By Alejandra Ocampo
Let’s go back in time, specifically to the 1950s. It was then that the polo world was dominated by a team called Venado Tuerto, who showed off their skills when playing their classic rivals, El Trébol. Both teams were made up of two pairs of brothers: Menditeguy and Duggan in El Trébol, and Cavanagh and Alberdi in Venado Tuerto. These players were polo idols from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s, when another big family name appeared on the scene: Heguy. But that’s another story…
Let’s focus on Venado Tuerto, specifically on the Cavanagh family name. Between 1944 and 1950, Roberto and Juan Cavanagh were champions in Palermo. Previously Roberto Cavanagh, at only 21 years of age, had competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, winning the gold medal for Argentina. The Argentine national team ,made up of Cavanagh (6), Manuel Andrada (7), Luis Duggan (6) and Andrés Gazzotti (8), surprised the world beating England 11-0 in the final match.
Juan and Roberto Cavanagh played Palermo for the last time in 1962: Juan with La Alicia and Roberto with the Dorignac’s Santa Ana. Since that moment, the Triple Crown has not included the Cavanagh name. Until now.
The 2015 edition of the Hurlingham Open and the Argentine Open will include a new team, Washington, composed of young, up and coming players. The team earned a spot in Hurlingham and Palermo after winning the qualification tournament and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead. One of the team members is the young and talented Diego Cavanagh. Used to success in the international polo circuit, especially in England where he has won the Gold Cup with Cambiaso in the Dubai team, Diego spoke to PoloLine about the great challenge to come and what it feels like to represent a great polo name in the Open.
What does it mean for Washington to have qualified in the first year as a team?
It’s really amazing. We put a team together as a project for the next few years; our goal was to qualify and we have achieved that in our first year, so we’re very happy.
Did you expect to gain such wide margins in your games, especially against Miramar?
No, quite the opposite. Miramar is a great team and they have been playing together for a while. We knew it would be tough but we were lucky to have a good first couple of chukkas and stay focused enough to maintain the difference.
How are you organised in terms of horses for Hurlingham and Palermo?
Well, we’re still missing a horse or two, that’s for sure! The objective was to qualify. Now we will have to reorganise with other horses for the rest of the season. Personally, I am very grateful to Adolfo Cambiaso who is helping me out in that department.
After having played such a great qualification tournament, what are your expectations for Hurlingham and Palermo?
The idea is to play well, have fun and enjoy the moment, because it’s been a huge effort getting here. And who knows, maybe win a game…
You are going to be representing the Cavanagh family name in Palermo for the first time since the 1950s. How do you feel about the history of Juan and Roberto Cavanagh in Venado Tuerto?
The truth is that I didn’t know exactly when a Cavanagh last played Palermo; I hadn’t really thought about it. Roberto and Juan made polo history, winning several Open championships. Now I’m going to be playing and representing the whole family who is really supporting me. We’ve been breeding for many years now, so this is everyone’s victory.