Spring Challenge Cup Begins Friday At Grand Champions Polo Club
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo ClubThe fourth tournament of the spring season gets under way Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The Spring Challenge Cup, featuring Audi, Dutta Corp, Flexjet and Newport, marks the halfway point of the polo season.
The two-day tournament begins on Friday and ends on Mother's Day Sunday.
Gene GoldsteinA doubleheader is set for Friday. Flexjet plays Newport at 10:30 a.m. Audi faces Dutta Corp, the winningest team of the season with two tournament victories under its belt, at 5 p.m.
Winners advance into Sunday's championship final at 11 a.m.following the subsidiary game at 9:45 a.m.
The player field features some of the sport's top players including Julio Arellano, Guille Aguero, Carlitos Gracida, Julio Arellano, former 10-goaler Piki Diaz Alberdi and 5-goaler Mariano Uranga, making his Grand Champions debut.
The team rosters are:
Audi: Tim Dutta, Marc Ganzi, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Pablo Dorignac.
Dutta Corp: Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor, Timmy Dutta, Guille Aguero.
Flexjet: Melissa Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Mariano Uranga, Jason Crowder.
Newport: Rich Desich, Juancito Bollini, Gene Goldstein, Julio Arellano.
In last year's Spring Challenge Cup final, Casablanca (Julio Arellano, Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Kris Kampsen) defeated Team NR (Tim Dutta, Melissa Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini), 10-8. It was Team NR's sponsor debut at Grand Championships.
Melissa Ganzi, Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions Polo Club President, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high six goals. Ganzi's horse Camisa was selected Amateur Player Best Playing Pony and Kampsen's horse Miravol was named Pro Player Best Playing Pony.
The Spring Challenge Cup is the fourth of six medium-goal tournaments offered in April and May as the GCPC Spring Invitational League.
The remaining spring tournaments are: May 19-21, Polo Gear Invitational and May 26-29, The Memorial.
Winners of the first three tournaments were Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta) in the Santa Rita Abierto Open; Clearwater (Chip Campbell, Michael Bickford, Ezequiel Fernandez, Jeff Hall) in the USPA Eastern Challenge and Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Carlitos Gracida) in the USPA Sun Cup.
During the Grand Champions' spring season, amateur polo players get the chance to play with and against some of the world's top professional polo players. It is geared towards improving polo skills and having fun.
"We are focusing on the game and concentrating on giving everyone an opportunity to play polo and improve their game," said Polo School Director and former 8-goaler Juan Bollini. "Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) have opened Grand Champions to anybody in polo. We have great tournaments here. We are really trying to make polo better in America. We want to show the world we can have the best polo for everyone."
The spring league is also a great opportunity for younger players to develop and hone their skills against their peers and more experienced players.
The GCPC spring league features: medium goal practice games at least once a week; stick-and-ball sessions available during the week; two medium goal tournament games for teams every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; complete turn-key tournament polo with some of the top professionals in the world; playing polo on some of Wellington's most prestigious and well-manicured fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players and excellent trophies for all teams every weekend.
Last year's Spring Challenge Cup winning team Casablanca Julio Arellano, Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi and Kris Kampsen.Grand Champions hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.