By: Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by: ChukkerTV
WELLINGTON, FL, February 21, 2021— Richard Mille bested Hawaii Polo Life by 13-8 to win the All-Star Challenge.
Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Pablo MacDonough, and Paco de Narvaez) took on Hawaii Polo Life (Chris Dawson, Jejo Taranco, Poroto Cambiaso, and Adolfo Cambiaso) in the final match of the All-Star Challenge yesterday on Grand Champions Field Two. Both Richard Mille and Hawaii Polo Life were 26-goal teams.
Hawaii Polo Life seized control of play at the start, with Poroto Cambiaso taking the ball from the bowl-in and running it to goal. An illegal rideoff gave Hawaii Polo Life a Penalty 5a from the spot, and Adolfo Cambiaso sent the ball downfield. A broken play left the ball loose and Adolfo swooped in to turn it and score. With 1:42 remaining, Pablo MacDonough capitalized on horsepower to make a run for the posts and put the first goal of the day on the board for Richard Mille.
Poroto started the second chukker as he did the first, quickly gaining control of the ball, feinting to the left of the field to lose his man, and turning toward the goal. However, Richard Mille dominated the play and Jeta Castagnola found the uprights twice, tying the score at 3-all with 28 seconds remaining in the chukker. It was a fierce defensive battle, with both teams using all four players well.
At the beginning of the third chukker, Poroto Cambiaso seized control of the ball from the throw-in yet again and broke out in front, hotly pursued by Paco de Narvaez. Unable to take a full swing, Cambiaso resorted to a nearside neck shot to put the ball through. Richard Mille was unable to get past Hawaii Polo Life’s defense to score, while Poroto found the posts with 43 seconds remaining to end the half with Hawaii Polo Life in the lead by 5-3.
Trouble started for Hawaii Polo Life in the fourth chukker when they challenged the umpire’s call on a right of way violation. The lost the challenge and incurred a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, allowing Jeta Castagnola and Marc Ganzi to score on penalty shots. Richard Mille converted four penalty shots during the chukker, while Jejo Taranco scored one goal for Hawaii Polo Life. The chukker ended with Richard Mille leading 7-6. Hawaii Polo Life needed to seize the initiative in the vital fifth chukker, but Richard Mille dominated play from the start. Jeta Castagnola got out in front by a good four lengths to put the ball through for Richard Mille.
Pablo MacDonough roared to life, scoring three goals from the field. Another conduct violation gave Marc Ganzi the opportunity to convert a Penalty 2 and the chukker ended with Richard Mille leading by 12-6. MacDonough opened the final chukker by scoring in the first 30 seconds, putting his team ahead by 13-6. Hawaii Polo Life fought to the end, and with 2:40 remaining, Jejo Taranco found the posts. With 48 seconds left to play, Chris Dawson made a breakwaway downfield to score the final goal of the match. Richard Mille carried the day, winning with a score of 13-8.
Pablo MacDonough, who was named MVP, said “We knew it would be a tough game against that team, but the fifth chukker was decisive.”
The Argentine Polo Association Best Playing Pony was La Dolfina Volaris, a 7-year-old mare played in the second chukker by Poroto Cambiaso. The World Polo League Best Playing Pony was Clavel, owned and played by Paco de Narvaez. The American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony was Irenita Rastrojera, played by Pablo MacDonough.
Founded by Grand Champions owners and president Melissa and Marc Ganzi, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL was created to preserve the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the United States. The WPL, boasting 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, will follow the season opening All-Star Challenge with a number of top-level tournaments that will include: Founder’s Cup, Palm Beach Open, Triple Crown of Polo, and Beach Polo World Cup, Miami Beach April 21-25.
The World Polo League attracts the sport’s top players from every corner of the world, including: Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, an exercise track, five climate controlled tack rooms, a vet room, staff quarters, a guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and plans to build more in the future.
World Polo League matches will continue to be closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We closely adhere to Florida state and CDC guidelines, and take all measures possible to maintain a safe environment that will allow us to continue playing. We look very forward to the day we can welcome our fans back. In the interim, please visit www.worldpolo.org for more information. Matches can be viewed on www.chukkertv.com.