Polo is a team sport. Wearing the colors of Gstaad, Sébastien Le Page and his Argentinian accomplices provide clear proof. On Sunday afternoon, they masterfully executed their game on the unique polo field at Saanen airport, winning the Hublot Polo Gold Cup for the second consecutive year.
Martincito Aguerre‘s genius was not enough today. Indeed, Raul Laplacette‘s team play proved unbeatable. Despite scoring eleven goals once again (Team Gstaad‘s daily rate since last Thursday), it was the fierce defense of the defending champions that made the difference. The Hublot players could never penetrate their opponents‘ defensive wall. When they did, Raul Laplacette calmly stole the ball from the audacious attacker, freeing up space for the men from Gstaad to advance and score on the other end. Martin Aguerre Jr.‘s only option was to try his luck from a great distance. He succeeded twice and scored his other three goals from penalties. Five goals were all the team could muster today.
Earning their second title in two years, the polo field at Saanen airport has become the domain of Raul Laplacette, the most valuable player of the final and the tournament‘s top scorer with 17 goals. „On this kind of field, you have to keep moving forward with the ball, attacking relentlessly,“ said Laplacette. „Thanks to our organization—good players and fast horses—we were able to play excellent polo.“
The Swiss organization was set up at Polo Park Zurich by team captain Sébastien Le Page. „This second victory is all the more pleasing because it‘s practically the same team as last year, proving that our organization is working exceptionally well,“ Le Page celebrated. „I‘m both exhausted and thrilled, and I‘m looking forward to savoring this victory with some champagne, something I‘ve abstained from for the past two weeks.“ The French captain also praised his star player, „Raul is incredible; he controls the game so effectively that it seems like he‘s doing nothing when, in fact, he‘s everywhere and scoring an incredible number of goals. I believe he‘s one of the best players on the planet.“ On the Gstaad field, he could easily be a 10-goaler!
The match for third place was much tighter, with Kielder Agro Group securing their first win of the tournament thanks to two explosive opening chukkers: 5-0. They maintained this lead by fighting hard until the end, allowing only one goal in the last two periods while Gstaad Palace scored five. The final score was 6-5.
This 26th edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup was unanimously praised this year for its flawless and relaxed organization, technically excellent field, friendly reception, and above all, the attention given to the well-being of the horses. They were well-cared-for under new refereeing rules and, despite the weather, appeared to be in particularly good condition and eager to play.
Teams and progressions :
Team GSTAAD: Sébastien Le Page (hcp 0), Facundo Kelly (hcp 4, 2 goals), Francisco Fucci (hcp 4, 2 goals), Raul Laplacette (hcp 6, 7 goals)
Team HUBLOT: Jürgen Schröder (hcp 0), Juan Correa (hcp 3), Matias Gonzalez (hcp 4), Martin Aguerre Jr. (hcp 7, 5 goals)
Progression GSTAAD: 3/1 – 6/2 – 7/3 – 11/5
Team KIELDER AGRO GROUP: Cedric Schweri (hcp 0), Joao Novaes (hcp 5, 4 goals), Tomi Astelarra (hcp 3), Francisco Menendez (hcp 6, 2 goals)
Team GSTAAD PALACE: Peter Cromm (hcp 0), Pedro Fernandez Llorente (hcp 5, 2 goals), Teo von Neufforge (hcp 5), Segundo Condesse (hcp 4, 3 goals)
Progression KIELDER: 4/0 – 5/0 – 5/2 – 6/5
MVP: Raul Laplacette
BPP: Tintin, 8-year-old gelding, dark bay born in Argentina (by Cuarteto – a son of the famous Cuartetera – and Pollilla), played by Raul Laplacette.
Photos by Kathrin Gralla / Der Rote Drache and R&B Presse / P.Renauldon