Hugo Lewis, the 21-year-old Englishman, will continue his rise in the senior polo ranks with another summer spell at King Power Foxes, polo’s double major champions.
Lewis was a prominent member of the unbeaten Thai-backed polo quartet as they swept to Queen’s and Gold Cups last summer. Their campaign gets under way on Thursday at Billingbear Park when they begin their Queen’s Cup defence against La Indiana.
And although Lewis will be a standby member of the all-conquering team this time, the 2 goaler is adamant that the King Power organisation has been crucial in his bid to learn from the game’s modern greats.
“After having a season to remember last year I am very happy that they asked me to stay involved for another year,” said Lewis. “The main reason for this is that they put you into a winter training programme to help you improve.
“This year I was lucky enough to go back to Eduardo Heguy, who has helped me massively over the last few years.”
Alongside Thai patron Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester City vice-chairman, and Argentinian brothers Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, Lewis showed his mettle last July as King Power amassed a staggering 83 goals in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup before beating UAE in the final.
Lewis first started riding aged three and thanks to his passionate parents – his father was a truck driver and mother a groom – he was supplied ponies and given the freedom to develop his game.
Heguy trained up Matthew Perry who won the Queen’s and Gold Cup in 2013 and the 2014 Queen’s Cup with Zacara, and Lewis over the winter, with the latter adamant that Argentina remains the destination to be once the UK season finishes.
“I think Argentina is the place where young players need to be over the winter, especially before Christmas,” he said. “There were a lot of young English players out there and I think a few of them will be ones to watch this year in the high goal, especially Jack Hyde for Zacara.”
This year could mark a defining moment for the sport thanks to the column inches devoted to Leicester City’s Premier League title campaign and the Srivaddhanaprabha’s love of polo.
Extra attention is likely to be heaped upon King Power and their polo set up as they bid to defend their two major titles. Lewis, in whatever capacity, will be decked out in blue over the next three months.
He said: “This is my second year with King Power now and it is an amazing organisation to be involved in. I am not sure whether I will get to play a part in the Queen’s or Gold cups yet, but I will be there on standby.
“I would love to play the high goal again but if the opportunity doesn’t arise this year I will continue to try and learn as much from Facundo and Gonzalito as possible and try to take what I have learnt into the medium goal games.”