By Alex Webbe
A marred finish to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Trippetts Challenge saw the All-English El Remanso polo team (Charlie Hanbury, Oliver Cudmore, James Beim and James Harper) record an 11-8 win over Murus Sanctus (Corinne Ricard, Martin Podesta, Hilario Ulloa and Facundo Sola) at Cowdray Park Polo Club Sunday afternoon to claim the 2017 title while the only unbeaten team in the tournament, the defending championship La Indiana entry, ended the tournament by defeating La Bamba de Areco (Jean Francois Decaux, Diego Cavanagh, Magoo Laprida and Rodrigo Rueda, Jr.) and Sommelier (George Hanbury, Juan Gris Zavaleta, Fred Mannix and Alec White) in round-robin play for a 4-0 record.
In a rain-interrupted tournament that saw unbeaten King Power Foxes (Top Srivaddhanaprabha, Charles Cooney, Gonzalito Pieres and Facundo Pieres) remove themselves from the competition, once beaten El Remanso (an 11-8 loser to La Indiana) and Murus Sanctus (1-0) met one another in Sunday afternoon’s final.
The 21-goal El Remanso lineup received one goal by handicap and quickly added to it. Ollie Cudmore made it 2-0 with the first goal from the field for El Remanso before Murus Sanctus 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa got his team on the scoreboard, 2-1. James Beim’s first goal of the day gave El Remanso a two-goal advantage, 3-2, followed by a pair of goals from teammate James Harper for a commanding 5-1 lead. Ulloa closed out the scoring with a penalty shot but El Remanso rode off the field on top of a 5-2 score.
Both defenses stepped it up in second chukker play with Cudmore’s second goal of the day giving El Remanso a four-goal cushion, 6-2. Murus Sanctus team captain, Corinne Ricard, scored the final goal of the period to trail, 6-3.
A penalty goal was awarded to Murus Sanctus in third period play, with a 60-yard penalty conversion by Harper accounting for the only other score of the chukker. At the end of the first half, El Remanso maintained their three-goal lead, 7-4.
The fourth chukker belonged to El Remanso as they played shutout defense and picked up single goals from the field from Beim and Charlie Hanbury. After four periods of play, El Remanso had extended their lead to five goals, 9-4, with Murus Sanctus trying to find an answer.
Murus Sanctus opened the fifth chukker with single goals from Ricard and Ulloa, cutting the lead back to three goals, 9-6. Beim scored his third goal of the day and the final goal of the fifth chukker for a 10-6 El Remanso lead.
Cudmore scored the opening goal of the final chukker, 11-4, but Murus Sanctus continued to press the attack. Closing goals from Ulloa and Ricard made the score respectable, but it was El Remanso from start to finish.
Cudmore, Beim and Harper scored three goals apiece for El Remanso. Hanbury added a goal and the team received one goal by handicap. Ulloa was high-scorer for Murus Sanctus with four goals. Ricard was credited with three goals in the loss.
James Beim’s mare Kimberly earned Best Playing Pony honors.
La Indiana goes 4-0 but was unable to defend their 2016 title
In a consolation round-robin match earlier in the day, La Indiana recorded wins over La Bamba de Areco (8-3) and Sommelier (6-4) and was the only team in the competition besides King Power (2-0 before dropping out) without a loss.
It was discovered that La Indiana used the six chukker round-robin as a final practice before their opening Queens Cup match on Tuesday.
Over the course of the round-robin, Agustin Merlos scored seven goals; Luke Tomlinson added four goals; with Nic Roldan scoring twice and Michael Bickford adding a goal.
La Indiana is said to have trotted out all of their horses in a final tune-up before the Queens Cup gets underway. After surprising the field last year, La Indiana lost in the final to Dubai (Rashid Albwardy, Kian Hall, Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero) on a goal from Adolfo Cambiaso, 12-11, with under a minute left in regulation play.