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AJT Polo Wins Tackeria Cup, Harrison Reicher MVP; Alex Photo Captures Avendano Memorial, Santos Valent MVP

WELLINGTON, Fla., April 17, 2024---AJT Polo won its third straight Polo Training Foundation tournament Monday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.


By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira


AJT Polo (Celestino Merlos, Benjamin Obregon, Harrison Reicher, Aspen Tinto) defeated GJ Racing (Lilli Hagemeier, Milo MacDonough, Finn Secunda, Santos Teves), 5-2, and Tackeria (Ava Rose Hinkson, Geronimo Rider, Sailer Schwaber, Joaquin Vilgre la Madrid), 5-0 to clinch the title. GJ Racing was second and Tackeria third.



Reicher was selected Most Valuable Player. Joaquin Vilgre la Madrid earned the Sportsmanship Award and Celestino Merlos's fourth chukker horse "Pony Juana" was Best Playing Pony.


Earlier this season, AJT also won the second annual Sunset Polo Club and season-opening Tackeria Cup.


Alex Photo (Benjamin de la Fuente, Jayda Link, Lorenzo Nero, Inda Pieres, Santos Valent) won the Avendano Memorial. Alex Photo defeated Aspen Valley (Inaki Gonzalez, Florencio Merlos, Alfonso Nero, Charlotte Peponis and Madeline Ulery).



Valent was named Most Valuable Player. Alfonso Nero of Aspen Valley swept the Sportsmanship and Best Playing Pony awards.


Other award recipients were:


Field One, 11:30 a.m. game: Power Group Purple (Rafa MacDonough, Freddie Mannix, Isabella Oluyole, Azu Pieres) defeated Santa Rita (Rafa LaPrida Loza, Oli MacDonough, Isa Nero, Lucas Stevens), 4-0, and Red Barn (Sophie Ferreira, Brooklyn Mannix, Indio Valent, Milo Vilche), 4-0.


Power Group finished first, Red Barn second and Santa Rita third. Freddie Mannix, who scored all eight of his team's goals, was Most Valuable Player. His sister Brooklyn was given the Sportsmanship Award. Azu Pieres' horse was Best Playing Pony.



Field Two, 11:30 a.m. game: Prestonwood Polo Club (Antonio Dorignac, Marcos Lisioli, Pedro Lisioli) defeated Tackeria (Silvestre Gomez Romero, Beltran Nero, Felipe Teves). Antonio Dorignac was given both MVP and Sportsmanship Awards. Felipe Teves' first chukker horse was Best Playing Pony.


In the Leadline event, Grand Champions (Facundo Novillo Astrada, Lorenzo Novillo Astrada, Gael Munoz), Team Stefano Laviano (Kalani Gomez Romero, Jackson Mannix, Rylan Castillo) and GJ Racing (Seve Colombres, Catalina Lisioli, Cira LaPrida Loza) participated. Rylan Castillo was awarded the Sportsmanship Award. Rosita, played by Cira LaPrida Loza, was Best Playing Pony.


World Polo League players Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Magoo Laprida and Tincho Merlos were award presenters. Thirteen teams and 49 players competed.


Event sponsors were: Grand Champions Polo Club, Santa Rita Polo Farm, AJT Polo, World Polo League, ChukkerTV, Prestonwood Polo Club, Everglades Polo, Port Mayaca Polo Club, GJ Racing, Mayer Ranch, The Tackeria Complete Equestrian Shop and Red Barn Feed & Supply.


The remaining PTF winter circuit tournaments are the rescheduled Johnston Cup and Jimmer Newman on Saturday, April 20.


Grand Champions Polo Club President and PTF Chairman Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and PTF that is celebrating its 57th anniversary in 2024.


The Polo Training Foundation is dedicated to the future of polo in the U.S. The PTF has been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo players by encouraging the sport‘s development with training programs, lessons and tournaments for boys and girls.


The PTF was created in 1967 by Palm Beach Polo and Country Club founder and former 7-goal amateur Bill Ylvisaker to teach the game of polo to youth by promoting youth clinics, interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, good sportsmanship and good will through friendly competition.


The Polo Training Foundation is a 501(C) 3 organization and relies on tax deductible donations for financial support. The PTF has an annual budget of $600,000 of which $400,000 is funded yearly by tax-deductible donations. For more information go to www.polotraining.org.

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