The Hon Mark Vestey was one of three polo legends honoured last night at the Audi Polo Awards in London.
“I’m very touched and humbled to receive such an award,” said Mark, when collecting his Caballus Lifetime Achievement Award.
The room erupted with applause as he added: “I spent 20 something years playing and 20 something years watching this wonderful, fun sport of polo — which I believe is the finest game in the world.”
The fourth running of the “Oscars” event for polo drew 350 guests from around the globe, to celebrate the heroes of the 2008 British polo season.
Also receiving the Caballus Lifetime Achievement Award at Park Lane Hilton last night was Prince Phillip and Cartier’s Arnaud Bamberger.
A shortlist of five for each of the 12 categories was drawn up in January by a nominations committee that included Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) chief executive David Woodd.
David commented: “The ceremony gives everyone a good chance to get together at the start of the season — while they are all still friends! It is a wonderful opportunity to recognise the teams that have won the Julius Baer Victor Lodorums.”
The online voting system introduced for the awards last year proved even more popular for 2009 — with over 600 polo fans voting for their heroes on www.audipoloawards.com.
Individuals and teams were recognised across all levels — low-, medium- and high-goal (note 1) polo, arena polo. The four most successful teams, who collected points in a series of tournaments, also received prizes, known as the Julius Baer Victor Lodorums. The most outstanding pony of the 2008 season, Noche, was also honoured.
The winners were:
• Pommery Most Outstanding Player: Tamara Vestey
• El Remanso Most Outstanding Arena Player: Ryan Pemble
• Longdole Most Outstanding Arena Team: Tchogan
• Reschke Most Outstanding Low Handicapped Player (-2 -2): Max Routledge
• The Kerry Packer Most Outstanding High Goal Pony: Noche
• The Polo Magazine Most Outstanding Medium Handicapped Player (3 -7): James Beim
• Audi Most Outstanding British Professional: James Beim
• Turtle Island Most Outstanding High Goal Team: Ellerston
• Cartier Most Outstanding High Goal Patron: Alfio Marchini
• Polistas Most Outstanding High Handicapped Player (8 – 10): Gonzalito Pieres
• Caballus Lifetime Achievement Awards: HRH Prince Philip; Arnaud Bamberger and the Hon Mark Vestey
• The Julius Bar Victor Ludorums: 18 Enigma; 15 Emlor; 12 Foxy Ladies Catering; 8 Carisbrook.