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Casablanca Wins Sterling Cup Opener; SD Farms Plays Pilot Saturday At Valiente; Cambiaso Makes Debut Monday

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Casablanca Wins Sterling Cup Opener; SD Farms Plays Pilot Saturday At Valiente; Cambiaso Makes Debut Monday

WELLINGTON, Fl., January 25, 2020---Casablanca is one of the early favorites after its convincing win on opening day of the prestigious Sterling Cup Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Rodrigo Andrade, 9, Juan Bollini, 5) led from start-to-finish for a 12-7 victory over Grand Champions (Santos Bollini, 1, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Lucas James, 8, Horacio Heguy, 6).

Juancito Bollini of Casablanca scores one of his game-high seven goals.

Grand Champions next plays Santa Clara on Sunday at noon at Jan Pamela Field 2. Casablanca plays Santa Clara on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at a site to be determined.

Behind the hot mallet of Juancito Bollini, Casablanca shut out Grand Champions, 3-0, in the third chukker to lead at the half, 5-3.

Pablo Spinacci of Grand Champions hooks Rodrigo Andrade of Casablanca.

Casablanca, playing well as a team, pulled away for a 7-3 lead with 3:49 left in the fourth chukker and 10-4 with 4:05 left in the fifth chukker. Grand Champions came within four goals (11-7) early in the sixth chukker but Casablanca kept its composure and remained in control.

Many players are using the Sterling Cup as a tuneup for the upcoming second season of the 26-goal World Polo League that begins in February. Others were just glad to be back on a polo field.

Juan Bollini of Casablanca about to back the ball past Pablo Spinacci 
of Grand Champions.


"I am so happy to be back and playing here again," Grant Ganzi said. "I enjoyed my time in Aspen a lot but I'm glad to be here especially days like today where it's gorgeous out. "It's great to be back on Grand Champions fields, they are really nice. I think it shows a lot where we had a game here yesterday and played again today and it's still great.

"Those guys played us really well. It was a fun game. We were a little flat and then Juan caught fire so we kept giving him the ball and working for him. He got us going and gave us the lead. Then we focused on conserving horses, looking forward to the next game and next month for the World Polo League."

Rodrigo Andrade of Casablanca hooks Pablo Spinacci 
of Grand Champions.

Ganzi has never won the prestigious Sterling Cup. A victory would be a nice lead-up to the World Polo League.

"It would be huge to win, I have never won it," Ganzi said. "I lost it in heartbreaking fashion to Travieso. Last year we lost in the semis against Colorado. There are a lot of good teams in the tournament, but it would be nice to win it. We are just looking at game by game."

Grant Ganzi of Casablanca tries to get the ball past Horacio Heguy of Grand Champions.

The game featured three generations of the Bollini family. Juan Bollini was playing with his son Juancito against his youngest son Santos and his 7-monthh-old grandson Silvestre was watching from the crowd. The last time Bollini competed in the Sterling Cup was 1994.

"This is incredible for me, a day like this is something incredible," Bollini said. "I am very pleased and appreciate the opportunity Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) have given me with this. I am very happy and can't ask for much more in my life."

Big hitting Juan Bollini of Casablanca shows off for his grandson Silvestre in the background.

At 57, Juan Bollini will make his WPL debut with Audi led by Nacho Figueras. Bollini is a cancer survivor after being diagnosed with colon cancer on June 2, 2016 followed by successful treatment.

"I am very excited about the World Polo League," Bollini said. "To play in the World Polo League, the highest handicap tournament in the world, is an honor. Just to participate is incredible. For me after I went through what I did, participating in this game of polo is most important. Winning is secondary in my life."

Juancito Bollini scored a game-high seven goals. Andrade added three goals and Ganzi and Juan Bollini each had one goal. Spinacci led Grand Champions with three goals. Heguy had two goals and Santos Bollini and Lucas James each added one goal.

Lucas James of Grand Champions attempts to hook Juan Bollini of Casablanca.

"It was fun having my whole family out there," Bollini said. "Our team relaxed a little after we got the lead. We were controlling the game and still up by a couple of goals. It's the first game of the season so we don't want to run the horses too much.

"This tournament isn't as big as the World Polo League but obviously winning is everything."

The Sterling Cup continues on Saturday with SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, Robertito Zedda, 5, Jejo Taranaco, 8, Santi Torres/Jero del Carrill, 7) playing Pilot (Curtis Pilot, 0, Gonzalo Pieres, 10, Facundo Pieres, 10, Lucas Escobar, 2) at Valiente Polo Farm at 3 p.m.

Juancito Bollini of Casablanca works the ball past Grand Champions defenders 
Horacio Heguy and Lucas James.

With the new addition of Pilot, six star-studded teams are now competing in the prestigious tournament.

Polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, coming off last week's inaugural AlUla Desert Saudi Arabia Polo Championships, will make his winter season debut with Valiente against Pilot on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Last year in one the biggest upsets in Sterling Cup history, Colorado won the title, its first major 20-goal tournament. Colorado (Rob Jornayvaz, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Nick Johnson, 3) rallied for a thrilling 9-8 upset of defending champion Valiente (Kian Hall, 3, Robertito Zedda, 4, Poroto Cambiaso, 3, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) in front of a good local crowd.

Grant Ganzi of Casablanca battles Horacio Heguy of Grand Champions for the ball.


It was Colorado's biggest tournament win in its two-year history as a team and first time all four players won the Sterling Cup including Johnson, who was making his 20-goal tournament debut.

Argentine 9-goaler Diego Cavanagh was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high four goals including the game-winner with two minutes left on an amazing 60-yard safety conversion in  windy conditions.

In the 2018 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 (Marc Ganzi, Henry Porter, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres), 10-4, in the final. Mia Cambiaso was MVP.

Santos Bollini of Grand Champions works the ball out of the air.

The Sterling Cup is one of several prestigious tournaments the nation's largest and most innovative polo club resurrected four years ago after a 22-year absence. It was brought back by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi in hopes of recapturing polo's glory days. It was the second tournament of the 22-goal season at Palm Beach Polo after the January Challenge Cup and last played in 1995. It was considered the 22-goal championship and attracted as many as eighteen teams.

During the winter season in Wellington, Grand Champions is hosting 19 tournaments, the most of any club in the U.S., including five in January. The highlight of the schedule is the second season of the 26-goal World Polo League, featuring at least 11 teams and most of the best players in the sport.

With 18 safe and well-manicured fields, including 11-tournament grade, the club will host every level of polo for men, women and children including the WPL, the only 26-goal polo held outside of Argentina featuring the best players in the world.

Santos Bollini of Grand Champions works the near side shot with Rodrigo Andrade of Casablanca defending.

The club attracts a large international field of players from all corners 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 England.

Grand Champions is coming off its finest fall season in the club's 13-year history. It was the only club in the nation to stage two 20-goal fall tournaments in addition to the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. The club also hosted a full schedule of successful and highly-competitive medium goal tournaments.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility, nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital Wellington. It features 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and new parking lot.

Got to love those World Polo League t-shirts on the hard-working Grand Champions grooms. The WPL season is right around the corner.
Photos by Grand Champions Polo Club

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm's 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, created by Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm. 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. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

2020 WINTER SCHEDULE

JANUARY
Metropolitan Cup
Tuesday 1/28 4 p.m. Metropolitan Cup Final
 Bushwood vs. Altair

Aspen Valley Cup
Sunday 1/26 12 p.m. Flexjet vs SD Farms at GCPC Field 5
Thursday 1/30 3 p.m. Aspen Valley Cup Final 

Limited Edition
Sunday 1/26 10 a.m. The Limited Edition Final at GCPC Field 3
 Newport vs Beverly Equestrian 

WCT Ladies League
Wednesday 1/29 10 a.m. at Santa Rita

Sterling Cup
Saturday 1/25 3 p.m. SD Farms vs Pilot at Valiente #2
Sunday 1/26  12 p.m. Grand Champions vs Santa Clara at Jan Pamela Field 2
Monday 1/27 Valiente vs Pilot at Valiente 
Wednesday 1/29 10 a.m. Santa Clara vs Casablanca
Wednesday 1/29 12 p.m. SD Farms vs Valiente
TBA  Sterling Cup Final


JAN 26-Feb 9    $100,000 World Cup, 0-40
JAN-APR           WCT Ladies Wednesday League

FEBRUARY
FEB 1-29            Halo Polo Trophy, 6
FEB 1-29            Top Pony 8 Goal
FEB 1-29            Sieber Memorial Trophy
FEB 6-16            WPL All-Star Challenge
FEB 19-MAR 1    WPL Founders Cup
FEB 25-MAR 8    $50,000 National 12-Goal

MARCH
MAR 1-29             Madelon Bourdieu Memorial
MAR 1-29             Limited Edition 8-Goal Series    
MAR 1-28             Top Pony 12-Goal Series
MAR 4-22             WPL Palm Beach Open
MAR 28-APR 18  WPL Triple Crown of Polo
MAR 31-APR 4    WCT Finals

APRIL
APR 4-19            Las Acacias, 4-8
APR 6-12            U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship

Polo Hotline 561-644-5050
THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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