Queen’s Cup Pink Polo at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club

Queen’s Cup Pink Polo at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club

This year’s edition of the Queen’s Cup Pink Polo Ladies Tournament, sponsored by La Martina and B. Grimm, was – as ever – a popular and well-supported event in the Thai sporting and social calendar.

Hosted by Nunthinee Tanner’s and Harald Link’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 Tanner’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.

Australia’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 –1 was Stevey Murphy, who runs her family’s Bluesky Pastoral Company, breeding polo/performance horses.

Representing South East Asia, Claudia Zeisberger – a familiar figure at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club – was putting together a team for the second year running. Her recruits were Daryl Yeap, from Kuala Lumpur; Melissa Tiernan from Singapore – although another regular player at Pattaya – and Karen Gan, who manages La Sarita, one of Malaysia’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 Tanner’s successful Young Riders’ Project, which is producing a new generation of Thai polo players.

South East Asia received 1½-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 Australia’s account with a good penalty conversion.

Karen Gan increased South East Asia’s lead with two splendid field goals in the third chukka, so that as the fourth and final period began Australia lagged 1-4 ½. 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 5½-4 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.