WELLINGTON, March 2, 2023—Scone won its second Sterling Cup title in three years Wednesday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
In front of a good crowd, Scone (Sarah Siegel Magness, 0, Cody Ellis, 4, Poroto Cambiaso, 9, Pelon Stirling, 9) led for most of the game for a 13-10 victory over Valiente (Chris Dawson, 0, Paquito de Narvaez, 3, Tomas Panelo, 8, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10).
Poroto Cambiaso, 17, earned Most Valuable Player honors after scoring seven goals and finishing with 14 for the tournament. It was the fourth time Cambiaso won the tournament.
„I have played with Poroto many times,“ Siegel Magness said. „He is a very gracious player. He wants you to have fun. He hits very long balls and keeps it very simple.“
Cambiaso also swept the Best Playing Pony awards. Cambiaso‘s fifth-chukker horse Irenita Insignia earned the American Polo Horse Association award and his second-chukker horse Dolfina Lapa Clone CO5 was the Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony.
In the fast-paced open game, the score was tied four times in the first two chukkers before Scone found its momentum to take a 6-3 lead at the end of the second chukker and 7-5 advantage at halftime.
Scone came out blazing in the fourth chukker for a 4-0 shutout including three goals by Cambiaso, and 11-5 lead. Valiente shut out Scone in the fifth chukker, 2-0, to close the gap and trail 11-7 but Scone never lost its composure or the lead.
„I felt very grateful that they allowed me to sub,“ said Siegel Magness, competing in only her second 22-goal game. „It was super fun. I‘m very happy. Hopefully David (Paradice) will be happy that we won.
„It was only my second 22-goal team so I needed to get use to the speed. When my mallet broke it was such a bummer. I kept hitting it and thinking why is it not doing what I want it to do. And then boom.“
In addition to Cambiaso‘s seven goals, Sterling, Ellis and Siegel Magness each had two goals. Panelo led Valiente with four goals. Dawson and Adolfo Cambiaso each had two and de Narvaez had one goal. The team was awarded one goal on handicap.
For the game, Scone outshot Valiente, 19-12 and led in throw-ins, 10-9. Valiente led in knock-ins, 5-3. Each team was assessed four penalities, with Valiente converting three of theirs. In the first half, Scone outshot Valiente, 9-5 and led in throw-ins, 6-4.
In the opening semifinal, Scone (Cable Magness, Cody Ellis, Poroto Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling) defeated Audi (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Barto Castagnola) to advance with a 14-11 victory.
In the other semifinal, Valiente (Robert Jornayvaz, Peke Gonzalez, Luckitas Criado, Adolfo Cambiaso) advanced with a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over upset-minded Tamera (Ale Poma/Miguel Novillo Astrada, Pedrinho Zacharias, Diego Cavanagh, Secundo Saravi).
The prestigious Sterling Cup was resurrected seven years ago after a 22-year absence. It was brought back by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi in hopes of recapturing polo‘s glory days.
In the 2021 final, Scone held off La Indiana, 14-13, to capture the prestigious trophy. Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, Peke Gonzalez and Australian patron David Paradice came from behind to defeat La Indiana (Nico Escobar, Jeff Hall, Polito Pieres, Milo Dorignac) in a battle of unbeaten teams. For the second consecutive year, Adolfo Cambiaso was named MVP.
In 2020, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) won its second Sterling Cup in three years with a 12-9 win over Santa Clara (Henry Porter 3, Matias Magrini 7, Nachi du Plessis 8, Luis Escobar 4). Adolfo Cambiaso was MVP. In 2019, Colorado knocked off Valiente, 9-8, in the final.
In the 2018 Sterling Cup tournament Adolfo, Mia and Poroto Cambiaso made history by winning their first-ever high goal tournament together. Along with teammate Magoo Laprida, Valiente knocked off pre-tournament favorite Audi, 10-4, in the final. Mia Cambiaso was MVP.
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 four at Santa Rita.
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, Polo School Ladies League weekly play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions and Santa Rita.
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 Sieber Memorial, currently underway; $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial, WCT Finals 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, Sunset Chukkers & Cocktails and Great Futures Polo Day featuring Celebrity Polo.
The biggest highlight of the season is the fifth season of the World Polo League currently underway with the Founders Cup. The nation‘s only 26-goal league features some of the world‘s top players including 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough and team sponsors. 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.
The winter season is being live-streamed locally and worldwide on Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV Sports).
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.
By Sharon Robb
Photos by Candace Ferreira