Argentina, with a rich tradition in polo at every level, defeated PTF USA, 6-2, to win the fourth annual Polo Training Foundation (PTF) International Cup Thursday at Grand Champions Polo Club. After a thrilling 3-2 sudden death victory over Girls International (Riley Ganzi, Hope Arellano, Lolly Stanhope-White, Mia Novillo Astrada) in the opening round, the talented foursome of Santos Merlos, 11, Poroto Cambiaso, 11, Lucas Criado, 13, and Juanse Olivera, 14, bounced back with a convincing win. It was the first time the Argentine foursome played together as a team.
Goose Creek, hoping the law of averages would catch up with them, rallied for an 11-8 victory over Grand Champions-Casablanca in the George Haas Cup semifinal Tuesday at Isla Carroll East. Trailing 7-2 midway through the fourth chukker, Goose Creek’s foursome of Maureen Brennan, father and son Mariano and Peke Gonzalez and Tomas Garcia del Rio, outscored Grand Champions-Casablanca, 7-1, in the final two chukkers to clinch the win.
The sport’s next generation of polo players will be showcased at the fourth annual Polo Training Foundation (PTF) International Cup Thursday at Grand Champions Polo Club. One of the most-anticipated youth events of the winter season will feature four teams in a mini-tournament of eight chukkers. The teams are Argentina, England Jr. Colts, PTF USA and Girls International. The team rosters are: Argentina: Poroto Cambiaso, Lucas Criado, Juanse Olivera, Santos Merlos. England Jr. Colts: Jack Aldridge, Archie Fuller, Freddie Jodrell, Tom Jodrell. PTF USA: Malia Bryan, Kristos Magrini, Clark Mayer, Mackie Weisz. Girls International: Hope Arellano, Mia Novillo Astrada, Riley Ganzi, Lolly Stanhope-White.
The second month of the winter season, highlighted by the Sterling Cup and PTF International Cup, is under way at Grand Champions Polo Club. After a successful season-opening month at the nation's busiest and innovative polo clubs, players and teams continue to compete in the regular 6, 8, and 12-goal tournaments in addition to high goal and major youth tournaments. One of the club highlights of the month is the Feb. 22-March 11 Sterling Cup (16-20-Goal).
Faced with a must-win situation, Grand Champions-Casablanca's sixth-chukker rally fell short against Valiente I Sunday in front of a packed house at Grand Champions Polo Club. The foursome of Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Inaki Laprida and Juancito Bollini lost a gut-wrenching 10-9 decision to Valiente I, which advanced into Sunday’s quarterfinals. Led by 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, Valiente I took advantage of Grand Champions-Casablanca’s penalties and missed scoring opportunities to gain an edge and at least a one-goal lead for four chukkers.
Playing together for the first time in a tournament, Seacap captured the Aspen Valley 8-Goal Cup Final on Sunday at Pony Express. The foursome of Mike Davis, Henry Porter, Santino Magrini and Kris Kampsen defeated Hawk Hill (Ternan Tognini, Bauti Crotto, Gringo Colombres, Phillip Mactaggart), 13-11, in the championship final. Seacap finished the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record.
Patagones won its second tournament of the season-opening month at Grand Champions Polo Club. On a cool, breezy Saturday afternoon in front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audience, the foursome of Joaquin Avendano, Santi Wulff, Benjamin Avendano and Santi Avendano captured the Aspen Valley 8-Goal Cup Handicap Final with an impressive 15-11 victory over Odosan. Patagones finished with a 3-1 record. Odosan (Joe Chai, Juanse Olivera, Matt Coppola, Nick Manifold) evened its record at 2-2.
GSA, the youngest team in the tournament, won the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series Handicap Final on Thursday at Grand Champions Polo Club. The four teenagers (Henry Porter, 17, Santino Magrini, 15, Juan Zubia, 17, and Torito Ruiz, 18) defeated Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras, Inaki Laprida, Ramiro Cordero), 12-6. Playing together for the first time in the season-opening tournament, GSA (Global Student Accommodation) led from start-to-finish.
Grand Champions-Casablanca survived a rollercoaster ride for a thrilling 12-10 victory over Goose Creek on Wednesday to remain alive in the Ylvisaker Cup at International Polo Club Palm Beach. For the second game in a row, Grand Champions-Casablanca led at the half, but unlike its 15-8 tournament-opening loss to Valiente II, the foursome of Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Inaki Laprida and Juancito Bollini rallied for a crucial victory.
Willow Farm avenged an early tournament loss to Banks Mill Feed to capture the Metropolitan 6-Goal Cup Final with a thrilling 8-7 upset victory on Tuesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Banks Mill Feed (Hope Arellano, Agustin Arellano, Gillian Johnston, Lucas Arellano) was undefeated going into the final. Willow Farm (Mike Egan, Brendan Stenzel, Andres Weisz, Ted Brinkman), the oldest team in the tournament, broke a 7-7 tie in the final minute of the four-chukker matchup.
After getting knocked off last year, Cartier returned to the winners’ circle with a hardfought 7-4 victory over Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in the St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup final in front of 7,000 fans. With a breathtaking backdrop of the snow-capped Engadin Valley, the 16-goal team of 1-goaler Rommy Gianni of Italy, 2-goaler Charlie Wooldridge of England, 6-goaler Chris Hyde of England and 7-goaler Dario Musso of Argentina reclaimed the coveted Cartier Trophy. It was the first time Badrutt’s foursome of Melissa Ganzi, 8-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Argentina, 5-goaler Jesse Bray and 2-goaler Tito Gaudenzi played together as a team.
Patagones won the battle of the unbeatens with a hardfought 11-8 victory over Dutta Corp Saturday in the championship final of the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series at Grand Champions Polo Club. Patagones (Santi Wulff, Joaquin Avendano, Benjamin Avendano, Tavi Usandizaga) finished the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record but it wasn’t easy against Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Carlitos Gracida/Mariano Gracida). Patagones survived a marathon battle with Dutta Corp in a penalty-marred game.
Hawk Hill led from start-to-finish to capture the season-opening Metropolitan Cup 6-Goal Handicap title on a chilly Saturday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Hawk Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second chukker and went on to defeat Grand Champions, 5-2. Hawk Hill (Nico Diaz Alberdi, Juanse Olivera, Gringo Colombres, Philip Mactaggart) had too much offensive firepower and team chemistry for Grand Champions (Richard Desich, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor).
After leading at halftime, Grand Champions-Casablanca went cold and watched the game slip away Friday at Isla Carroll West. Valiente II, making its 20-goal season debut and playing with a substitute player in the final nine minutes of the game, rallied for a 15-8 victory in the opening round of the Ylvisaker Cup. Grand Champions-Casablanca’s foursome of Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Inaki Laprida and Juancito Bollini was shut out in the fourth and fifth chukkers and was unable to dig itself out of a hole.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is one of the team favorites for the St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup Tournament that gets under way Friday in Switzerland. The foursome of Melissa Ganzi, 8-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Argentina, 5-goaler Jesse Bray and Tito Gaudenzi will represent Badrutt’s. Ganzi, the Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions Polo Club president, returns to the 33rd event after making history in last year’s tournament.