WELLINGTON, Fl.-Grand Champions Polo Club’s 20-goal team will make its 2017 season debut Thursday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The team of Grant Ganzi, 2, Inaki Laprida, 7, Nic Roldan, 8, and Juancito Bollini, 3, playing together for the first time, will compete in the eight-team Joe Barry Cup, the first of three 20-goal tournaments they are scheduled to play.
Grand Champions Polo Club will play Goose Creek (Maureen Brennan, 1, Peke Gonzalez, 4, Mariano Gonzalez, 7, Tomas Garcia Del Rio, 8) in Bracket II play in Thursday’s first game at noon followed by Coca Cola against Postage Stamp Farm at 3 p.m.
The Joe Barry Cup begins on Wednesday with two games. Villa del Lago Modere, coming off Sunday’s Herbie Pennell Cup title, plays La Indiana at 11 a.m.followed by Mt. Brilliant against Tonkawa at 3 p.m.
Other Bracket II teams are Coca Cola and Postage Stamp Farm, runner-up in Sunday’s Herbie Pennell Cup. Bracket I teams are Villa del Lago Modere, La Indiana, Mt. Brilliant and Tonkawa.
Grand Champions’ other pool play games are the featured Sunday game on Engel & Volkers Field against Coca Cola at 3 p.m. and Jan. 12 against Postage Stamp Farm at noon.
Other teams are:
Coca Cola: Gillian Johnston, Julian de Lusarreta, Julio Arellano, Del Walton.
La Indiana: Michael Bickford, Jeff Hall, Mike Azzaro, Ruki Baillieu.
Mt. Brilliant: Bo Goodman, Jason Crowder, Santi Chavanne, Julian Daniels.
Postage Stamp Farm: Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Mariano Aguerre, Kris Kampsen.
Tonkawa: Jeff Hildebrand, Costi Caset, Sapo Caset, Facundo Obregon.
Villa de Lago Modere: Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Hilario Ulloa, Carlucho Arellano.
Last year Ganzi and Roldan played together in the Joe Barry Cup with brothers Freddie and Julian Mannix for Audi-Millarville.
Ganzi, 18, raised to two goals this year, is one of the youngest players competing. The two-time USPA National Youth Tournament Series champion is a third generation player to win the coveted USPA North American Cup which his grandfather and father also won. He recently made his international debut for Team USA in wins over Canada in the Royal Polo Match and Uruguay in the International Cup in Wellington.
Laprida, 27, is a seven-goaler from Argentina and younger brother of Magoo Laprida. Inaki Laprida made his Argentine Open debut this past season. He started playing the game with his father, Christian, who was a top player on the Revlon team in the early 1990s. He competed with Faraway in the 2016 East Coast Open. He was raised to eight goals in Argentina.
Bollini, 20, is the oldest son of Argentine former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and rising young star raised to three goals this season. He is a two-time USPA National Youth Tournament Series national champion. He has played in several high goal tournaments including the 26-goal USPA Piaget Gold Cup where he filled in for an injured Marc Ganzi at age 16 and was a member of the winning Audi team in the 2015 East Coast Open in Greenwich.
Roldan, 34, is one of America’s top-rated players at eight goals. He is coming off successful seasons in England with La Indiana and Wellington including helping Team USA win its fifth consecutive International Cup in November at Grand Champions. At 15, he was the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Open 1998 with Escue.
Last year’s Joe Barry Cup winner was Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym (Nacho Badiola, Jared Zenni, Facundo Obregon, Jesse Bray) with a 14-13 win over Villa del Lago (Jim Zenni, Agustin Obregon, Hilario Ulloa, Gringo Colombres). Facundo Obregon was named MVP.
The tournament, created in 2005, is named after Joe Barry, a big-hitting 9-goal ranked American player, born and raised in Truscott, Tex., and one of the most well-liked players in the game. He dominated polo in the 1960s and 1970s.
The six-time U.S. Open winner was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1999. He also won three Gold Cups, three Silver Cups as well as Coronation and Camacho Cup trophies. Barry died on May 18, 2002 at age 58.
USPA Polo Network is live streaming the IPC winter season with content from Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with eleven well-manicured fields, enjoyed its finest fall season in club history. Grand Champions is the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments. The club also hosted eight successful medium goal tournaments.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
2017 WINTER SCHEDULE
January: 6-29, Metropolitan Cup (6 goal) and Aspen Valley Cup (8 goal); 8-28, The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series.
February: 1-26, Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal) and Top Pony 8 Goal Series; 1-25, USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.
February 22-March 11: Sterling Cup (20 goal) and John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (Subs. Handicap).
March: 1-26, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6 goal) and The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; 1-25, The Top Pony 12-Goal Series.
March 1-11: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament (Single elimination).
March 15-April 1: National 20-Goal; Santa Rita Abierto (Subs. Handicap).
April 1-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), winner-take-all single elimination.
April 1-25: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals).
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera @gcpolo.com; hotline 561-373-0073.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere that includes complimentary food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.