The United States suffered a stinging 12-6 loss to Flannels England in the 2018 Westchester Cup. The match took place at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Windsor on Saturday, July 28. The tightly knit 25-goal UK contingent, which started with an automatic goal because of the handicap difference, rolled over the 28-goal United States team (Peke Gonzalez, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan and Julio Arellano).
It was yet another command performance by three members of the El Remanso Polo team (James Beim, Ollie Cudmore, James Harper), on fire after claiming the King Power Gold Cup for the British Open a week earlier. The English team swash buckled their way to the Westchester trophy, bolstered by 22-year-old Tommy Beresford in his Westchester debut. It was the first time Beresford played for his country at a higher level than the World Cup qualifiers (14-goal).
Looking back on the Westchester, Beresford had kind words for his opponents. “Playing the American team is always nice. They have a lot of talented players, and I’ve had the pleasure of playing against all of them a few times. It’s a nice feeling to not be playing against people you have no idea what they’re like,” he said.
“It was tough for the Americans coming as a visiting team. They’re a new team on rented horses, playing at a place they don’t know. Even though they were handicapped higher than us, I think we had the home team advantage. Three of our players have been playing with El Remanso the past three years in a row, so we definitely had a bit more team chemistry than they did. I slotted in at the back and let my teammates do their job at the front, and that worked quite well.”
What surprised Beresford about the game? “The result,” he said. “Not necessarily that we won, but that we won by such a big margin against a very talented team. The conditions didn’t favor the Americans. Unfortunately [for them] they didn’t have their best day, but they put in a great effort.”
The 2019 Westchester Cup will be played in the U.S.
MVP: James Beim
BPP: Salsita, 8-year-old American Thoroughbred mare owned and played by Beim
Repurposed Racehorse BPP: Marisal, 9-year-old Argentine Thoroughbred gelding owned and played by Nic Roldan
DUBAI WINS COPA DE BRONCE ESTRELLA DAMM HIGH-GOAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Dubai won the championship of the high-goal Copa de Bronce Estrella Damm (Bronze Cup) in Sunday’s 47th edition of the Torneo Internacional de Polo de Sotogrande (Sotogrande International Polo Tournament). Dubai defeated Bardon Polo Team 12-10 at Santa María Polo Club in Sotogrande.
Dubai’s winning lineup included Alfredo Capella, brothers Camilo and Bartolomé Castagnola and Rashid Albwardy. Bardon’s roster: Alejandro Muzzio, Alejo Taranco, Matías Machado and Andreas Tambor.
KLENTNER RANCH LEADS THE PACK IN MASERATI OF CALIFORNIA USPA AMERICA CUP
Five 16-goal teams began the Maserati of Santa Barbara USPA America Cup last Friday at Santa Barbara Polo Club. The final of the three-week tournament is set for August 12.
Undefeated Klentner Ranch (Jesse Bray 6, Mariano Obregon 6, Remy Muller 3 and Justin Klentner 1) took two wins (12-6 over Farmers & Merchants Bank and 10-8 over Lucchese). In the opener against FMB,Obregon scored six goals for Klentner, with an additional five by Bray and one by Muller.
In their second win Klentner Ranch tallied welcomed a new “member” to the team. Mariano Obregon’s first son was born in Santa Barbara shortly after the match on Monday. Muller stood out in the matchup against Lucchese, consistently pulling the team forward and adding two goals to the tally. Klentner Ranch pulled ahead by one in the third chukker, but a stagnant fourth chukker left both teams scoreless. Klentner Ranch rallied, with Bray scoring five and Obregon an additional three goals in Klentner Ranch’s second victory.
“We played with the same team for the past two years and really had figured out our system,” said Bray. “Now we have a few games under our belt [with the new team], and we are solidifying our game plan.”
Bray’s father, former 7-goal player Graham Bray, is coaching the team.
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF HPA HANDICAPS FOR 2019 SEASON
Handicap changes for 2019 were announced by the HPA on August 1. They take effect January 1, subject to confirmation at the EOS handicap meeting in September and by the stewards in November. Among the most notable increases, Nic Roldan goes to 8, James Beim to 7 and Tommy Beresford to 6. Three players were raised to 5. Of them, Charlie Hanbury and Alec White went up the usual way, raised one goal, but Byron Watson jumped up two levels (from 3 to 5). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gonzalito Pieres dropped from 10 to 9 and Tincho Merlos from 9 to 8. Three players (Facundo Sola, Guillermo Terrera and Santiago Toccalino) went from 8 to 7.
Complete list of handicap changes: http://www.hpa-polo.co.uk/download/22-VL-Handicap-Changes_3.pdf
Photography: © USPA/Helen Cruden (Westchester Cup), Snoopy Productions/Santa María Polo Club (Copa de Bronce), and David Lominska (Maserati of Santa Barbara USPA America Cup).