The high goal season at Wellington kicked off on Sunday, December 30, with the Herbie Pennell Cup, which saw Dutta Corp take the title. The Joe Barry is now underway, and the season will culminate on April 21 with the US Open final.
But we won’t only have great polo in the States; Dubai promises much as the tenth anniversary of the Dubai Gold Cup Series gets ready for action. Nine 18-goal teams are set to fight for the title in what is the most competitive championship in the Middle East.
Thai Polo & Equestrian Club is also getting ready for an intense season of polo, which hots up in January, when Harald Link’s club hosts the Thai Polo Open and the B. Grimm Thai Polo Master (both 14-goal tournaments).
Here is a round up of the main players to follow in the upcoming seasons:
Juan Manuel García Grossi: The 18 year old had an unforgettable 2018 with Thai Polo, playing three stages of the RMPA International League and winning the title. This season he’s back with Thai Polo, hoping to claim the Thai Polo Open, title the home team has been after for a while.
Facundo Sola: The Cordoba local, recent finalist of the Argentine Open, will be one of the key players in the Dubai Gold Cup Series. Mohammed Al Habtoor trusts that the 9-goaler’s talent will be enough to claim at least one of the prestigious titles: the Silver Cup or the Julius Baer Gold Cup. The Las Monjitas player has had previous success in the Emirate, winning both titles in 2014 with Ghantoot.
Juan Britos: The 26-year old was one of the best players of the last Argentine season, and all eyes are on him, building great expectations for this young man. As in 2018, he will be heading to Palm Beach to play the high goal, but this year with Park Place. Britos has played with the organisation for the past few years in England, and the time has come to jump the pond and face new challenges in Wellington.
Facundo Pieres: After Ellerstina’s blow in Palermo, Facundo Pieres is ready to begin a new season. He will shortly debut in the Ylvisaker Cup with Pilot. The team played the 20-goal last year, and this season they will also compete in the new Gauntlet of Polo Series. Pieres has fallen short in the last two US Open finals, but he will now look for a new title alongside his brother Gonzalo.
Sapo Caset: What more can we say about this Lobos local? If Adolfo Cambiaso had not burnt it up in Palermo, Caset could easily have been named MVP of the Argentine Triple Crown. He will be representing Jeff Hildebrand’s Tonkawa once again, an organisation which has shown incremental growth over the past few years. Caset will play alongside his brother in law, Agustín Merlos, and together they will fight for a title.
Hilario Ulloa: Hilario was the star of the 2018 Palm Beach season. Not only did he take the US Open title with Daily Racing Form, defeating Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres in the final, but he was also chosen as the best mounted player of the season. Ulloa will face the season with Camilo Bautista and Las Monjitas, looking to ride the wave after their success in Argentina.
Adolfo Cambiaso: He is always the one to watch—Cambiaso will always be Cambiaso. But this year things will be different. The high goal in the United States has been divided, and only time will tell what impact the World Polo League Series—organised by Valiente y Grand Champions—will have on American polo. His La Dolfina teammates will also form part of this new challenge, as will many other notable players.
Bartolito & Camilo Castagnola: Why do we talk about them as if they are one? Because they will both once again represent Desert Palm in the Dubai Gold Cup Series. They are no longer up-and-coming players, but fully formed professionals, who are gradually carving a name for themselves in the international polo circuit.
Timmy Dutta: The young American started his season in the best way possible, winning the Herbie Pennell with his team Dutta Corp. As if that wasn’t enough, he has got off to a good start in the Joe Barry, and is hoping for more in the Ylvisaker Cup.
Michael Bickford: Considered one of the best playing patrons on the circuit, this season Michael Bickford has decided to make the jump from 20- to 22-goals in the US. La Indiana has put forward a competitive team, and should no way be underestimated. Bickford’s performance could be one of the determining factors in the organisation’s success.
Toro Ruiz: While he hasn’t yet debuted in the Argentine Triple Crown (he was La Cañada’s substitute in 2018), Victorino “Toro” Ruiz has been one of the best players of the 2017 and 2018 American seasons. His performance, in both Wellington and Greenwich, has given Stable Door Polo, his team for the 22-goal, reason to believe that this year could be a great one.
We also mustn’t forget to keep our eyes on Jared Zenni, Henry Porter, Nico Escobar, Matías Vial, Pelayo Berazadi, Tomás Panelo and Santiago Gómez Romero!