For the sixth consecutive year, the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington was the biggest winner Sunday at the Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The star power of some of the world’s top polo players Nacho Figueras, Pablo MacDonough, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Inaki Laprida and Magoo Laprida helped to raise funds for the facility that serves hundreds of children.
Equuleus (Tom Coid, Inaki Laprida, Magoo Laprida, Joe DiMenna) won the six-chukker round robin tournament for the third time in four years. Runners-up in 2015, Equuleus won in 2016 and 2017.
Defending champion Grand Champions (Riley Ganzi, Santos Bollini, Nacho Figueras, Pablo MacDonough) were runner-up and Sebilion (Sarah Magness, Dawn Jones, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) were third.
Equuleus team sponsor Joe DiMenna, who scored back-to-back goals to tie and win the final game, 4-3, against Sebilion, was named Most Valuable Player.
“I’m very happy, I love being here for this event,” DiMenna said. “It’s one of my favorite events of the year. Winning it is a bonus. Playing with good friends on my team and against me, it’s great getting together with a bunch of people I always don’t get to play with. It’s a lot of fun and for a great cause.
“The high goal players are always generous with their time and always there to help with great causes,” DiMenna said. “It’s great fun to be out there and have the camaraderie with them and everybody else.”
Nacho Figueras, the sport’s ambassador, has competed in all six of the star-studded events that raises money for the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.
Figueras, competing for Black Watch in the inaugural World Polo League this season, is one of the most well-recognized polo players in the world. Figueras and several players took time out to sign autographs for fans.
“I come back every year for the Boys and Girls Club and Neil,” Figueras said. “Neil has been a good friend for a very long time. Why would I change? We have had a 20-year old relationship and he is a great guy that has done so many wonderful things for the community. He needs all of us to support him.
“It’s great to see the players come out for this,” Figueras said. “The best thing about polo is the family that polo creates and the community of polo. The polo community is always ready and willing to step up to the plate to support different charities and this is one that’s very good for Wellington which is one of the biggest polo communities in the world and we are all happy to be here.”
Magoo and Inaki Laprida play with DiMenna in 18-22 goal polo.
“This was fun to play here,” Magoo Laprida. “It was for charity and that’s always good when it’s for charity.”
Nine-year-old bay B-12, played and owned by Sarah Magness of Sebilion, was Best Playing Pony. Magness scored three of her five goals on B-12.
Magness, making her Great Futures debut, was one of three women competing in the tournament. Dawn Jones, coming off an overtime victory with her San Saba team in the 11th annual Tabebuia Cup, and Georgetown freshman Riley Ganzi, a former MVP, competed.
“I had so much fun,” said Magness. “I think Wellington is amazing, I just love it so much. You really don’t get better polo besides Argentina and I think everyone is here from Argentina.”
Magness has played other charity events including the Veuve Clicquot in New York with Figueras.
“It’s fun doing the charity events,” Magness said. “I have trouble sometimes having fun and being competitive is hard, you are just suppose to have fun.”