Limehouse Properties won its first tournament and finished undefeated Sunday in its winter season debut at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
Limehouse Properties (Eliza Limehouse, -1, Marc Ganzi, 1, Miki Novillo Astrada, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3) defeated Smithfield (Florencio Lanusse, -1, Julio Ezcurra, 2, Manu Villamil, 5, John Klopp, 0), 5.5-2, to win the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial 6-Goal Tournament.
Miki Novillo Astrada, 16, the son of Argentine great and former 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada, was selected Most Valuable Player for the second time this season at Grand Champions.
Oriental Vaticano, owned by Craig Callen and played by Lanusse, was Best Playing Pony.
Limehouse Properties, a 4-goal team, opened with a 1.5 lead on handicap and never trailed, scoring a goal in the second and third chukkers and two in the fourth and final chukker.
Eliza Limehouse had only stick-and-balled twice and said “I was a bit rusty, but I stayed on,” and played well with her teammates.
“It doesn’t feel real honestly,” Limehouse said. “I didn’t expect us to win because we were a four-goal team. Smithfield was so strong. I can’t believe we won being a four-goal team in a six-goal tournament. We got off the field and we were ‘did we really just win?’ I thought if we had a chance in winning, it would be close but we were several goals ahead which was crazy.”
Limehouse Properties is located in Charleston, S.C. where Eliza lives with her family. She is gearing up for the upcoming spring season in Aiken, S.C., where her polo farm is located.
Marc Ganzi led scoring with three goals and Grant Ganzi added one. The team received 1.5 on handicap. Lanusse and Villamil each had one goal for Smithfield. Limehouse Properties finished 3-0. Smithfield finished 3-1.
“The boys are incredible, Miki and Grant were so in sync with each other,” Limehouse said. “Mr. Ganzi was on fire, he was ten goals out there today. He really was the key in winning, he played so well. I think everybody played amazing. My goal was just to stay out of their way, not foul and stay with my man.
“It’s great that the Ganzis play together as a family. I love playing with them,” said Limehouse, whose father, Chip, the oldest of four boys (Brian, Barry and Brad), played polo with his brothers throughout the world. “Polo is a family sport to us. My whole family rides, not everybody plays polo. Being with another family that is a polo family and horse family is so cool. It makes it so much more fun.”
Limehouse has been riding since she could walk and playing polo since she was 12. She grew up competing in Polo Training Foundation tournaments in Wellington.
The two-week tournament featured six teams. In addition to Limehouse Properties and Smithfield, other teams were Orea Polo, Trinidad Polo, Brookfield Farm and the Polo School.
The Memorial is played to honor Madelon Bourdieu, mother of Grand Champions Polo Operations Director Juan Bollini. Bourdieu, who passed away in 2009, came from a family with a strong polo tradition and was a player herself. The Bourdieu family has made significant contributions to the sport and founded two clubs in Argentina.
Grand Champions, the nation’s largest polo club celebrating its 16th anniversary, and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and short work arena. The club has 13 well-manicured fields including nine world-class fields at GCPC and four at Santa Rita.
During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation’s largest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, nestled in the heart of the world’s winter equestrian capital, is hosting tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 26-goal leagues, WCT Finals, Polo School Ladies Weekly League play and 26-goal WPL tournaments at both Grand Champions and Santa Rita.
Remaining season highlights for the winter season are the John T. Oxley Memorial, $100,000 World Cup Tournament, Great Futures Celebrity Polo, WCT Finals, WPL Polo Pride, Sunset Chukkers & Cocktails and WPL Beach Polo World Cup Miami Beach.
The winter season is being live-streamed locally and worldwide on Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV Sports).
Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program.
The Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. The stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving. It is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. November. The Polo School has nurtured several junior, men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.
For more information on leagues or the Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or General Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.