The Hurlingham Open will be decided on Sunday. In the Ellerstina lineup, Hilario Ulloa is the only player who is yet to win the title. It will be his second final – his first was in 2017 with Alegria. After a solid start, winning the Tortugas Open, and displaying a fast level of play, Ellerstina’s number 2 is just hours away from riding onto the field and conquering his dream.
“There were very high expectations placed on us due to how we were going to play, with questions around whether we were building the right team because we didn’t have the right positions,” Hilario Ulloa tells Pololine TV. “Apart from winning Tortugas and reaching the final of the Hurlingham Open, the team is playing very well. We have found our rhythm and we are taking advantage of the speed of the horses and the players.”
“I know that it is up to us, up to Ellerstina, and that if we keep our style of play, if we keep that rhythm, if we keep hitting the ball, we have a big chance of winning,” says Ulloa.
It will be a very special final for Ulloa, not only because he will be playing for his first ever Hurlingham Open title, but also because he will be facing his brother-in-law Francisco Elizalde, and his former teammates, Facundo Sola and Guillermo Caset. “I am very happy for Fran,” says Ulloa. “He’s worked very hard, and he deserves to be in a final, he’s been fighting a lot to be in this spot over the last couple of years, to get mounted, to keep improving, and I think he’s playing at the highest level I’ve seen him over the last few years. I’m also very happy for Facu Sola and Sapo; we’ve been teammates and we all fight really hard to win tournaments. I think many things were said last year, but I’ll always be very proud of what they are doing, and I’m always happy to see them succeed. I want to win more than anything, but I’ll be happy if I see them winning, too.”
Playing for Ellerstina is always a big challenge, but the happiness that comes on this occasion is even bigger because many of his home-bred horses (Lavinia) are playing this Triple Crown, a remarkable feat for Hilario Ulloa and his family. “This is the result of many years of breeding and producing good horses, improving our bloodline, improving our way of breaking horses in, of training the horses, because it’s a tough challenge, and it took us many years to have so many horses playing the Open. I have eight Lavinia horses playing the Triple Crown, so I’m very proud of that. It’s down to the hard work of my family and I, and the dedication of my team over the last 15 years.”