ST. MORITZ, Switzerland, January 29, 2018---Played against the magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped mountains of the Engadin Valley at Lake St. Moritz, Cartier held off Maserati, 4.5-4 in the championship final of the 34th St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup.
On Sunday, in front of a packed house of 7,000 fans, the 16-goal team of Rommy Gianni, 1, of Italy; new teammate Juan Cruz Greguoli, 4, of Argentina, Dario Musso, 6, of Argentina; and Chris Hyde, 5, of England jumped out to a 3.5-1 halftime advantage and never relinquished the lead to win the coveted Cartier Trophy for the second consecutive year.
Maserati, a 17 goal team (Zhanna Bandurko/Raya Sidorenko, 0, Gerardo Mazzini, 6, Hissam Ali Hyder, 6, Robert Strom, 5) tried to rally in the second half behind Hyder to trail 3.5-3 going into the fourth and final chukker.
An emotionally-charged Hyde scored the tournament's first penalty-four from 60 yards out for a 4.5-3 lead. Strom broke away for one last goal run with 45 seconds. Maserati ran out of time to mount another scoring threat.
It was Hyde's seventh title in St. Moritz, the birthplace of snow polo. Musso was named Most Valuable Player. Gianni, Cartier's captain, was chosen Best Playing Patron after winning his third St. Moritz title. Zedan, played by Musso, was selected Polo Times Best Playing Pony.
“We wanted to win, we always believed we could win,” Gianni said. “They were a good team. They all played very well and had experience. It came down to the fourth chukker. We played very hard in this tournament."
In the La Martina Cup subsidiary game, crowd favorite and new team Azerbaijan Land of Fire (Tarlan Gurbanaliyev, 2, Elchin Jamalli, 3, Lala Laplacette, 5, Adrian Laplacette Jr., 6) knocked off Badrutt's Palace Hotel (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Juan Bollini, 6, Tito Gaudenzi, 2), 5-4.
Trailing 3-2 at halftime, Laplacette scored two goals within a minute in the third chukker for a 5-3 lead. But Badrutt's Palace Hotel dug itself out of a hole behind Ganzi, who led her team's scoring with three goals.
"Three years ago, I was the first woman to come to St. Moritz to play snow polo and it's so amazing to see so many women players now showing an interest and taking part," Ganzi said. "I feel like I had a little part to play in that.
"Although I'm not in the final I accomplished a personal goal," Ganzi said. "Clearly my participation in polo and events like St. Moritz inspire individuals to achieve their dreams."
Ganzi, the USPA Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions Polo Club president, was making her third St. Moritz appearance. In 2016, she made history as the first woman to compete in the snow polo tournament since its inception in 1985 and last year was the first woman to qualify for the championship final.
This year’s St. Moritz event attracted a record crowd of 15,000 over three days. Since the tournament’s inception, admission to the event has always been free including access to the stands. The VIP tent tickets were sold out.
The tournament will return in 2019 on Jan. 25-27, according to CEO and tournament organizer Reto Gaudenzi. The venue conditions were ideal with the lake frozen at the perfect depth and snow plentiful under sunny skies.
Badrutt’s Palace is the birthplace of Alpine winter sports and favorite European destination. The five-star hotel celebrated 120 years since opening its doors. It won the award for Most Renowned Luxury Hotel 2016 at the Hotel Spa Awards.