Ascot Week marks equestrian season

GLEBE FARM, BERKSHIRE, U.K. — There’s nothing on the Hollywood social calendar quite like Ascot Week in the U.K.

It’s the beginning of the Season, as they call it, and Ascot’s the highest and mightiest of high-society social whirls, revolving around all things equestrian. It extends from the famed Royal Ascot races to the Splendid Pictures Polo Cup at Canadian businessman and former Gold Cup champ John Manconi’s lovely Glebe Farm.

The Splendid charity event, attended by just two-dozen elite invitees, kicked off Ascot Week with showbiz glamour mingling with the roy-als and a handful of polo pros.

For the Hollywood-based Splendid, sponsoring a private match on the first day of Ascot was, says chairman-CEO David Glasser, “an irre-sistible opportunity to do something a little bit different than the usual film business party” as well as “a chance to contribute to two very meaningful charities.”

Back in the reel world, meaning Hollywood, Glasser and his partners are busy producing pictures such as “Narc,” which Paramount and Lions Gate recently picked up for distribution, and pacting with high-profile outfits like Madonna’s Maverick Films shingle.

Out here in the gentle, patrician fields of Glebe Farm in Berkshire, however, the talk was of chukkas and goals, not grosses and deals.

The Splendid team fell to the Highgrove team, 4-3, but losing to a crew that included three royals, HRHs Charles, William and Harry, pro-vided some solace. Off the field, Splendid was repped by Glasser, his father, exec producer and financier Richard Glasser, chief financial officer Thomas Weber and prexy/chief operating officer Andreas Klein.

Fittingly, the charities benefiting from the match were two of Prince Charles’ favorites: the ARC Addington Fund, established to provide assistance to the working farms in the U.K. that were ravaged by last year’s hoof-and-mouth catastrophe; and the Mihai Eminescu Trust, dedicated to preserving Romania’s architectural heritage.

Given the lineage on the field and the business and social aristocracy milling about, it’s doubtful anyone was suffering showbiz envy. When you’re King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prince Michel of Yugoslavia, or just a run-of-the-mill Eurobillionaire, who needs a three-picture deal?

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