The success story of Dutta Corp continued Sunday in the championship final of the Polo Gear Challenge Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club.
In only its second competitive year as a team, the 11-goal foursome of Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi and Tim Dutta knocked off Newport’s 16-goal team of Gene Goldstein, Marc Ganzi, Lucas Lalor and Julio Arellano), 11-7.
It was Dutta Corp’s third tournament victory in five weeks. Earlier, the foursome won the Santa Rita Abierto and USPA Sun Cup. Dutta Corp also has two subsidiary titles.
“Piki has a system, we have a system and we play the system,” Tim Dutta said. “If we get beat by the system it’s okay for us. The four of us don’t need to talk in there.
“Next year will be our third competitive year playing the same team,” Dutta said. “It just works for us, we are blessed. We are superbly mounted. The boys up front have a lot of push. Piki orchestrates and I close the door behind them.”
Argentine seven-goaler Piki Diaz Alberdi, a former 10-goaler in Great Britain and architect of the highly-successful Dutta Corp team, was named Most Valuable Player. Last week, Alberdi was MVP of the subsidiary game.
“We are all very proud of this team, we are having a lot of fun,” Alberdi said. “We are playing a lot together and that is very good for the team.
“Every day we are getting a little bit stronger and that isgood. Today was a very good game. Tim and Timmy are improving a lot and Carlitos is playing well.”
Samba, an 8-year-old Argentine mare, bred by Alberdi and ridden by teenager Timmy Dutta, was selected Best Playing Pony.
Dutta Corp started off with a five-goal advantage on handicap and built on its lead by shutting out Newport in the second and third chukkers for an 8-1 halftime lead.
“The five-goal lead was never in my head, you have to start out like it’s 0-0,” Timmy Dutta said. “You play as hard as you can and see what happens. We play every team as if they are all 10-goal players. You have to work together and make the plays.”
Newport finally found its offensive punch behind Arellano and Ganzi, taking advantage of penalties and scoring six goals in the last two chukkers but fell short. At one point, Dutta Corp led 11-3 in the fifth chukker.
“When you have a big lead it is hard to keep your concentration and we also needed the horses ready for next weekend so you have to save the horses a little bit,” Alberdi said.
Gracida scored a team-high four goals. Timmy Dutta and Alberdi each added one goal. Arellano led Newport with four goals and Ganzi added three, all on penalty conversions.
Timmy Dutta was a member of last year’s Audi team that won the Polo Gear Challenge Cup.
“It was good getting back out there and good to win it,” Timmy Dutta said. “The plan is working itself out. It’s going well. The horses are coming together, the players are coming together and the chemistry is back. You can’t ask for a better captain than Piki. He is a pleasure to play with.”
In the subsidiary game, La Natividad (Melissa Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Barto Castagnola, Mariano Uranga), making its spring debut, won the round-robin against Polo Gear and Psycho Bunny, returning after a year’s absence. The tournament marked the debut of rising young star Barto Castagnola, the 16-year-old son of polo great and former 10-goaler Lolo Castagnola.
La Natividad defeated Polo Gear, 6.5-2, and Psycho Bunny, 4.5-1. Polo Gear and Psycho Bunny played to a 4-4 tie.
Castagnola scored eight goals and Melissa Ganzi had two goals. Seibert had three goals and Desich had two goals.
The Polo Gear Challenge was the fifth of six medium-goal tournaments offered in April and May as the GCPC Spring Instructional League. The spring season concludes this weekend with the May 26-29 The Memorial.
“Grand Champions has some extremely competitive polo in the spring,” Tim Dutta said. “We don’t take anybody for granted. We play chukker-by-chukker, ball-by-ball, play- by-play. If we make a mistake we move on to the next play.”
Winners of the first four tournaments were Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta) in the Santa Rita Abierto Open; Clearwater (Chip Campbell, Michael Bickford, Ezequiel Fernandez, Jeff Hall) in the USPA Eastern Challenge; Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Carlitos Gracida) in the USPA Sun Cup and Audi (Marc Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Dorignac) in the Spring Challenge Cup.
Dutta Corp will finish off the spring season this weekend before taking a long break. Timmy Dutta will return to Argentina at the end of September and will play high goal tournaments with Alberdi in October and November and prepare for the 2018 season.
Polo Gear co-founder Gary Fellers played polo for nearly 40 years from zero to 26-goal and has been a longtime supporter of the tournament and Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Clubs.
Polo Gear, one of the top sponsors and supporters of polo, was established in 1993 and incorporated in Florida. It manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide. It is the premier retailer for all necessary clothing, accessories, safety equipment and polo saddles for the polo enthusiasts of all ages. For more information on Polo Gear and to order products, visit www.pologearusa.com.
During the Grand Champions’ spring season, amateur polo players get the chance to play with and against some of the world’s top professional polo players. It is geared towards improving polo skills and having fun. During games, there is also a courtesy change for horses midway through each chukker.
“We are focusing on the game and concentrating on giving everyone an opportunity to play polo and improve their game,” said Polo School Director and former 8-goaler Juan Bollini. “Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) have opened Grand Champions to anybody in polo. We have great tournaments here. We are really trying to make polo better in America. We want to show the world we can have the best polo for everyone.”
The spring league is also a great opportunity for young players to develop and hone their skills against their peers and more experienced players.
The GCPC spring league features: medium goal practice games at least once a week; stick-and-ball sessions available during the week; two medium goal tournament games for teams every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; complete turn-key tournament polo with some of the top professionals in the world; playing polo on some of Wellington’s most prestigious and well-manicured fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players and excellent trophies for all teams every weekend.
Grand Champions hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.