WELLINGTON, Fl., January 29, 2017–-Hawk Hill led from start-to-finish to capture the season-opening Metropolitan Cup 6-Goal Handicap title on a chilly Saturday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Hawk Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second chukker and went on to defeat Grand Champions, 5-2.
|Hawk Hill champions Philip Mactaggart, Gringo Colombres, Juanse Olivera and Nico Diaz Alberdi.|
Hawk Hill (Nico Diaz Alberdi, Juanse Olivera, Gringo Colombres, Philip Mactaggart) had too much offensive firepower and team chemistry for Grand Champions (Richard Desich, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor).
Hawk Hill finished the tournament with a 3-1 record. Grand Champions evened its record at 2-2.
|Grant Ganzi of Grand Champions works the ball out of a crowd of Hawk Hill players.|
“We were lucky to win the tournament,” Colombres said. “Grand Champions always is a good team, a good organization and always has good horses. It wasn’t easy. We were lucky we scored early goals in the second chukker.”
Mactaggart, 60, a late starter in polo, was named Most Valuable Player. Mactaggart was introduced to the game in 2006. He plays under the colors of his farm, Hawk Hill.
|Philip Mactaggart of Hawk Hill shows off his MVP award.|
“Nobody likes to lose,” Mactaggart said. “Whether it’s the 20-goal or the 6-goal, Gringo hates to lose. They are young and they are hungry. We had fun out there.
“It’s fun to win the tournament, it beats losing,” Mactaggart said. “It is a beautiful day.”
|Hawk Hill’s Philip Mactaggart defends Santos Bollini.|
Colombres has played with Mactaggart for four years. “He is amazing,” said the Argentine 6-goaler.
“He has improved a lot. This last year he has gotten better horses and he is more fit. He is really enjoying polo.”
|Gringo Colombres of Hawk Hill tries to avoid Grant Ganzi’s hook.|
Olivera led Hawk Hill in scoring with two goals. Alberdi, Mactaggart and Colombres each had one goal. Ganzi scored all of Grand Champions goals in the second and third chukker.
Colombres agreed with Mactaggart’s description of his mentality when it comes to playing polo.
|Juanse Olivera of Hawk Hill hits away from Lucas Lalor of Grand Champions.|
“He’s right, I don’t like to lose,” Colombres said. “It’s better when you have a smile. I never have a smile when I lose.”
Hawk Hill had a combination of veteran experience with Mactaggart; youth with 14-year-olds Olivera, a freshman at Wellington High School, and Alberdi; and steadying influence of Colombres, a member La Indiana that recently won the 20-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
|Hawk Hill teammates Gringo Colombres and Philip Mactaggart driving the ball downfield.|
“I have played with Philip the last four years,” Colombres said. “I like to have young kids on the team who want to improve and want to learn. It’s great to have these kind of people on the team. We are a great combination.
“It’s always nice and amazing to start the season with a win,” Colombres said. “January is the first month. The horses are getting better and better. I am happy to start like this.”
|Philip Mactaggart of Hawk Hill races ahead of Grant Ganzi.|
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 only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
|Metropolitan Cup awards table with Santa Rita Polo Farm in the background. Photos by ChukkerTV.|
2017 WINTER SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
Metropolitan Cup (6 goal): Championship Final at Santa Rita Polo Farm, Willow Farm vs. Banks Mill Feed, date and time TBA.
Aspen Valley Cup (8 goal): Handicap Final, Odosan vs. Patagones; Final, Hawk Hill vs. Seacap, date and time TBA.
The Limited Edition Series (12 goal): Handicap Final, Beverly Equestrian vs. GSA, date and time TBA.
FEBRUARY: 1-26, Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal) and Top Pony 8 Goal Series; 1-25, USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy; Women’s League, every Wednesday.
FEBRUARY 22-March 11: Sterling Cup (20 goal) and John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (Subs. Handicap).
MARCH: 1-26, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6 goal) and The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; 1-25, The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Women’s League, every Wednesday.
MARCH 1-11: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament (Single elimination).
MARCH 15-April 1: National 20-Goal; Santa Rita Abierto (Subs. Handicap).
APRIL 1-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), winner-take-all single elimination.
APRIL 1-25: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals), Women’s League, every Wednesday.
APRIL 5-8: WCT Finals and Women’s Polo Week.