We’ve been watching Adolfo Cambiaso’s son, Poroto, with interest since he officially joined the La Dolfina roster, and he just proved himself in a big way. Really big. La Dolfina Brava I slammed its way into a slot in the Jockey Club Open final, taking a 10-5 win over La Dolfina Valiente in Saturday’s semifinals. Poroto, 12, is the youngest player ever to compete in the high-goal Argentine season. Nico Pieres previously held that distinction, having won the tournament when he was 15 playing for Ellerstina with his dad, Gonzalo Pieres, and his brothers Gonzalito and Facundo.
In Saturday’s semis LD Valiente trailed consistently (5-0 in the third chukker) but made an eleventh-hour push in the final chukker. Pablo MacDonough, whose enthusiasm earned him a yellow card, swooped in to convert two goals and keep the opposition off the board for the rest of the game. But at that point it was too little too late, and LD Brava I took the day.
We would have known the other finalist team by now had Mother Nature not intervened with a wallop of a rainstorm, which delivered 1.5 inches of rain (not unusual this time of year in Argentina). Sunday’s scheduled semi match between Pilará Black Label and Las Monjitas was postponed, date TBA. So far Las Monjitas has been taking no prisoners as the incarnation of last year’s Alegria squad (Sapo Caset, Facundo Sola and Negro de Lusarreta, playing with Hilario Ulloa instead of Fred Mannix).
The final is set for this Saturday, September 22.
IN THE WINGS NARROWLY MISSES FRENCH TRIPLE CROWN TITLE
“This victory is important for us,” said Robert Strom after his team, Sainte-Mesme, won the Paprec French Open 10-9 on Sunday. “It has been too long since we won this tournament. We were starting to get impatient!”
It has been nine years since Sainte-Mesme took the trophy (2009). The French team had made it to the final only once since then, losing in overtime (2014). Their 2018 victory kept their traditional rival, In The Wings, from claiming the French Triple Crown.
“A final is always more intense. This time the match was a bit less open. It was a more violent, closed game of polo. In The Wings is one the great teams in France,” said Strom, the young Sainte-Mesme captain. “We were aware of the competitiveness of our opponent; the players won together in Deauville, whereas we never played together before. But we knew each other very well and we get along perfectly outside of the field. I was convinced that this team would work!”
Best Playing Pony: Venuziana, 8 years old, Argentine mare, played by Pancho Besadon and bred by Javier Tanoira
DS AUTOMOBILE MOTORS ITS WAY TO FRENCH WOMEN’S OPEN TITLE
On the women’s side DS Automobile, led by Britain’s 10-goaler Nina Clarkin, seized the trophy after the most competitive tournament out of the seven editions of the French Women’s Open. DS Automobile won the final 9-7 over Engels & Völkers Why Not.
Never has France seen such an amazing women’s 16-goal tournament. Among the eight teams were the three best players in the world: Clarkin (10-goal handicap) and 9-goalers Lia Salvo and Hazel Jackson.
“It’s the first time I have played in Chantilly. The fields were fantastic and the experience great,” said Clarkin, who was named MVP. “The final was really tough but a great game with end-to-end runs and lots of goals. Why Not played really well, but we managed to take back the lead at the end of the second chukker and hold on—phew! My team went great and we stuck to our game plan and stayed focused.”
Best Playing Pony: Basil, 11 years old, played and bred by Nina Clarkin
AUDI COLLECTS ANOTHER US EAST COAST OPEN TROPHY
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the U.S. 20-goal summer season concluded at Greenwich Polo Club. Audi defeated Iconica 11-9 in the East Coast Open final. It was a big day for Audi’s Joaquin Panelo, who was MVP, going3-for-3 from the penalty line and making one goal from the field. His horse, Penelope, was named Best Playing Pony.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Matias Callejo (ARG Jockey Club Open)