Longtime England polo player Will Lucas and ladies captain Nina Vestey were among those saluted at Monday night’s Audi Polo Awards. Winners across a dozen categories collected prizes at a black-tie dinner for 450 at the Savoy Hotel as clips of last seasons polo action were beamed on to giant screens.
Lucas, who won four major tournaments with Lovelocks in 2006, was named best British professional as well as best medium-goal player. Vestey, the first woman to win a senior England cap, won best female player.
Teenager George Meyrick, who had an outstanding season in 2006 with Dubai, won best low-goal player, Englishman Jonny Good was named best arena player and Howard Hipwood was voted best professional umpire. Guy Schwarzenbachs remarkable Gold Cup goals were replayed as he picked up his prize for best patron, and he was joined by his team-mates as Black Bears were named best high-goal side.
The late Billy Walsh, who dedicated his life to polo, and Doug Brown, who champions British players, received lifetime achievement awards, giving them passage into the HPAs Hall of Fame.
Organisers reported a 15-table waiting-list, and this was certainly a gathering of polo greats. One famous name, however, was unable to attend Adolfo Cambiaso, who was named best high-goal player, let Robert Thame, Dubais manager, collect his prize.
An after-dinner auction raised £70,000 for Prince Williams wildlife charity, TUSK. Top lots included a polo pony embryo donated by the Packer family, Christopher Hanbury, Rob Cudmore and the Beaufort Embryo Transfer Centre, at £28,000. A trip to Apes Hill the Barbados polo and golf club that is giving massive backing to a British high-goal side fetched £16,000. A polo lesson with Cambiaso and a photo etching of Prince Harry in the saddle also went under the hammer.