Polo is a young sport in Denmark. The Danish Polo Association was formed as recently as 2012, with the first playing season in 2013. The Copenhagen Polo Club, currently the only club in the country, is located in the stunning grounds of Kokkedal Castle, based just outside Copenhagen.
The venue, Kokkedal Castle, is a real fairytale castle which was built in 1746 in the Nordic Rococo-style. In recent years, the castle has been transformed into a luxury hotel and spa with a gourmet restaurant, with emphasis on sports like golf and polo. A stunning exterior and classic contemporary interior make a beautiful combination and the castle is set amidst the rolling landscapes and forests of Northern Sealand with views of the sea, beach, and polo fields. The castle has become a weekend retreat for those seeking peace and relaxation from city life in a uniquely magnificent setting of relaxed grandeur.
Stine Andersson – 2
Tiffany Laura Sengelov – 2
Louise Sandberg – 1
TOTAL – 5
Copenhagen Polo Club
Natasha Ask – 2
Kezia Praesmark – 1
Mette Asmild – 1
TOTAL – 4
Winning Team: Copenhagen Polo Club (final score: 7/6.5)
Most Valuable Player: Kezia Praestmark
Best Playing Pony: Caldera, played by Louise Sandberg
Umpire: Mike Du Toit
Official Time Keeper: Linda Skovsende
Commentator, organizer and Polo Manager: Lucien Moore
Sponsor: Sexy Kaftans
Prize Presentation: Jacob Klingert Jacobsen
Photographer: Michael Friis
The club currently has 25 playing members. From the start, a vital part of the development of the sport in Denmark has been to develop women’s polo, and in the summer, there were already enough women players to be able to put on the first Danish Ladies Open.
The castle has been hugely welcoming to polo in its first year at this location, especially the Ladies’ Tournament. The terrace was laid out for lunch and a special post-match champagne lunch sponsored by Ruinart Champagne was laid on in the gourmet restaurant. The atmosphere before the match was one of excitement. A mixture of polo enthusiasts, as well as hotel and spa guests, gathered on the terrace to watch the match, many of them very excited after the recent Scandinavian Beach Polo World Cup which was held on the beach at nearby Hornbæk just a few weeks earlier. Amongst the spectators was Danish Anya du Toit, a modern-day Karen Blixen who created a utopian life on a farm in Kenya. The organizer of the tournament was polo manager Lucien Moore who had orchestrated the teams and the finer details, as well as the special lunch after the match.
Two teams of three players entered the tournament and spectators were able to watch alongside the pitch or from the raised terrace and stairs leading into the castle whilst enjoying a glass of champagne or some lunch. Due to a slight handicap difference, the Land Rover team started with 1/2 goal.
The Land Rover team was made up of very able Danish newcomers Stine Andersson at position 1 and Tiffany Laura Sengelov at position 2, who both took up the sport in Denmark in 2013. They played with Louise Sandberg at 3, also Danish, but with some years of experience of playing polo in the UK.
The Copenhagen Polo Club team featured a new Danish player, 13-year-old Natasha Ask, one of the youngest members of the club who already shows great talent. At position 2 was Danish player Kezia Praestmark, also one of the new members but has dedicated a lot of time to polo and fast-tracked through the club, rising to -1 in her second season. At position 3 was Mette Asmild, an experienced and strong Danish player, also with experience of playing in the UK.
The game was fast-paced from the beginning, with strong attacking plays from both sides and some nice open runs to keep the crowds happy. This, despite the going being wet in places due to the downpours in the days before the event. Copenhagen Polo Club was the first to score but was quickly answered by Land Rover. By half time, there was still only 1/2 goal in it with Copenhagen Polo Club just slightly ahead and everything was left to play for. The last two chukkas saw pressure and tension increase—however, the atmosphere of fun and enjoyment amongst the players was present throughout. It was nice and refreshing to see teams encouraging one another in runs and penalties. Despite being a goal and a half in the lead going into the last chukka, Land Rover was outplayed as Copenhagen Polo Club pulled forward to win with strong and accurate goals by Mette Asmild and Kezia Praestmark, the latter whom was selected as the Most Valuable Player. Prizes were presented by Jacob Klingert Jacobsen, the Director of the Scandinavian Beach Polo World Cup, an event which was held two weeks earlier on Hornbæk Beach.
Praestmark received her Most Valuable Player award to a great reaction from the crowds and Caldera, played by Louise Sandberg, was awarded Best Playing Pony.
The game was umpired by Mike du Toit, a special visitor and the President of the Nairobi Polo Club.
Copenhagen Polo Club has already seen a huge amount of growing interest in Ladies’ Polo following this tournament, with many new lady players coming forward to learn. It is hoped that this inaugural event will lead to many more in the future. The Danish Ladies Open will be an annual fixture and the club hopes to attract visiting international teams in the coming years.
Everyone involved in Danish polo is proud of how far the sport has come in such a short time. It is a testament to the many people who have dedicated a lot of voluntary time to the growth of Danish polo, and especially ladies’ polo, that in just the third year they are able to stage a tournament such as this.