WELLINGTON, FL—September 7, 2017----Grand Champions Polo Club makes its international debut Friday in the opening round of the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The team of Melissa Ganzi, 1, Juan Bollini, 7, and Tito Gaudenzi, 3, is the only U.S. team in the four-team field for the three-day tournament. Grand Champions will be sponsored by Improtex Motors.
Other teams are Monte Carlo (Team Pasha Private Banking), Evviva Polo Club of St. Moritz, Switzerland (Team Azersun) and host Elite Horse & Polo Club (Team CBC Sport).
The fifth annual event will be held at the windswept ARAF Elite Horse & Polo Club. The handicap tournament is 10-12 goals.
Team Bogner (Richard Fagan, 1, Mario Gomez, 4, Santiago Torreguitar, 3) won last year’s tournament with a victory over 2015 FIP Arena Polo European champions Team Elite Horse & Polo Club.
Since 2013, World Polo’s Reto Gaudenzi and Bahruz Nabijev of the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic have created a highly successful tournament featuring polo, glitz and glamour that has brought players and fans from around the world to Baku, which was awarded the 2020 FIP Grass Polo European Championships and is currently enjoying a resurgence in polo.
Ganzi and Bollini are coming off a highly successful summer polo season at Aspen Valley Polo Club and impressive victory in the United States Arena Handicap tournament. Grand Champions scored 43 goals over three days in the six-team tournament. Bollini, an arena 7-goaler, was named Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Arena Handicap tournament.
Ganzi, the first woman to win the U.S. tournament, scored 18 goals. Ganzi was also the first woman to compete in the St. Moritz Polo World Cup snow polo tournament in 2016 since its inception and first woman to appear in a final. As a member of Flexjet, Ganzi was also the first woman to win the World Snow Polo Championship in Aspen in December, 2016.
Gaudenzi of Miami Beach, a versatile international player who plays grass, snow, beach and arena polo, has played with Ganzi in several tournaments including the Jan. 28-30 St. Moritz Polo World Cup for Badrutt’s Palace Hotel that finished runner-up to Cartier in its championship final debut. Gaudenzi is making his fifth appearance in the tournament.
Argentine Martin Estrada of Lake Worth, Fla.-based Cypress Polo Club and frequent player at Grand Champions, will compete for Evviva Polo Club of St. Moritz, Switzerland/Team Azersun.
Teams have three players and two reserves. Other team rosters and sponsors are:
Elite Horse & Polo Club, Team CBC Sport: Elchin Jamalli, 4, Rashad Hasanov, 3, Ali Rzayev, 3, Amil Namazov, 0, Tarlan Gurbanaliyev, 2.
Monte Carlo Polo, Team Pasha Private Banking: Rommy Gianni, 2, Dario Musso, 8, Giles Greenwood, 2.
Evviva Polo Club, Team Azersun: Zhanna Bandurko, 0; Raya Sidorenko, 0, Martin Estrada, 4, Santiago Novillo Astrada, 7.
Players got a chance to practice and familiarize themselves with new horses on Wednesday. On Thursday, a Welcome Party and press conference is scheduled.
Action begins Friday when Grand Champions plays Elite Horse & Polo Club Baku at 6 p.m. followed by Monte Carlo Polo Club and Evviva Polo Club at 7:15 p.m. Large crowds are expected for one of Baku’s social events of the year.
On Saturday, Grand Champions plays Monte Carlo at 6 p.m.and Evviva Polo Club plays Elite Horse & Polo Baku at 7:15 p.m. On Sunday, gates open at 2 p.m. The subsidiary is 3 p.m. and championship at 4:15 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony.
During the fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields.
Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.
The games are live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology.
Grand Champions Polo Club 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 at Grand Champions 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.
2017 FALL SCHEDULE
(MEDIUM GOAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE)
Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Tackeria Invitational
Oct. 6-8: U.S. Trust Cup
Oct. 13-15: USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 20-22: USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 27-29: Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 10-12: Polo Gear Challenge Cup
(HIGH GOAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE)
Oct. 28-Nov. 5: USPA North American Cup
Nov. 8-19: USPA National 20-Goal Championship
Nov. 25: Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and USPA International Cup (U.S. vs. Brazil).