Team Tussles for Top Spot Players
It’s that time of year when all the ponies are well into their pre-season training and the players are booking their flights to the UK from their various winter destinations in preparation for their first games in the UK summer season. With the Cartier Queen’s Cup due to kick off on 17 May, just eight weeks away, the chat around the tack rooms and end of season arena parties has turned to, who is playing for who in the forthcoming high goal season?
Kian Hall is confirmed as playing for Dubai for the 2016 English 22 goal season. Originally he was mooted as playing with King Power, but the word in the tack room is he was offered £100,000 and swapped across to Dubai. We also understand that Josh Cork was in a team tussle between the two mighty teams, but has settled with Dubai, one of the most powerful polo organisations in the world, for the 2016 English high goal season. Rashid Albwardy’s team will also be boasting three-time Argentine Triple Crown champions Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martín Nero. This will be the first time the La Dolfina teammates have played together outside Argentina. In addition, the same line-up set to play the Cartier Queen’s Cup, will be at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open under the name of Valiente – Bob Jornayvaz taking Rashid’s place.
In other high goal news, so far eleven teams have been confirmed for the UK 22 goal season, but it is likely that two more teams will also play.
King Power, the reigning champions of 2015, will only be putting forward one team, formed of Top Srivaddhanaprabha, brothers Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres, and José Araya Jr. La Bamba de Areco, Jean-Francois Decaux’s team, which has been absent from the UK high-goal season for five years, is set to make a comeback this summer with a new formation including Diego Cavanagh, Rodrigo Rueda Jr and Magoo Laprida. Nico Pieres will, once again, play in Ben Soleimani’s RH Team alongside Rodrigo Ribeiro de Andrade and Ali Paterson while Edouard Carmignac’s Talandracas, winners of the 2011 Queen’s Cup, will take part with a new line-up, including Guillermo ‘Sapo’ Caset, Polito Pieres and Tommy Beresford.
The Hanbury brothers will be starring separately. Charlie will be playing in an all-English team called Britannia El Remanso, with Ollie Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper, whilst George will play with Mark Tomlinson, Eduardo Novillo Astrada Jr and Alec White in a team which is yet to be named. Michael Bickford’s La Indiana will face the competition with a new line-up: Agustín Merlos, Nic Roldan and Julián de Lusarreta. Jack Richardson is set to play for team Cowdray Vikings alongside George Pearson Chris Mackenzie and Alejandro Novillo Astrada. Youngster Jack Hyde who has had great success this winter in Dubai is lined up to play a further season with Zacara alongside Lucas Monteverde and Pablo MacDonough.
Photograph: Who will win the Cartier Queen’s Cup 2016? By ©www.imagesofpolo.com