Grand Champions Wins Great Futures Celebrity Polo Charity Cup

Wellington, Fla. – March 12, 2017 – The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington was the big winner during the fifth annual Great Futures Celebrity Polo Charity Cup Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club. The star power of Nacho Figueras and some of the world’s top polo players helped to raise funds for the facility that serves hundreds of children. Grand Champions won the the round-robin tournament with wins over Sebilion and two-time defending champion Equuleus.

Teams for Sebilion, Grand Champions and Equuleus during the awards ceremony with sponsor Olexa Celine and Neil Hirsch, trophies and Britto prints. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort
Teams for Sebilion, Grand Champions and Equuleus during the awards ceremony with sponsor Olexa Celine and Neil Hirsch, trophies and Britto prints. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort

It was hard to figure out who was having more fun, the players or the YMCA kids who celebrated with the after the game, got autographs and saw the world-class polo ponies up close and personal.

Grand Champions (Jeff Desich, Rich Desich, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Nacho Figueras) defeated Sebilion (Charlie Jacobs, Will Jacobs, Nico Pieres, Juan Bollini), 2-1, and Equuleus (Riley Ganzi, Martin Pepa, Nic Roldan, Joe DiMenna), 2-1, to clinch the Cup. Equuleus defeated Sebilion, 2-1, in the other two-chukker game.

Neil Hirsch watches Nic Roldan signing autographs. Photo by Chiarofoto

Rich Desich, a product of The Polo School at Grand Champions, was named Most Valuable Player. Desich was all smiles after the game signing autographs for the kids.

“This is the first time in my life I have signed autographs,” Desich said. “This is a great thrill. I am involved with the Boys & Girls Club in Cleveland so this is a charity that’s very close to my heart.”

Monarcha, ridden by Nacho Figueras, and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

Jeff Desich of Grand Champions goes for the big hit downfield ahead of the pack. Photo by Chiarofoto
Jeff Desich of Grand Champions goes for the big hit downfield ahead of the pack. Photo by Chiarofoto

“There’s no pressure today, it’s a lot of fun,” Novillo Astrada said. “It’s always great to have this opportunity to help kids. We had a great time. I know Nacho Figueras for a long time so playing again with him was a lot of fun. The idea was to enjoy it and we did.”

Figueras, the face of Ralph Lauren and polo’s ambassador, was the most popular player signing autographs, posing for pictures before and after the game and during the Great Futures Brunch at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Figueras said there are two reasons why he keeps coming back every time he’s asked.

“First, the kids and the fact we can help these wonderful kids,” Figueras said. “And then Neil, who is the biggest supporter of this foundation and this Boys & Girls Club. Neil is a polo friend of mine and he has been a big supporter of mine for a long, long time so it is an honor being by his side.”

Grand Champions teammates Nacho Figueras, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Rich Desich and Jeff Desich. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort
Grand Champions teammates Nacho Figueras, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Rich Desich and Jeff Desich. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort

The annual event is one of Figueras’ favorite events. Between the game and brunch, there was also an added bonus getting the chance with his wife Delfina to watch their oldest son, Hilario, compete for Beverly Equestrian in the $50,000 National 12-goal semifinal which they won.

“I think all these events help put polo as a platform for helping,” Figueras said. “So many see polo as an elitist sport and I think events like this prove that polo is a great sport and can be used as a platform for so many wonderful things.”

Proceeds from the game and IPC brunch benefitted the Neil S. Hirsch Boys and Girls Club of Wellington, one of thirteen Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and 1,100 across the U.S., located at 1080 Wellington Trace. The Boys and Girls clubs, open year-round, provide services during non-school hours, as well as summer camp opportunities for nearly 7,000 boys and girls from ages 6 to 18 throughout the nation.

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