Valiente claimed its second consecutive title in the Colorado Open Polo Championship, presented by J5 Equestrian, defeating newcomer Scone Polo 9-7 on August 25.The tournament took place at Valiente Polo Farm outside Denver. The final was held at Denver Polo Club in Sedalia in conjunction with PoloFest Denver 2018, an all-day music festival with top artists that drew a crowd of several thousand who danced and watched polo.
Scone was awarded the first-leg of the Triple Crown of Polo. The second leg is this weekend at Aspen Valley Polo Club, the final is Sunday September 2nd; the third leg for 2018 will be played in Wellington on November 14, Audi vs. Brasil. The 2019 Triple Crown of Polo will be played in Wellington this coming Winter.
The tournament offered prize money with a unique reward system for teams, players and horses. Of the $120,000 total, $40,000 was donated to the Equine Partnership Program, a local nonprofit organization that uses horses in psychotherapy sessions for the underprivileged. The remaining prize money was distributed over the course of the tournament. After each game the winning team received $6,000, with the Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony each getting $1,000. The prize money went up for the final, with $22,000 to the winning team and the MVP and BPP each receiving $3,000.
Opening the tournament August 11 with a narrow victory over Hawaii, Valiente found their stride in the remainder of the tournament with a revamped line-up including father and son Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, who was named MVP. Combining for 5.0 goals per game, the Cambiasos were joined by Santi Torres, who had a strong tournament finishing with eight goals, and Bob Jornayvaz, who was active as a receiver downfield.
Valiente was strong defensively, conceding just four goals in each of their remaining group games against Colorado and Scone to book their spot in the finals. In their final match-up against Scone, Valiente raced out to an early lead after two Cambiaso goals and didn’t look back as they never trailed in the game. With Adolfo Cambiaso managing the back, Poroto and Santi continued to impress as they were active around goal consistently throughout the tournament, helping Valiente shoot 52% from the field, which was best among the four teams and a crucial component to Valiente’s success.
Finalist Scone produced a strong showing, with its only losses coming to Valiente. Displaying a balanced offensive attack that saw three of their four players finish with at least 8 goals, Scone got off to a strong start thanks to the work of Guillermo Terrera who was MVP of the opening weekend. Agustin Nero was a strong complement to Terrera at the back as the two worked seamlessly together to create scoring chances for Scone.
The strength of Scone was shown in their ability to make adjustments as they outscored their opponent in the second half of every game. Whether it was the transition of Terrera from the front of the game to the back or using Augusto Romero more downfield, Scone consistently finished effectively, including a comeback against Colorado.
In one of the most exciting games of the tournament, a dominant sixth chukker from Hawaii saw them erase a three-goal deficit to outscore Colorado 5-0 and steal a 12-10 victory. Trailing throughout the entire game, three goals from Diego Cavanagh, including an impressive run that saw him weave through all four players onthe Colorado defense, gave Hawaii their lone win during group play. Both teams were unable to record a win in their other group games, setting up a rematch in the Subsidiary final with Hawaii once again coming out on top. Tommy Collingwood had a strong showing throughout the tournament in the back position, allowing 9-goaler Cavanagh to attack downfield.
While Colorado remained winless, they held leads in the second half in two of their three group games and were unable to hold on for the victories. Juan Martin Obregon and Pablo Spinacci displayed an effective transition that created numerous chances for Colorado, but it was missed opportunities late in games that kept them from challenging for the tournament victory.
Valiente: Bob Jornayvaz 2, Santi Torres 6, Poroto Cambiaso 2, Adolfo Cambiaso 10
Hawaii Polo Life: Chris Dawson 2, Nano Gracida 4, Tommy Collingwood 5, Diego Cavanagh 9
Scone Polo: David Paradice 1, Agustín Nero 6, Agusto Gómez Romero 5, Guillermo Terrera 8
Colorado: Rob Jornayvaz 1, Juan Martín Obregon 5, Pablo Spinacci 6, Gallego Ferrario 7