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April 27, 2015

British Polo Day Morocco draws in a Global Crowd

By Zahra Al-Kateb

Guests at British Polo Day Morocco. Credit Keoma YacOn Saturday 25th April, British Polo Day once again set foot on Moroccan plains for the return of British Polo Day Morocco, presented by Land Rover.

Taking place at the exclusive Jnan Amar Polo Club for the benefit of the Eve Branson Foundation – under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco – the event saw the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Eve Branson, British Ambassador to Morocco Clive Alderton, US Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush Sr, Ambassador Tibor Toth, Amar Abdelhadi, Fitriani Hay, Oliver Cheshire, Michael Ward, James Demetriades, Minal Bodani, Ron Wahid, The Honorable Tristan Phillimore, Viscount Melville and brothers Jeremy and Tom Jauncey, come together to raise a record US$205,000 for charity.

Traveling with Abercrombie & Kent, the British Polo Day itinerary took in some of the most spectacular corners of Marrakech, including a unique Land Rover Driving Experience through the Atlas Mountains visiting the Eve Branson Foundation’s project villages, the official launch party under the trees in the spa gardens of Royal Mansour and – on the eve of British Polo Day – a glamorous Medina Party spanning the myriad hidden courtyards, beautiful historic rooms and rooftop terrace of El Fenn.

On the day itself – Saturday 25th April – VIPs and guests arrived in style at the exquisite Jnan Amar Polo Club, in a fleet of Range Rovers. Set in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the Jnan Amar Polo Resort Marrakech is the first of its kind in North Africa. Its soon-to-be-launched Ritz-Carlton Private Residences offer a unique opportunity to live in the midst of this prestigious estate, while the Club’s superb new Ritz Carlton Hotel will open in 2017.

British Polo Day artist Mark Evans at Royal Mansour British Polo Day Launch Party. Credit Keoma YacA highly-entertaining game of Brompton Bicycle Polo provided the perfect quintessential British backdrop to the opening Champagne Taittinger reception.  The British Exiles took on the Rest of World team and saw Brompton’s Harry Scrope show the novices how it was done, while Jack Mann pulled off a spectacular tumble into the straw bale goal posts ending in a 1 – 1 draw!

Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson and his mother Eve whiled away the afternoon in the pitch-side Harrods Garden Party, while fellow guests posed for pictures with British Polo Day’s resident Harrods Green Man under the flower arch and sat for the brilliant caricaturist.

Eve Branson, Peter Prentice and Abdelhadi at the British Polo Day Morocco Gala Dinner at Dar Soukkar. Credit Keoma YacTaking their seats for lunch in the beautiful traditional Berber tents overlooking the polo field below, guests then watched the Royal Salute Eve Branson Commonwealth team take on their counterparts, Ritz-Carlton Jnan Amar Rest of the World. This proved to be a technical – and evenly matched – game which began with a great run by The Honorable Tristan Phillimore, opening the account for the Royal Salute Eve Branson Commonwealth team. However, Ritz-Carlton Jnan Amar Rest of the World showed great strength, with Rudolfo Ducos riding a fine line and scoring on two occasions and Lucas Tariditto ensuring that the home team crept into the lead by 3 goals to 2.5 at half time. The third and fourth chukkas were equally eventful with clever play from Viscount Melville and Nacho Tejerina, in particular, but it was the home side Ritz-Carlton Jnan Amar Rest of the World that overcame, winning 5 goals to 3.5.

The evening’s Gala Dinner at Dar Soukkar brought British Polo Day Morocco 2015 to a suitably glamorous close. A superb courtyard dinner under the stars – accompanied by fine wines from Justerini & Brooks – was followed by a rousing Royal Salute Quaich Experience in which Royal Salute’s Peter Prentice invited all the ‘kilted men of Scotland’ to join him on stage and lead a toast to Eve Branson with a ringing cry of ‘Slange Var’!

The Charity Auction –raising money for the Eve Branson Foundation, which supports education, employment and healthcare initiatives in remote Berber villages, as well as Jnan Amar’s children’s charity Ninos – was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening.

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Sir Richard Branson at the British Polo Day Morocco Gala Dinner at Dar Soukkar. Credit Keoma Yac (10)With lots including a week on Sir Richard Branson’s private paradise, Necker Island, seven days on the edge of wildness at exclusive retreat Nihiwatu, Sumba; four nights at the Royal Mansour and, of course, a Brompton bicycle, bidding was fierce from all corners of the room, raising over US$205,000 for the two charitable causes – a record for British Polo Day.

Eve Branson, Founder of the Eve Branson Foundation said: “The Eve Branson Foundation aims to create positive opportunities, working closely in partnership with the communities we support in the High Atlas Mountains, to bring about transformations both economically and socially.  This, our second ‘British Polo Day Morocco’, hosted again by the Jnan Amar Polo Resort, saw an incredible gathering of all the friends and supporters of the Foundation and was the perfect showcase and occasion, to raise the money we need to continue the hugely important work we do.”

Amar Abdelhadi, Founder of Jnan Amar Polo Club adds: “I am delighted to have once again hosted the annual charity polo event for the benefit of the Eve Branson Foundation.  I was inspired by Eve’s work which is bringing hope and a better future to the women and children of the villages of the Atlas Mountains. I hope all our guests have had an enjoyable weekend and I am thrilled at their support for the Foundation’s very worthy cause.”

(Source: British Polo Day)


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