Santa María Polo ClubSotogrande’s Santa Maria Polo Club is getting ready for its most important tournament of the season – the 44th Land Rover International Polo Tournament.

When we say most important, we really mean it. In terms of numbers somewhere in the region of 73,000 people are expected to attend, spending €30 million in the Campo de Gibraltar area and directly employing 500 people at the event itself.

Not only is it an exciting sporting occasion but it has become one of the main social highlights of the year, not just for Sotogrande, but for lovers of this venerable sport all around the world.

In recognition of its standing in the polo world, the World Polo Tour (WPT) has now upgraded the event’s status in both High and Medium Goal.

The High Goal Gold Cup, again sponsored by Italian jewellers Bvlgari, is the big prize at the event and the winner will now pocket 125 points for the tour classification, which makes it one of the top three tour events, on the same level as the Queen’s Cup in England and behind Argentina’s Hurlingham Polo Open.

That alone would be enough to attract some of the top players in the sport, but add in the fact that the 44th Land Rover International Polo Tournament now counts as a qualifying tournament for the World Championships and its allure becomes irresistible.

Polo Club Map

The Silver Cup has also been moved higher up the rankings, with the winners being awarded 90 points for the tour and it too becoming a qualifying tournament for the World Championship.

The WPT has also included the Medium Goal tournament in the Challenge Cup category and the competition’s Silver and Gold Cups will be worth 20 and 40 points respectively for the classification.

After PoloBut the tournament is about much more than the polo alone; it is a wonderful place for a family day out. More than 5,000 square metres have been set aside for children, with a host of supervised activities lined up to keep the youngsters happy. shoppingThere are field archery and blowgun events, as well as pedal karts, fun inflatables and even a zip line circuit and a climbing wall; enough to keep kids of all ages happy. The children’s area is open from 5pm until 10pm at Entrecancha A between the Los Pinos fields II and III. This is also the location for the food trucks experience, with a selection of cuisine from around the world on offer from vintage trucks. The fun doesn’t stop with the polo, as bars are open until 1am with DJs and plenty of entertainment on match days to keep even the most hardened socialite happy.

FishTruck-400There will also be a Polo Village immediately next to the plush club house, at Entrecancha B between the Los Pinos fields III and IV, with shops selling luxury brands ranging from jewellery to clothing, plus many polo related items and of course bars for a cooling drink, great gastronomy – this year focussing on ember bed cooking – as well as plenty of après polo action amid a truly glamorous social scene. A popular feature this year is the elevated bar area, which boasts views across the Los Pinos III and IV fields, so you can enjoy a cooling drink without missing any of the action.

Handicap 10All this makes the 44th Land Rover International Polo tournament not just an unmissable event in the equestrian world, but the focus of the coastal area and exclusive Sotogrande’s summer social scene.

The tournament started on Tuesday July 28 and runs until Saturday August 29, and entrance is free. For more information, click here.

By Jackie Cruz - Manifesto · August 11th 2015