The Great Trippetts Polo Club Challenge, which has been running for the past 11 years, is a date in many sport fans calendars. Taking place at Cowdray Park, the ground has played host to some serious talent and this year was no exception.

Last year, the eight-day competition served as a chance for many to reflect on the life of James Wentworth-Stanley on the 10th anniversary of his death. He was the son of Clare Milford Haven, the Marchioness of Milford Haven, and stepson of George Milford Haven, who is a cousin of the Queen.

George previously owned the utility switching company, which he sold in 2006 for an estimated £210 million.

As occurs every year, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge took place at Cowdray Park Polo Club. The challenge was first set up in memory of James by Clare and George Milford Haven in 2007. The family is keen to raise awareness among other parents of the consequences of depression, including preventing at-risk individuals from viewing suicide-endorsing websites and ensuring there are enough helplines available to young people who are suffering from anxiety or depression.

The trophy that the winners are awarded has James’ name etched on to it and is sponsored by Jaeger Le-Coultre, who have been a big support to The Trippetts Challenge. The event typically takes place during May. In 2015, UAE took the title, and in 2016 it was held by La Indiana (who also went on to reach the finals of both the Gold Cup and the Queens Cup that year). The Trippetts Challenge serves as a warm-up to the Queen’s Cup at Guard’s Polo Club.

For 2017, the James Wentworth Stanley Memorial Cup – the first high-goal tournament in the UK polo season – was lifted by the all-English El Remanso polo team (consisting of Oliver Cudmore, James Beim, James Harper and Charlie Hanbury). They played in the final against Murus Sanctus (Martin Podesta, Corinne Ricard, Facundo Sola, and Hilario Ulloa), with seven teams involved in the challenge overall. Despite the tournament being interrupted by rain, the first goal in the final match was swiftly scored by the winning team thanks to Ollie Cudmore, and in the end it finished 11-8.

Last year’s winners, La Indiana, ended the tournament by defeating La Bamba de Areco (consisting of Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida, Jean Francois Decaux and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr) and against Sommelier (Juan Gris Zavaleta, Fred Mannix, Alec White and George Hanbury), with a round-robin play that saw a 4-0 record.

The prizes to all the players were presented by Clare and Zahra Kassim-Lakha, the Director of Jaeger Le-Coultre UK and Global Strategy, while Clare Milford Haven presented the memorial cup to Charlie Hanbury. There was an additional prize for Best Playing Pony, which went to James Beim’s ‘Kimberley’.

The event is a key date on the society calendar, largely also thanks to its connection with George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven (also known as George Milford Haven), who is both a British businessman and the head of the House of Mountbatten. He took this role in April 1970, upon the death of his father, and is also in the line of succession to the British throne as a result of being a direct descendent from Princess Alice, who was Queen Victoria’s second daughter. George Milford Haven married Clare Milford Haven, who spent many years working as the social editor of Tatler, in 1997. George Milford Haven is also a keen polo player, and has been coached by Julian Hipwood. His royal connections and love of the sport have helped bring great kudos and respect to the Trippetts Polo Challenge.

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Jeffrey Elder