter Lawn. Ahead of the Parade of Champions, the famous Horsepower Race between a BMW and one of the polo horses will once again entertain the crowd.

Karol Abrasowicz-Madej, managing director of BMW Group New Zealand, says, “Following the success of last year’s event, BMW is delighted to sponsor the NZ Polo Open once again. Polo is a dynamic sport that requires strategic innovative thinking, superb performance, and precision by the players.

“It is also aesthetically beautiful to watch. These qualities align perfectly with our BMW brand. Our involvement in the 2021 event will combine luxury and entertainment, making for an amazing day for polo players and spectators alike.”

Like all global sports and the athletes that accompany them, Covid-19 has had a big impact on the international polo tournaments and community. Whilst there have been several matches around the world that have proceeded, it has been with amended teams and limited spectators.

Like many professional polo players, Cambridge-based polo player Kit Brooks (and a member of the current title-holding Mystery Creek team for the last four years) has been unable to travel offshore to play this year.

Consequently, his focus has been on training young polo ponies for the upcoming seasons, and New Zealand polo ponies have long held a great reputation for being some of the best in the world. “I am looking forward to playing again in the BMW NZ Polo Open,” says Brooks.

“Not only will it be the first big competitive polo tournament on the global polo calendar for 2021, it’s also a chance for people to come and enjoy the great atmosphere and everything what polo has to offer.”

Ainsley adds, “With the calibre of New Zealand polo players taking to the field this year and with all the sideline action, the BMW NZ Polo Open is set to be fantastic homegrown affair – a thrilling one to watch, and a wonderful social day out.”

BMW is official partner once again. Photo NZ Polo

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