KITZBUHEL, Austria, January 15, 2023—-Intocast won the battle of the unbeatens to capture the 20th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup.
Intocast (Matthias Normann, 1, Micky Duggan, 5, Martin Juaregui, 5) rallied in the third chukker for a 10-7 victory over Bendura Bank (Philip de Groot, 1, Adrian Laplacette, 7, Tito Gaudenzi, 3) in front of more than 3,000 fans including 750 in the soldout VIP tent on Sunday.
Argentine Martin Juaregui swept both the Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony honors. Juaregui played in the World Polo League for Pampa Norte Biotricity and U.S. Open for Santa Rita and tournaments at Grand Champions. Batucada won the Kitzbuhel Country Club blanket for BPP.
Bentley Berlin (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Alfonso Pieres, 5, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7) won its second game of the tournament with a decisive 8-4 victory over Bodvar (Daniel Deistler, 0, Clemente Delfosse, 6, Patrick Maleitzke, 6) to win the Kitzbuhel Country Club Cup as fifth-place finisher. Ganzi, the only woman player in the tournament, scored three more goals to bring her two-day total to six.
Mackage (Hugo Baldwin, 1, Hernan Pieres, 4, Oli Hipwood, 6) edged World Polo League (Peter Cromm, 0, Agustin Wagner, 4, Patricio Neves, 6), 9-8.5, in the Casablanca Cup game for third and fourth places.
Engel & Volkers (Henrique Schalldach, 2, Marcus Schalldach, 2, Leonardo Rodrigues, 7) defeated Veuve Clicquot (Sebastian Schneeberger, 1, Martijn van Scherpenzeel, 2, Valentin Novillo Astrada, 7), 7-5.5 in the Bodvar Rose Cup game for seventh and eighth places.
The players had one final social event with the lavish polo gala that attracted 700 guests in the VIP tent, fine food and drink and entertainment provided by Cookies and Cream.
Founded in 1979, team sponsor Intocast took over the business activities of Eugen Schwarz Gmbh, who since 1922, had been supplying the German and European steel industry with consumables for iron and steelmaking. The industry leader has a network of 12 German and 19 foreign sites.
The snow polo tournament was started in 2003 by Tito Gaudenzi and his father Reto with four teams and 1,000 fans. It has grown into one of the country‘s major sporting events, eight teams and attracts more than 10,000 fans over three days including a soldout VIP tent of 750 spectators. This year‘s event attracted 10,000 fans over three days.
„What we have created here together with the Kitzbuhel Tourist Association and Bendura Bank despite the conditions is a true sign that we can achieve anything together and that we are an incredible team,“ said Tito Gaudenzi.
„We are happy to have celebrated 20 years of polo in Kitzbuhel and look forward to the next 20 years. We are also in full planning for the first summer tournament in Kitzbuhel.“
Ganzi was the first woman to win the 2018 Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup. She was the first woman to win the 35th Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz in January, 2019. She was also the first woman to compete in the St. Moritz Snow Polo Tournament in 2016 and first woman to make the final in 2017. She is the first woman to win the St. Regis World Snow Polo Tournament for Flexjet in 2016.
Ganzi will now compete in the Jan. 27-29 St. Moritz event along with her son Grant and Astrada for World Polo League and husband Marc, Nic Roldan and Freddie Mannix for Team Clinique La Prairie.
Jan-Erik Franck, the voice of polo who also announces during the winter season at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm, handled the always entertaining announcing in Kitzbuhel and also heads to St. Moritz before heading to South Florida for the 26-goal World Polo League that begins in February in Wellington.
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, women‘s weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions.
Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Argentina, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Venezuela, Chile, and England.
Season highlights for 2023 are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, Sieber Memorial, John T. Oxley Memorial, the inaugural Richard Riemenschneider Memorial Cup and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and special events including World Polo League Polo Pride and Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails.
The biggest highlight of the season is the fifth season of the World Polo League, the nation‘s only 26-goal league featuring some of the world‘s top players and team sponsors at Grand Champions. The WPL has been filling the void created when the U.S. Polo Association, the sport‘s governing body, announced it was lowering high goal polo to 18-22 goals and would not have 26-goal polo.
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 Santa Rita Polo Farm.
The winter season will be live-streamed locally and worldwide on Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV).
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 Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.
Teams 20. Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbühel
1. Intocast (+11)
Matthias Normann, TC, AUT (+1)
Micky Duggan, ARG (+5)
Martin Juaregui, ARG (+5)
2. Bendura Bank (+11)
Philip de Groot, TC, NED (+1)
Adrian Laplacette Jr., ARG (+7)
Tito Gaudenzi, CH (+3)
3. World Polo League (+10)
Peter Cromm, TC, GER (+0)
Agustin Wagner, ARG (+4)
Patricio Neves, ARG (+6)
4. Mackage (+11)
Hugo Baldwin, TC, ENG (+1)
Hernan Pieres, ARG (+4)
Oli Hipwood, ENG (+6)
5. Bentley (+12)
Melissa Ganzi, TC, USA (+0)
Alfonso Pieres, ARG (+5)
Alejandro Novillo Astrada, ARG (+7)
6. Bodvar (+11)
Henrik Deistler, TC, GER (-1)
Clemente Delfosse, FRA (+6)
Patrick Maleitzke, GER (+6)
7. Engel & Völkers (+11)
Henrique Schalldach, TC, BRA (+2)
Marcus Schalldach, BRA (+2)
Leandro Rodrigues, BRA (+7)
8. Veuve Clicquot (+10)
Sebastian Schneberger, TC, GER (+1)
Martijn van Scherpenzeel, NED (+2)
Valentin Novillo Astrada, ARG (+7)
Photos by Reinhardt & Sommer Fotografen