On Thursday morning, the polo community were shocked with the sad news of the passing of 77-years-old Claire Janet Lucas, a true icon within ladies polo, a key piece of the sport in Britain and considered one of the best players in history, having reached 5-goals. In addition, she was the first ever woman to claim the Queen’s Cup, in 1979, an renowned horse breeder and the coach of the national English team. Without doubts, Claire has left a a mark within polo, that will remain forever.
One of ther sons, Mark, remembers her: “Mom reached a 5-goal handicap in the 80s, something no one else achieved at the time; she was the highest rated player in history. She was also the first woman to play 22-goal in England, in a time when a woman was not allowed to compete in high goal. She had to get a letter signed by all the professionals of the time to make sure she was able to play, and the rule had to be changed”.
He adds: “She also was one of the first ever coaches. She was a pioneer in several things by doing remarkable things for a woman by that time – she claimed the Queen’s Cup, the Royal Windsor Cup. Besides, she had strong bonds with Argentina. Many Argentine players spent many British seasons at home – Milo Fernández Araujo, Juni Crotto, Pepe Araya, Sergio Boudou, Martín Aguerre among others. And around 40 years ago, she purchased a farm in 25 de Mayo, in Argentina. Argentina had a special place in her heart; she spoke like an Argentinian and that’s why we speak like Argentinians as well. And she was one of the few successful horse breeders in England. She started 40 years ago, with Argentinian bloodlines”.
Claire, whose children remained by her bedside until the last minute, received many tributes in social media. Among them, there’s a remarkable message from Milo Fernández Araujo via his Instagram account (@milofaraujo):“I will always remember you warmly; I will never forget all you said to me, all you taught me and how much you got mad at me at the woods to make me a better rider. We wrote many nice stories together, some sad, some enjoyable. We won many cups, we lost many as well, but the time we shared with you, Luke, Mark, Emma and Simon was wonderful. We all have someone who gives us a hand in life when we start something, and you were the first person who trusted me and gave me my first opportunity in Europe. That’s when we started a friendship that grew stronger, you were the mother I didn’t have and I am thankful to you for it. I will miss you a lot, Vieca, so this is not a farewell, just see you soon”.