Audi Polo Awards 2012 from Justin Powell on Vimeo.
The Very Best in the World of Polo are Recognised with the Audi Polo Awards for 2012
As the most glamorous night in the English polo calendar, often being referred to as the �Oscars of the polo world�, the Audi Polo Awards were held at Coworth Park, Ascot, to recognise the very best in the sport for the last 12 months and the true legends of the game.
Major Winners of the Audi Polo Awards
This year�s event saw the introduction of a new award, The Polofix Outstanding Contribution to World Polo. Ros Packer, wife of Kerry Packer- the late media tycoon and former patron of the Ellerston team, flew in specially from Australia to present the award to Jim Gilmore. No one in the know would doubt the impact that Jim has had on the sport globally. He introduced the Packer/Ellerston set-up to polo and has created, single-handedly, what is universally considered the most influential organisation in the sport over the past 20 years.
Ros also presented The Kerry Packer Most Outstanding High Goal Pony Award to Juan Martin Nero�s horse, Chica, who won Best Playing Pony in The Queen�s Cup Final of 2011.
Other big winners of the evening was Lyndon Lea�s Zacara team, who scooped up two high goal accolades, following its impressive win of The Gold Cup last year. His personal performance in the Final, despite playing with a broken hand, having broken it just one week before, deservedly earned Lyndon The Royal Salute Most Outstanding High Goal Patron. To add to Lyndon's personal recognition, the occasion was made even more memorable for Zacara when they were also awarded The Apes Hill Most Outstanding High Goal Team.
2011�s other main success story was that of the Talandracas team, which succeeded in lifting The Queen�s Cup trophy for the first time ever. It was Argentine, Facundo Sola�s name who was on everybody�s lips following his impressive performance throughout the tournament and, as a result, it would have been wrong for anyone else to have been awarded The Tally Ho Most Outstanding Medium Handicap Player (4-7), and, although no one else on the Talandracas side made it up onto the podium,
As well as both last season's winners, there is one other organisation that certainly cannot be ignored, and that is Les Lions. Although they didn't manage to lift either trophy, they have reached the finals of both tournaments in the past two years which is no easy achievement and ultimately shows that they have been one of the best high goal teams consistently. As a result, and quite rightly so, Sebastian Merlos was voted as The Kent & Curwen Most Outstanding High Handicap Player (8-10 goals) following his performance throughout both the season.
Although, as always in polo, the South Americans were very much present at the Audi Polo Awards, it was in fact the British that stole the show with both men and women picking up prizes, indicating that England is very much on the world polo map.
Players Ollie Cudmore and James Beim took to the stage to collect awards - Ollie was awarded The Avios Most Promising Player (0-3 goals) award for the third time in his career - an achievement currently matched by no other. James Beim was presented with The Audi Most Outstanding British Professional for the second consecutive year, and in total has won the award an impressive four times, more than any other individual.
Then it was Lucy Taylor who won it for the girls, being awarded The Champagne Pommery Most Outstanding Lady Player for the first time. Lucy is consistently considered to be one of the top five English girls, so it was only a matter of time before she was invited up onto the podium.
The HPA Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented to those who have had a significant influence on the sport and have made substantial contributions to polo the UK. This year, these prestigious accolades were award to Jim Haigh, who is currently Chairman at Toulstone Polo Club, Yorkshire, and has been Chair of the HPA�s Finance and Grants Committee from 1994 until present, as well as the late Alec Harper, a former 6 goal player and Secretary of the HPA from 1971 � 1989.
The event is not just a celebration of high-goal victories and accomplishments, the award also recognise teams and individuals who take part in the 8, 12, 15 and 18 goal Julius Baer Victor Ludorum tournaments, as well as those who play Arena Polo. The winners of each Victor Ludorum prize are those teams that have proved to be the most successful at a particular level throughout the season. Guy Schwarzenbach�s Black Bears team won both the 15 and 18 goal Victor Ludorum tournaments last season, making a real impact at both those levels, proving it was a difficult to beat and will undoubtedly be aiming to do the same this coming season. Simon Arber�s Four Quarters Orange won the 12 goal section and Janie Dear�s Apache side lifted the 8 goal Victor Ludorum, both teams for the first time.
As a member of both Four Quarters Orange and Apache, Jack Richardson gained the undisputed recognition when he was announced as the winner of The Julius Baer Victor Ludorum Most Outstanding Young Player.
Audi is the biggest sponsor of polo in the UK. The prestigious car marque has recently increased its support for the sport by announcing the creating the Audi Polo International Series for the forthcoming season, which includes the International at Beaufort Polo Club, Tetbury , and Guards Polo Club, near Windsor, together with the first ever International Chester Racecourse Polo Club.
Jon Zammett, Head of PR for Audi UK, says: �We are delighted with how the Audi Polo Awards have grown to become a key social event in the UK season. The Awards provides the perfect occasion to bring everyone together at the beginning of the British season.�
The Audi Polo Awards were attended by a record crowd, which read like a �Who�s Who� of the sport, including Facundo & Nico Pieres, Jean Francois Decaux, Juan Martin Nero, John Paul & Nina Clarkin, Malcolm Borwick and Nic Roldan. The awards are recognised by the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) � the official governing of the sport in the UK.