In what is expected to be a hotly-contested, physical championship, Cartier will defend its title against Maserati Sunday in the 34th St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup.
Cartier (Rommy Gianni, 1; Juan Cruz Greguoli, 4; Dario Musso, 6; Chris Hyde, 5) advanced with wins over Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, 5-2, on Friday and Maserati, 3.5-2 on Saturday.
Maserati (Zhanna Bandurko/Raya Sidorenko, 0; Gerardo Mazzini, 6; Hissam al Hyder, 6; Robert Strom, 5), defeated crowd favorite Azerbaijan Land of Fire (Rashad Hasanov, 2; Eichin Jamali, 3; Lala Laplacette, 5; Adrian Laplacette, Jr., 6), 2-1.5 in its tournament opener.
On Saturday, Azerbaijan upset last year’s runners-up Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, 9-4, in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Challenge. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel needed to win by two goals to advance into the final.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel found itself in a hole early, trailing 2-0 the first two minutes of the game. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel could not overcome its foul trouble and unforced errors and trailed, 5-1, at the half.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel tried to dig itself out of a hole in the second half coming within three goals, 7-4, in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer against a physical Azerbaijan team which scored its final goal on a penalty conversion with five seconds left in the game.
The Badrutt’s Palace Hotel foursome of Melissa Ganzi, 8-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Argentina, 6-goaler Juan Bollini and 2-goaler hometown favorite Tito Gaudenzi will play for the La Martina Cup against Azerbaijan at 6 a.m. EST.
Cartier and Maserati will play for the coveted Cartier Cup at 8:15 a.m. Both games will be live streamed by ChukkerTV in front of an expected sellout crowd and worldwide audience.
Ganzi, the USPA Florida Circuit Governor and president of Wellington, Fla.-based Grand Champions Polo Club, is making her third appearance in the only high goal polo tournament played on snow. Two years ago, Ganzi was the first woman to compete in the snow polo tournament since its inception in 1985 and last year she was the first woman to make it to the championship final.
Ganzi, Novillo Astrada and Gaudenzi were coming off winning the title for Bendura Bank at the Kitzbuhel Snow Polo World Cup two weeks ago.
In last year’s St. Moritz event, Cartier’s team of Rommy Gianni, Charlie Wooldridge, MVP Chris Hyde and Dario Musso reclaimed the title with a 7-4 victory over Badrutt’s Palace Hotel’s Ganzi, Novillo Astrada, Gaudenzi and Jesse Bray. Two years ago, Team Maserati knocked off then defending champion Cartier.
The world’s most prestigious polo tournament on snow was the first snow polo tournament in the sport’s history created by polo promoter Reto Gaudenzi, founder and CEO of Snow Polo World Cup. It’s held against the scenic backdrop of the breathtaking mountains of Engadine
The highlight of Saturday is the Snow Polo Night Gala Dinner Baku Moritz Night at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, located in the center of St. Moritz.
Since the tournament’s inception, admission to the event has always been free including access to the grandstand. The lavish VIP tent is expected to be sold out. Last year a record 12,000 spectators attended the three days of the tournament. All games are being live streamed by ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting.