Valiente Jets to 11-8 Win Over Murus Sanctus
By Darlene Ricker
Valiente is back in the groove—and then some. As if to say “Take that!”, the team in blue reestablished their dominance, handily defeating Murus Sanctus 11-8 on Day 9 of the 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open. In the day’s second match, Talandracas took RH Polo 13-6.
With the quarterfinals looming and Valiente having lost last week to La Indiana, Thursday’s win was important, both in terms of the team’s standing and confidence. Valiente showed up determined to prevent an encore of their last game, and that they did, leading throughout with a consistent margin of two to four goals. The first half closed 5-3 for Valiente; by the final bell the score was 11-8. To no one’s surprise, Adolfo Cambiaso was Valiente’s high-scorer (four goals), with the rest of the team’s goals evenly divided among Juan Martín Nero, Kian Hall and Rob Jornayvaz.
Although the scoreboard indicated otherwise, Jornayvaz said it was not an easy win. “Murus Sanctus has a really solid team with Facundo Sola (8 goals) and Alfredo Cappella (9 goals), who is a super back.” He noted that Murus Sanctus patrona Corinne Ricard, who made five goals, “carries the ball to goal when she’s alone.”
Jornayvaz played the No. 1 position, normally occupied by his father, patron Bob Jornayvaz, who broke his foot in the La Indiana match (but stayed in the irons all the way through). The break is “as bad a break as it gets,” said his son, both in the literal and figurative sense. “What happened to my dad is super-unfortunate. He was so excited and sacrificed so much in Florida so Valiente could have our best chance in the British Open,” he said.
He was referring to an unprecedented deal in which Bob Jornayvaz agreed that Cambiaso would compete for Dubai in the U.S. 26-goal season and let Dubai take on loan their choice of Valiente’s top horses (which won best string at the U.S. Open this year). In exchange Cambiaso would play for Valiente in the British Open. Jornayvaz knew the swap would likely impact Valiente’s chance of winning a consecutive U.S. Open this year. But his eye has long been—and still is—firmly on the British Open, one of the few top tournaments in the world in which he had not competed. As things stand today, he is hoping to compete in the quarterfinals next week if his foot recovers sufficiently.
Meanwhile Valiente is fine-tuning the lineup and strategy for their July 6 match against Britannia El Remanso. “El Remanso is going to be tough. That’s going to be the real match that decides it for us,” said Rob Jornayvaz. After the La Indiana game, in which he did not play, he said Valiente concentrated on how to best use the younger players (Hall, Ralph Richardson and himself) to support Cambiaso and Nero. Jornayvaz acknowledged the La Indiana game was a sub-par performance for Valiente. “We knew we had to make a change. Something wasn’t working. It took a few days to figure it out.” The decision was to put Hall in the lineup Thursday. “Kian had played successfully in the Queen’s Cup with Adolfo and Juanma [Nero], so the team had confidence with him and the horses.”
For the recently graduated University of Virginia film major, Thursday’s game was the first time he has played in England. The British Open has been a whirlwind for Rob Jornayvaz both on and off the field, as he co-owns and manages Horseplay Productions and Polo Channel with former polo players Ty MacCarty and Matt Baker. They are filming the 2016 British Open and, in conjunction with Polocam, are live streaming every game.
Robert Jornayvaz 1
Kian Hall 1
Adolfo Cambiaso 10
Juan Martin Nero 9
Corinne Ricard 0
Manuel Elizalde 5
Facundo Sola 8
Alfredo Cappella 9