Brandon Phillips scored back-to-back goals in the fourth chukker to lead Virginia-based Altair Polo to a 7-6.5 victory over The Polo School to capture the Grand Champions Cup Saturday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. It was the Middleburg, Va.-based Altair Polo’s (Ashley Busch, Grant Ganzi, Brandon Phillips, Juancito Bollini) second spring tournament victory in three years. The foursome of Busch, Santos Bollini, Brandon Phillips and Carlitos Gracida defeated Newport (Lucas Escobar, Gene Goldstein, Lucas Lalor, Nacho Lezica), 10-9, to win the 8-Goal Spring Challenge Tournament at Grand Champions in 2015.
The always exciting USPA Eastern Challenge gets under way Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club. Five teams will compete during the two-day tournament. Two opening round games are scheduled for Friday. Newport opens play against Dutta Corp at 11 a.m. on Field One. Dutta Corp is coming off its spring season-opening tournament win over Whitehall Ranch.
-Dutta Corp came full circle in its spring season-opening victory in the Santa Rita Abierto final Wednesday at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club. It was the second consecutive year the team won the tournament. Last year as a 15-goal team, Dutta Corp won the 16-goal rated tournament with pro Matias Magrini, brothers Carlitos and Mariano Gracida and Timmy Dutta. This year the talented 11-goal team of Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi and Carlitos Gracida won the 14-goal tournament with an impressive 12-5 victory over Whitehall Ranch.
Valiente, making its spring season debut, captured the Santa Rita Handicap Saturday at windswept Valiente Polo Farm. Valiente (Poroto Cambiaso, Mia Cambiaso, Robertito Zedda, Pablo Spinacci) was the top finisher in the two-day round robin tournament. Graff Capital (Tommy Graff, Pablo Dorignac, Juan Bollini, Markus Graff) was second and Altair (Ashley Van Metre Busch, Will Jacobs, Jesse Bray, Brandon Phillips) finished third.
Grand Champions Polo Club opens its spring season Thursday with the Santa Rita Abierto and Handicap Tournament. The first of six tournaments kicks off what is expected to be the best spring season in the club’s ten-year history. Seven teams are entered in the Santa Rita Abierto and Santa Rita Handicap. The Santa Rita Handicap begins Thursday at Valiente Polo Farm at 4:30 p.m. with a round-robin between Altair, Graff Capital and Valiente.
In front of a record crowd at Grand Champions Polo Club, Palm Beach Illustrated won the coveted $100,000 World Cup presented by Audi. The talented foursome of Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood won the eight-day, winner-take-all tournament with an impressive 13- 7 victory over Valiente I. In front of the largest star-studded crowd ever to witness a polo game in Grand Champions’ history on a windy Saturday afternoon, the 21-goal underdog team finished the 16-team single-elimination tournament undefeated with a perfect 4-0 record.
In what promises to be one of the best finals of the season at Grand Champions Polo Club, the $100,000 World Cup will pit underdog Palm Beach Illustrated against powerhouse Valiente I on Saturday at 4 p.m. Valiente I, a 16-goal rated team, advanced into the final with a lopsided 16-9 victory over Orchard Hill in the opening semifinal on Thursday. In the second semifinal, Palm Beach Illustrated, a 21-goal rated team, stunned Valiente II, 17-12, in the second semifinal to spoil what was expected to be an all-Valiente final.
The stage is set for the much-anticipated semifinal round of the $100,000 World Cup. After four second round games on Monday and Tuesday, Valiente I, Valiente II, Orchard Hill and Palm Beach Illustrated advanced into Thursday’s semifinal round of the 16-team, single-elimination, winner-take-all, 0-26-goal tournament. At 11 a.m., Orchard Hill will play Valiente I and 4 p.m., Palm Beach Illustrated meets Valiente II. Both games will be hosted by Valiente Polo Farm.
Deeridge, one of the tournament underdogs, knocked off San Saba, 12-7 on Day 5 of the $100,000 World Cup Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club. The seven-goal rated team with 14-year-old Will Jacobs, 16-year-old Santos Bollini, Lucas Lalor and Wes Finlayson, took San Saba’s Dawn Jones, Luis Saracco, Tomas Garbarini and Luis Echezarreta out of its game to win the final game of the first round of the 16-team, winner-take all single-elimination tournament. Deeridge is one of eight teams to advance into the second round that opens on Monday with three games.
With a former hockey player in the lineup, Orchard Hill rallied for a 15-12 victory over Travieso on Day 4 of the $100,000 World Cup Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club. With 26-goal Orchard Hill (Polito Pieres, Juan Chavanne, Facundo Pieres, Steve Van Andel) focused on Sunday morning’s U.S. Open game against Audi, the defending champions sent a talented backup team. The foursome of Frank Evans, minus-1, Lucas Criado Jr., 0, Felipe Vercellino, 5, and Lucas Criado, 8, moved Orchard Hill from a 26-goal team to a 12-goal team against 6-goal Travieso (Mackie Weisz, 0, Tony Calle, 2, Julio Ezcurra, 4, Juanse Olivera, 0).
Even though the lineup had a different look, GSA continued its winning ways on Day 3 of the $100,000 World Cup Thursday at Grand Champions Polo Club. Global Student Accomodation (GSA), the winningest 12-goal team during the winter season, defeated Casa Dio, 15-12, in the opening round. With Juan Martin Zubia and Santino Magrini back home in Argentina, GSA regulars Henry Porter and Torito Ruiz were joined by their coach Matias Magrini and Joaquin Panelo, another talented young up-and-comer, in the lineup.
Palm Beach Illustrated knocked off International Polo Club with a stunning 14-8 victory on Day 2 of the $100,000 World Cup Wednesday at Grand Champions Polo Club. The talented foursome of Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood, playing together for the first time, moved into a serious contender’s role after frustrating the talented IPC team of Grant Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Jesse Bray and Juancito Bollini from start-to-finish. “This was a really big win for us,” said the 21-year-old Zenni. “We are one step closer to the final and that’s our ultimate goal.”
Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flexjet will meet Thursday in the U.S. Open at International Polo Club Palm Beach. Audi (Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Magoo Laprida, Alejandro Novillo Astrada) and Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Nico Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade) are two of the strongest teams in the six-team field for the three-week tournament. Two games are scheduled for Thursday. Audi and Flexjet play at 11 a.m. Coca-Cola and Travieso play at 5 p.m.
Valiente took center stage on opening day of the highly-anticipated $100,000 World Cup. With the largest field and richest prize purse in Grand Champions Polo Club history on the line, Valiente swept both first round games at Valiente Polo Farm in front of good crowds and ChukkerTV worldwide audience in the 0-26 goal tournament. In Tuesday’s opening game, Valiente I (Bob Jornayvaz, Bautista Panelo, Pablo Spinacci, Adolfo Cambiaso) defeated Audi (Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Magoo Laprida, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 16-13, to advance into the second round against the winner of San Saba and Deeridge.
Coca-Cola held off Flexjet in the final chukker to capture the USPA Butler Handicap Cup with a 12-9 victory Sunday at International Polo Club Palm Beach. Flexjet made its high goal season debut with a makeshift lineup. Regulars Melissa Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalito Pieres were joined by substitute Nic Roldan, who was playing for Nico Pieres, who arrived from Dubai on Saturday. The foursome played well against the veteran Coca-Cola team of Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano and Miguel Novillo Astrada but missed key scoring opportunities down the stretch.