This is a special year for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup. As well as being the 60th anniversary of polo’s premier high-goal competition, it is 85 years since the company first produced the Reverso watch that was designed for British Army officers playing polo in India.
At Cowdray Park, home of the Gold Cup, a giant Reverso watch is used to keep time during matches. And the diamond jubilee celebrations there will include a host of other events, such as the British Ladies Open Championship and an invitation match against Guards Polo Club.
Having completed “the double” of Gold Cup and Queens Cup last year, King Power Foxes defend the former title. Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the captain and patron – and vice-chairman of Leicester City, the Premier League champions – says repeating the feat will be difficult.
The Foxes start their defence of the Queen’s Cup on Thursday at Guards Polo Club in Windsor, and Srivaddhanaprabha said: “We will try to win again but it is going to be tough. But we love the challenge and our plan is simple: try our best in every game.”
Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres, the 10-goal brothers from Argentina, are back for the team, alongside José Ramón Araya, the teenager who impressed last year for UAE, and a new recruit in one-goaler Harry Revel.
Back this year is patron Jean-François Decaux, the chief executive of outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, who leads La Bamba de Areco. Locally, there is also excitement with brothers George and Charlie Hanbury lining up for El Remanso. Charlie will lead the team and, in a lift for British players, George will be in an all-domestic professional side also likely to include England captain James Beim.
Keeping up the teenage theme, patron George Pearson, currently playing at Oxford University, will follow his mother, father, and grandfather in bringing his Cowdray Vikings team to the Gold Cup this season.
The British Ladies Open Championship starts on 9 July, with the final taking place on the Saturday of Gold Cup weekend. La Indiana won the final of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge 14-9 against El Remanso last weekend, and go into the start of the Queen’s Cup today as one of 12 high-goal teams contesting the prize. The final of that event will be played on Smith’s Lawn on Saturday June 11 to avoid clashing with the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.
Just the ticket
The Jaeger LeCoultre Gold Cup runs from 21 June to 17 July at Cowdray Park Polo Club in Midhurst, West Sussex. The premier polo tournament at 22-goal (high goal) level, it features 13 teams from around the world. Spectators are welcome on standard days at £5 for adults, with free admittance for under-12s.
Semi-finals: 13 July Tickets from £17.50, children under 12 free.
The final: 17 July Tickets from £17.50, children under 12 free.
Call Cowdray Polo Club for tickets on 01730 813257