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30 Years Snow Polo St. Moritz

It continues to be one of the most impressive polo events in Europe and after taking just one break since 1985, it will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Four high goal teams with a handicap of 17 to 18 will meet each other in the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow 2014 from January 30 to February 2 wearing the colours of Cartier, Ralph Lauren, BMW and Deutsche Bank. Stars like New Zealander John-Paul Clarkin (8), the two Australians Glen Gilmore (7) and Ruki Baillieu (7), as well as well-known 6-goalers such as Nacho Figueras from Argentina, Hissam Ali Hyder from Pakistan and the two Britons Chris Hyde and Max Charlton, will be there.

With a 5-4 victory against BMW, Jonathan Munro Ford’s Team Cartier won the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow 2013. He is now motivated to do the same this year with a team that is one point above all the others in the team handicap. Patron Jonathan Munro Ford said after the inspiring victory: “An absolutely fantastic final. We did what we set out to do. We‘re really happy and hope to be back here next year.” And so they are, with a view to winning again. The third-placed team Ralph Lauren beat Sal. Oppenheim last year, who ended up in fourth place. In 2014, Team Deutsche Bank will replace Sal. Oppenheim.

Bernhard Pöllinger from St. Moritz Polo AG is responsible for overseeing the infrastructure on the lake. In 2012, the lake did not freeze over enough and the ice was too thin, so he had to put a stop to the traditional tournament for the first time in its 30-year history. How well equipped is he now for all possible weathers and warm periods? “Nature is a factor you can‘t control. But the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow is taking place one week later in 2014 than in past years. So we‘ll gain an extra week during which the lake can freeze in low temperatures. We can also plan more flexibly in terms of building up the infrastructure and say: when the lake‘s frozen, then we‘ll play.”

The Engadin-based organisers have not got any major plans for the 30th anniversary as they already celebrated the 25th anniversary of the tournament in style. Pöllinger: “We‘re primarily interested in the history. We‘ve spoken to two of the founders and two of the officials who‘ve been there since the beginning and reconstructed the exciting milestones in the tournament‘s history. What were the challenges in technical and sporting terms thirty years ago? What does playing polo on snow and ice in the below-zero temperatures we’re used to in St. Moritz mean for the polo ponies and players? And how has the world‘s only high goal winter polo tournament developed into its present day form? We found some amazing old images that will be displayed as illustrated sheets in the hospitality area. And you will be able to read all about this unique history in the tournament programme. We won’t be having major celebrations like those for our 25th anniversary, but we‘ll certainly focus on it.” Another highlight will be the gala at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains where three of the top chefs in Switzerland – Andreas Caminada, Tanja Grandits and Nenad Mlinarevic – will be responsible for creating the dinner. The creations they come up with for the main courses will be a novelty to celebrate.

Every year, thousands of spectators come to the Swiss Engadin region to enjoy exciting chukkas in front of a beautiful mountain backdrop. The world‘s most prestigious and highest-endowed polo tournament on snow has been played in St. Moritz since 1985. In order to prepare the horses for the cold and particular conditions at 1,800 metres above sea level, many undergo special altitude training days and weeks before the World Cup. The founders are of course expected to attend the anniversary celebrations for the 30th anniversary.

The teams:
BMW (+17)
Richard Davis (0, GBR)
Jonny Good (+5, GBR)
Tarquin Southwell (+4, GBR)
John-Paul Clarkin (+8, NZ)

Cartier (+18)
Jonathan Munro Ford (0, AUS)
Max Charlton (+6, UK)
Chris Hyde (+6, UK)
Hissam Ali Hyder (+6, PAK)

Deutsche Bank (+17)
Karan Thapar (0, GBR)
Ryan Pemble (+5, GBR)
Oliver Hipwood (+5, GBR)
Glen Gilmore (+7, AUS)

Ralph Lauren (+17)
Michael Bickford (+1, USA)
Jamie Morrison (+3, UK)
Nacho Figueras (+6, ARG)
Ruki Baillieu (+7, AUS)

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