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The Harrods-sponsored event came to London for the first time this summer. We popped along to the renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a morning of hospitality on the competition’s second day.
Words: Heather Steele
After getting lost in the packed, labyrinthine Westfield Stratford City, our morning took a more civilised turn when we arrived at the event.
A temporary commercial village (with Harrods’ approved stalls such as Mango Tree present) and grandstand seating for 3,000 spectators had been put up especially for the competition, which was forced to relocate from its original location in Kensington a few weeks before.
After a quick tour around the village, we took our ringside seats in the VIP area, which had cracking views of the action.
Over the course of the three-day event, rumour was that the likes of Roman Abramovich and Bruce Springsteen were to make an appearance. The Boss’ daughter, Jessica, was competing!
By midday we’d moved from coffee to Champagne and spritzers, while guests were able to graze from Harrods’ Bespoke Events buffet, which remained stocked throughout the day.
Our favourite was the salmon en croute, although as we reluctantly left, they were carving up the biggest joints of meat we’d ever seen. Doggy bag requests were considered.
Best bit: getting to grips with the points system. A couple of jumps in and we were hooked. We also enjoyed comparing the horses – something we definitely weren’t expecting to find so interesting!
Room for improvement: a bit more atmosphere, please. Granted, it was Friday morning – and not the main event over the weekend – but facing a stand of empty seats, while Brits were winning medals, was a bit of a buzz kill.
Suppliers: Harrods Bespoke Events, Longines, Sapinda, Massimo Dutti.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, E20