By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Five teams, including two making their fall season debut, will compete this weekend at the Palm Restaurant Invitational at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Dutta Corp, one of the winningest teams in Grand Champions history, and KIG will join Casablanca, Flexjet and Postage Stamp Farm in the field.
The tournament is the fourth of the season at Grand Champions, one of the nation’s busiest and innovative polo clubs.
America’s top-rated player Nic Roldan, Pacific Coast Open champion Jason Crowder and Team USPA members Jared Sheldon and Jesse Bray head the field.
Action gets under way Friday with two games at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the opening game, a
round robin between Dutta Corp, KIG and Flexjet will be held.
In the second game, Postage Stamp Farm faces off against Casablanca. The winners will advance into Sunday’s final at 11 a.m. The runners-up will play for the Cardondale Classic Cup at 9:30 a.m.The popular Grooms’ Race will also be held.
Team rosters are:
Casablanca (10): Grant Ganzi, 1, Tony Calle, 2, Juancito Bollini, 3, Jared Sheldon, 4.
Dutta Corp (11): Tim Dutta, 0, Gene Goldstein, 1, Jason Crowder, 6, Carlitos Gracida, 4.
Flexjet (10): Melissa Ganzi, 0, Jesse Bray, 5, Juan Bollini, 5, Glenn Straub, 0.
KIG (13): Bash Kazi, 1, Omar Mangalji, 1, Guille Aguero, 6, Kris Kampsen, 6.
Postage Stamp Farm (13): Annabelle Gundlach, 0, Marc Ganzi, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, JJ Celis, 4.
Omar Mangalji is making his Grand Champions debut and will play with KIG’s Bash Kazi, Guille Aguero and Kris Kampsen. Aguero and Kampsen are coming off the East Coast Open in Greenwich, Ct.
Mangalji has competed in low to high goal tournaments in more than seven countries. He is a frequent player at charity events raising money for various causes. Mangalji has represented England in international play.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall schedule locally and worldwide with polo announcer Dale Schwetz.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with five well-manicured fields and turnkey facility, expects to have its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
The Palm Restaurant Invitational is the fourth of nine fall tournaments. Flexjet (MVP Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) won the season-opening Tackeria Invitational with a 7-6 victory over Casablanca. U.S. Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, MVP Jared Sheldon, Nic Roldan) won the U.S. Trust Cup with a 5.5-3 win over Flexjet. Casablanca (Jared Sheldon, Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, MVP Jesse Bray) won the Fall Classic with an 11-9 victory over Flexjet.
The club is hosting seven medium goal, two 20-goal tournaments, in addition to the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and International Cup.
Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to stage 20-goal tournaments. The club will host the Oct. 29th USPA North American Cup and Nov. 12-20 USPA National 20-Goal tournaments.
The remaining medium goal tournaments are: Oct. 25-30 Pedro Morrison Memorial; Nov. 1-6 Fall Plates and Nov. 8-13 Polo Gear Challenge.
Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve player skills and performance. It also serves as a tuneup for polo players for the winter season.
The schedule features a world-class doubleheader on November 26th with the fifth annual International Cup, a holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season.
Team USA has won the first four International Cups against England, Chile, Mexico and South Africa in the featured game.
In the opening game, the legacy of polo great Carlos Gracida continues with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game, featuring some of the sport’s greats.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its Polo On Demand program.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.