Dubai edge RH; HB defeat Thai, during day 11 of the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup

tripleDubai – 8
Rashid Albwardy (2), Tom Brodie (2),
Diego Cavanagh (8), Adolfo Cambiaso (10)

RH Polo – 6
Ben Soleimani (0), Francisco Elizalde (7),
Nico Pieres (9), Santiago Von Wernich (5)

It was a Dubai side looking to become the first team with four wins in the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup which rode onto Lawns 2 at Cowdray, facing an RH Polo team with only one win to date (RH Polo – 13 vs. 10 – HB Polo). Both teams were announced to the watching spectators by commentator Felix Wheeler, who also imparted some fantastic insights into the horsepower both on the pitch and waiting in the pony lines. It was Martin Valent from Dubai who was the first to find a goal, with the teams finishing chukka one at 1 all, it what was to turn into a match of ever equalising scores to match the number of the chukka.

Mounted on Seabiscuit Cambiaso headed into chukka two, as Santiago Von Wernich cantered onto Lawns 2 on Casanova, and by chukka three the teams were once again equalised at 3 all, with RH Polo taking the lead for the first time in the match at 4 vs. 3 going into half time. Heading into the fourth, seagulls drifted off the pitch to get out of the way not only of pounding Dubai hooves looking for goal number four, but also the drone capturing all the action from an aerial view overhead.

Amidst the ever changing weather, Dubai found goal number four in the fourth to level once again at 4 all, then Josh Cork put through a great goal set up by Martin Valent to give Dubai the lead once again at 5-4. Bringing out one of his favourites ponies – Miami – Cambiaso headed into the next chukka, but it was Nico Pieres who had to thank his pony ‘Gracias’ for the help in finding goal number five for RH Polo, levelling the teams to 5 all in chukka number five. A goal by Santiago Von Wernich put RH Polo once again into the lead at 6 vs. 5, but just prior to the chukka number changing the goals equalised once again, and the teams headed into chukka six at 6 all. With Dubai managing to find two more goals, the team in the iconic green and white striped shirts headed off the pitch as the first winners of four league games in the 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup – Dubai – 8 vs. 6 – RH Polo. –Victoria Elsbury-Legg

HB Polo – 10
Ludovic Pailloncy (1), Cristian Laprida (8),
Ignacio Toccalino (8), Sebastien Pailloncy (3)

Thai Polo – 7
Harald Link (0), Matias Torres Zavaleta (7),
Nic Roldan (8), Tomas Garcia del Rio (7)

Fantastic pony welfare was displayed in the pony lines with much watering and cooling down with spray for all the Dubai and RH Polo ponies prior to heading home, as spectators moved location to Lawns 1 where Thai Polo were meeting HB Polo to play, not only for the first guaranteed win for one side (both of which were yet to win a match), but also for the Argentine Ambassador’s Cup. With John Kent in charge of the commentary, keeping all the gathered guests of the Argentine Ambassador – Alicia Castro – well informed and up to date, play got underway. Great running polo opened the match with no whistle sounding until two minutes remained, after which Nic Roldan converted a text book style penalty to put Thai Polo into the lead at 1 vs. 0 heading into the second.

A penalty converted by Thai Polo patron Harald Link then put the white and orange team two goals ahead at the start of chukka two, in a chukka filled with fantastic fast polo, the bell rang to mark its end with scores reading Thai Polo – 2 vs. 1 – HB Polo. A nearside field shot at goal from Harald Link in number three saw Thai Polo increase their lead to 3 vs. 1, which rose to 5 vs. 1 to end the first half. Against a backdrop of bright blue skies and sun, Argentine flags fluttered atop the marquee where the guests of the Argentine Ambassador watched the final three chukkas of some exciting play unfold, as once again scores equalised to match the chukka, with all the fives on the scoreboard in the penultimate chukka.

In a fantastic game of great play and non-stop fast, end to end polo with ever changing scores in chukka six, ultimately it was the Pailloncy brothers (Ludovic and Sebastien) alongside Cristian Laprida and Ignacio Toccalino – team HB Polo, who were presented with The Argentine Ambassador’s Cup by the Ambassador of Argentina – Alicia Castro, having beaten Thai Polo 10 vs. 7. ‘Best Argentine Home Bred pony’ was awarded by Gaston Laulhe on behalf of the Argentine Breeder’s Association to chestnut mare Cali Suerte, owned and ridden by Tomas Garcia Del Rio of Thai Polo. –Victoria Elsbury-Legg