Polo Times’ guide to the who’s who of the upcoming season
The UK High Goal Guide is featured in the June issue of Polo Times – your who’s who of the upcoming (slightly delayed) UK high goal season. There is no doubt it has been a strange year so far. With all the moving parts that make up our sport, from shipping horses, to migrating players and the inevitable contact and close-knit working communities, it is safe to say that polo has been affected even more than most sports this summer. The disruption of Covid-19 on the world has led to levels of uncertainty that, even at this point in what should have been the start to a fantastic season, has left managers, grooms, players and patrons alike scratching their heads, wondering about the correct and safest course of action.
As if a worldwide pandemic wasn’t enough, add in a hefty dollop of polo-tics to the mix, with accusations of ‘under-handicapping’ plaguing the season and you’ve got yourself quite the polo pickle.However, British polo and the British polo community remains strong in its resolve. In a Steering Committee in late May, the Sports Minister categorised polo as an elite sport meaning full contact training was permitted to resume, thereby signalling the reopening of the clubs around the UK, and the start of a highly anticipated season, albeit with restrictions in place. Early June heralded more news from the government, an official announcement that elite sports behind closed doors could resume as of 1st of June and with this news, the sporting season truly began.
So, while we wait with baited breath on the HPA’s regular updates to fully understand the further precautions and measures that will be put in place to guarantee everybody’s safety, the players and ponies that havebeen poised and ready to leap into actionat the merest whisper that competitive polo is resuming, have started to gather in their English polo hubs.The UK high goal season comprises of two main, championship tournaments, The Queen’s Cup held at Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire usually followed by The Gold Cup for the British Open, held at Cowdray Park Polo Club in Midhurst, West Sussex. Other tournaments include the Prince of Wales and The Warwickshire Cup.
This year, due to thedelayed start to the season, first up will be The Gold Cup. This is normally the peak of the season, the climax to which all previous tournaments and matches are preparing for. This year it will be the first of the big two and the first time out for many of the line- ups who will not have had much opportunity to play or even practice together. Going into The Queen’s Cup will be a different story. With players having tuned up their horses and perfected their team dynamics, combined with the pristine fields of a barely touched Guards Polo Club, it will be a two- month spectacle of some of the best polo in the world.
Due to extenuating circumstances, some familiar faces have dropped out and we see former winners Dubai, La Indiana and King Power amongst others, surrender their sticks and press pause on their UK season plans, leaving a reshuffling of players for those that remain resolute in their commitment of what is many players’ favourite polo season of the year. With tournaments and seasons cut short worldwide, players across the globe are itching for this long-awaited and exciting season to get underway and with the line-ups in the running, there is no chance of disappointment. We can expect fireworks on the field and the teams should be ready for a hugely competitive season.To read the High Goal Guide in full, plus our extra Polo Times comment, click here to subscribe or purchase a single June issue.
The 2020 High Goal Teams:
Park Place (22): Andrey Borodin (0), Kian Hall (3), Gonzalito Pieres (9) & Facundo Pieres (10)
Great Oaks (22): Dillon Bacon (2), Barto Castagnola (7), Camilo Castagnola (7) & Santiago Laborde (6)
Scone (22): David Paradice (1), Ollie Cudmore (6), Nico Pieres (9) & James Harper (6)
Next Generation (22): Jean François Decaux (0), Adolfo ‘Poroto’ Cambiaso (3), David ‘Pelón’ Stirling (9), Adolfo Cambiaso (10)
Monterosso (22): Alessandro Bazzoni (1), Ignacio ‘Cubi’ Toccalino (8), Guillermo Terrera (7) & Jerónimo Del Carril (6)
Schockemöhle (19): Eckhardt Jules (0), Patrick Maleitzke (4), Jaime Huidobro (7) & Diego Cavanagh (8)
Talandracas (not confirmed) (22): Eduoard Carmignac (0), Ale Muzzio (7), Julián de Lusarretta (7) & Francisco Elizalde (8)
Photograph: The UK high goal teams for 2020 have been announced.