Queenâ€™s Cup Pink Polo at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club
This yearâ€™s edition of the Queenâ€™s Cup Pink Polo Ladies Tournament, sponsored by La Martina and B. Grimm, was â€“ as ever â€“ a popular and well-supported event in the Thai sporting and social calendar.
Hosted by Nunthinee Tannerâ€™s and Harald Linkâ€™s Thai Polo & Equestrian Club at Pattaya, it was in aid of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer, which provides free breast screening throughout the kingdom. A sum of US $33,478 was raised during the day with the help of a silent auction, donations and raffle ticket sales.
The La Martina fashion show on horseback opened the event; models, riders and celebrities all wearing the latest La Martina fashions, with a pink theme very much in evidence. In recent years, the La Martina brand has become iconic in Thai society and sport, thanks to Nunthinee Tannerâ€™s promotional work.
The tournament saw an encounter between ladies representing Australia and South East Asia; and, despite a difference in handicap aggregate, the teams were well-matched.
Australiaâ€™s highest-handicapped player was 1-goaler Katie Edmeades, well-known as a partner in JM Polo and as a trainer of young horses. Both rated at 0-goals were Victoria Kay Doolin, who took up the game four years ago, and Melissa McCarthy; while playing off â€“1 was Stevey Murphy, who runs her familyâ€™s Bluesky Pastoral Company, breeding polo/performance horses.
Representing South East Asia, Claudia Zeisberger â€“ a familiar figure at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club â€“ was putting together a team for the second year running. Her recruits were Daryl Yeap, from Kuala Lumpur; Melissa Tiernan from Singapore â€“ although another regular player at Pattaya â€“ and Karen Gan, who manages La Sarita, one of Malaysiaâ€™s leading high-goal teams.
The day before the tournament had seen torrential rain, and there were fears that polo would have to be cancelled; but he big day dawned with a brief shower, and then the sun came out.
Teams came onto the field to the strains of Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, and were led by a pair of pink Ferraris and representatives of Nunthinee Tannerâ€™s successful Young Ridersâ€™ Project, which is producing a new generation of Thai polo players.
South East Asia received 1Â½-goals on handicap and the first goal of the game saw them increase their advantage with a 30 yard penalty conversion. It seemed that neither team would score during the second chukka, but then Victoria Kay Doolin opened Australiaâ€™s account with a good penalty conversion.
Karen Gan increased South East Asiaâ€™s lead with two splendid field goals in the third chukka, so that as the fourth and final period began Australia lagged 1-4 Â½. The visitors were not finished yet, however, and suddenly they really began to play as a team. Katie Edmeades scored a hat-trick, reducing the difference to just half a goal, but the deciding goal was sent between the posts by Karen Gan, giving South East Asia a 5Â½-4 victory.
Mom Luang Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, Lady in Waiting to Queen Sirikit, presented the trophy to Claudia Zeisberger, and a pink suede saddle to Victoria Kay Doolin, who was named Most Valuable Player.
Guests of honour at the tournament included Mom Luang Piyapas Bhirombhakdi and her husband, Jutinan Bhirombhakdi, vice-president of Boon Rawd Brewery Co Ltd; Khunying Finola and Dr Kris Chatamra, of the Breast Cancer Clinic at King Chulalongkorn Hospital, Bangkok; HE Antonio de Faria e Maya, Portugese Ambassador to Thailand, and Madame Maria de Faria e Maya; and HE Jaime Leitao and Mrs Maria Edwardo Leitao of the Portugese Embassy.