Rosters, Draw Announced For Sterling Cup That Begins Sunday At Grand Champions

By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
A star-studded lineup of some of the world’s top polo players has been assembled for the revival of the Sterling Cup that begins Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The Sterling Cup is one of two classic and prestigious tournaments that the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club is resurrecting after a sixteen-year absence.
Thanks to the generosity of Palm Beach Polo owner Glenn Straub, the Sterling Cup and World Cup have been resurrected by Melissa and Marc Ganzi in hopes of recapturing the legacy and prestige of polo’s hey days.
Sebastian Merlos. File photo 
The Sterling Cup was the second tournament of the 22-goal season at Palm Beach Polo after the January Challenge Cup. It was considered the 22-goal championship and attracted as many as eighteen teams.
It was first played in 1989 with Saniva B.G.K. winning the title. Other past winners include Pegasus, C.S. Brook, Grant’s Farm Manor, Revlon, Calumet Farm, Pony Express, Palm Beach Polo, Isla Carroll and White Birch.
Cali Garcia-Velez won the Sterling Cup in 2002 with Glenn Straub and Palm Beach Polo, where he became director of polo operations in 1995, two years after Straub purchased the 2,000-acre Palm Beach Polo and Country Club at auction in 1993.
“I remember back in the day we had 18 teams,” Garcia-Velez said. “We played it on handicap 18 to 26 goals. I am glad to see it back.
“It’s a great trophy, it has lot of historic names on it,” Garcia said. “It’s good that the tournament has been revived. It’s got a lot of history. All the great players have won it. It will be a great tournament.”
Gonzalo Pieres. File photo
The seven-team tournament begins Sunday with Audi playing Grand Champions/Casablanca at 11 a.m.
Team rosters, representing eight countries, are:
Audi: (20) Marc Ganzi, 2; Nic Roldan, 8; Inaki Laprida, 7; Juancito Bollini, 3.
Dutta Corp: (19) Timmy Dutta, 0; Carlitos Gracida, 4; Piki Diaz Alberdi, 7; Matias Magrini, 8.
Flexjet: (18) Melissa Ganzi, 0; Lucas Lalor, 5; Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8; Jesse Bray, 5.
Grand Champions/Casablanca: Grant Ganzi, 2; (20) Rodrigo Andrade, 9; Gonzalo Pieres, 9; Harrison Azzaro, 0.
Palm Beach Equine: (20) Gringo Colombres, 6; Juan Martin Zubia, 6; Magoo Laprida, 8, Scott Swerdlin, 0.
Travieso: (20) Tony Calle, 2; Hugo Barabucci, 6; Sebastian Merlos, 9, Torito Ruiz, 3.
Valiente: (19) Rob Jornayvaz, 1; Pablo Spinacci, 6; Diego Cavanagh, 8; Roberto Zedda, 4.
Rodrigo Andrade. File photo
There are two tournament brackets. The Aspen bracket features No. 1 seed Travieso, (2) Valiente and (3) Palm Beach Equine. The Buenos Aires bracket has (4) Flexjet, (5) Dutta Corp, (6) Audi and (7) Grand Champions/Casablanca.
The John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy will serve as the handicap subsidiary for the Sterling Cup.
Oxley, inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1994, started playing polo at age 46, bought the struggling Royal Palm Polo Sports Club and turned it into a success before it was sold. He won several top tournaments and at age 83, became the oldest player ever to win a major tournament when his team won the International Gold Cup.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, will live stream the Sterling Cup worldwide.