If we give a look at everything they’ve done thoroghout the 2020 Triple Crown, they are indeed the absolute favourites; they are unbeaten and their team play worked to perfection in every match. Following the rain delay, Ellerstina’s debut in the Open has been postponed to Friday December 4. But beyond the expectations, Facundo Pieres has his feet firmly on the ground. “I don’t think we are favourites; the team don’t think about being favourites, or whatever people are thinking about it. We are very concentrated. Our minds are set on us, the team, the horses, get as far as possible, and have the most possible options to win Palermo”.
Regardless their deep concentration and their level of play displayed by Ellerstina in each match, the foursome are extremely careful when it comes to think themselves as favourites, and only remain focused on their aims: “Obviously, our expectations are high and we are looking forward to winning Palermo. But we are also aware that it is a new tournament, the most important one, the one we do want to win, so we try to forget a bit what we’ve done, maintain our team play and trust in our system, which is the one that will lead us to the best results”, Facundo says.
Exactly ten years ago, in 2010, Ellerstina reached Palermo with the possibility to win the Triple Crown; and they ended up claining the most important series of polo tournaments in the world, the second for the Pieres family, who already won the first in 1994. Therefore, the top scorer of the Hurlingham Open is clear about what they are aiming at: “To win the Triple Crown, at this point of my life, does not change anything at all. What I do want the most, and I think is what all of us think, is to win Palermo. There’s an obvious coincidence, but it is something we don’t have in mind; no pressure, nothing; we want Palermo, that’s all”.
What do you feel about the fact that not only you are winning but also playing well?
The fact that we are playing well is the only thing that gives me joy. We’ve had years we played well, others that we weren’t able to find rythm; and when you feel good, the team works, you enjoy everything more every day, the stables, the practices, you do enjoy double. In addition to having the pressure to play and win everything, we are really enjoying every minute of it.
What do you think about your league for Palermo?
We are going step by step. We are aware that we won’t be playing against teams like Murus Sanctus and La Natividad, but on the other side, if we want to have the opportunity to win Palermo, the team have to play well. So, it does not change that much to us who are playing against; we are only thinking of our team.
Prior to the start of the Triple Crown, many wondered how would Hilario Ulloa fit within the three Pieres brothers. And the results are there for all to see: “Hilario contributed a lot with the team. He is an accurate number 2, he ordered the team and provides a proper system of play. In addition, he’s got many things off the field – he knows a lot about horses, he has an eye on everything, he is hungry to win and he transmits that to all of us everyday. Also, his horses, his horse string. One of the things I like the most about him is that he is very accurate to read every match, he does know when to change things, or if something should be corrected during a match, and we speak between us. Up-to-date, we had several good moments during the games and others that weren’t that good, but we always were able to realize which things to change. And that’s crucial for me”.
This 2020 saw Facundo Pieres more accurate on attack, being the top scorer both in Tortugas and Hurlingham, something that didn’t happen for a long time. “To me, personally, having Hilario joining the team, allowed me to play as number one, which was something I really wanted to do, play in a position that fits perfectly to me on the field. But it is not only thanks to Hilario, I guess is thanks to the whole team as well”.