Charming Devils On Horseback 2009: Races Spectators

Charming devils on horseback

As with the races, some spectators are there to watch the horses while others favour the social spectacle of the fillies, stallions and fashions.
Polo is the ideal playground for show ponies. The Victorian Polo Club’s season is in full swing around the state, but one-off social polo swings into action tomorrow at Werribee and Saturday at Albert Park. While the focus is on corporate back-slapping, there will be a sprinkling of Channel Nine celebrities, with former swimmer Giaan Rooney, partner of polo player Hamish McLachlan, as ambassador. Banks has been running Christmas Polo for three years and is relieved the event hasn’t slipped with the stockmarket. “We’re on par with last year, but if the market hadn’t decreased we would have been much bigger,” he says. In an act of generosity in tough times, Banks has given away a car park space for spectators to BYO party essentials. On Saturday it’s the Paspaley Polo in the City at Albert Park, run by Mark Pennell, director of International Communications and Events. Just follow the trail of Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Mercs, BMWs &151 and some ordinary cars as well &151 look for the Polo Ralph Lauren, and listen for the Mumm bubbly popping as an accompaniment to the salmon or chicken. Also in its third year, the event donates profits to Variety, the children’s charity. Tickets start at $50 and increase to $300 for a sit-down lunch in the Variety marquee. Pennell was driven to introduce polo to the city after seeing social polo in the south of France &151 on a beach. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is fantastic. Surely we can do something in Melbourne because we’ve got a good, solid polo fraternity.’ ” He sells the virtue of having his event in inner-city Melbourne. “The problem with other events is that you have to drive down to Werribee, and getting there and getting back is always a bit of a hassle.”
That’s if you like a drink or three, and it would appear most spectators are welded to their flutes.

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