Ellerstina kicked off the 2017 Triple Crown with an overwhelming win over Cria Yatay in first match of the Tortugas Open. After an amazing year abroad, celebrating wins in the UK Gold Cup (with King Power) and the Sotogrande Gold Cup (with Ayala), Facundo Pieres is now focused on the Argentine season. It will be Ellerstina’s third year with the same lineup, and Pieres shares his expectations and thoughts on the upcoming challenges.
On player positions: “I think we have found our positions; these are the naturals positions for each of us, and I feel we gave a very good performance. I know there are lots of things to improve on, but I am confident that we will be comfortable in these positions. What cost us more was finding a number 4, and the truth is that Nico is perfect for that; he played amazingly well last year, and has started this year well. He looks solid and confident. He will help us a lot in that position.”
Having been the only Pieres in Sotogrande: “It´s always nice to share time with the family, but we are also together in USA and England, Sotogrande was just one month. We are use to have to be together but also to not have to; so it wasn´t that hard. The Argentine Open is always present and we have to be in contact whether for the horses, equipment or organization.”
On the support of Saint Tropez Polo Club: “It’s great, especially because Alshair [Fiyaz] is like family. We have know each other for many years, and to know he supports the team, and therefore our family, is fantastic. He knows we are always open to help with anything in Saint Tropez, where he is developing an amazing club. It’s a great partnership, and hopefully we can continue together for many more years.”
On the next step of the team: “We need to secure each of our positions and with that, give a good performance. Teams that give a good performance – like La Dolfina, or Ellerstina in 2010, or Chapaleufú, or Ellerstina and La Espadaña many years ago – know themselves very well, play by heart, and have solid positions. That has been harder for us to achieve, but I believe this can be a great year for Ellerstina.”
On playing at number three in Argentina: “The truth is that Nico and I are the ones that changed more positions over these last years; I went from 1 to 4, and now I’m playing at three. It is a position I like, and I feel comfortable playing there. I have always played at one but I was not the traditional one. I’m happy, and a new position always adds motivation.”
On the new rules: “I liked them, especially the one that eliminates the throw-in when the ball goes over the boards. I think that will help the spectacle of the game.”
On the preparation of the horses for the Triple Crown:”We are testing new horses; some will make their debut, others have already played one season. Our best mares, the ones that have played more seasons, will be saved for Hurlingham and Palermo.”