Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 29, 2017– Hawk Hill led from start-to-finish to capture the season-opening Metropolitan Cup 6-Goal Handicap title on a chilly Saturday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Hawk Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second chukker and went on to defeat Grand Champions, 5-2.
Hawk Hill (Nico Diaz Alberdi, Juanse Olivera, Gringo Colombres, Philip Mactaggart) had too much offensive firepower and team chemistry for Grand Champions (Richard Desich, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor). Hawk Hill finished the tournament with a 3-1 record. Grand Champions evened its record at 2-2.
“We were lucky to win the tournament,” Colombres said. “Grand Champions always is a good team, a good organization and always has good horses. It wasn’t easy. We were lucky we scored early goals in the second chukker.”
Mactaggart, 60, a late starter in polo, was named Most Valuable Player. Mactaggart was introduced to the game in 2006. He plays under the colors of his farm, Hawk Hill.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Mactaggart said. “Whether it’s the 20-goal or the 6-goal, Gringo hates to lose. They are young and they are hungry. We had fun out there. “It’s fun to win the tournament, it beats losing,” Mactaggart said. “It is a beautiful day.”
Colombres has played with Mactaggart for four years. “He is amazing,” said the Argentine 6-goaler. “He has improved a lot. This last year he has gotten better horses and he is more fit. He is really enjoying polo.”
Olivera led Hawk Hill in scoring with two goals. Alberdi, Mactaggart and Colombres each had one goal. Ganzi scored all of Grand Champions goals in the second and third chukker. Colombres agreed with Mactaggart’s description of his mentality when it comes to playing polo.
“He’s right, I don’t like to lose,” Colombres said. “It’s better when you have a smile. I never have a smile when I lose.”
Hawk Hill had a combination of veteran experience with Mactaggart; youth with 14-year-olds Olivera, a freshman at Wellington High School, and Alberdi; and steadying influence of Colombres, a member La Indiana that recently won the 20-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
“I have played with Philip the last four years,” Colombres said. “I like to have young kids on the team who want to improve and want to learn. It’s great to have these kind of people on the team. We are a great combination.
“It’s always nice and amazing to start the season with a win,” Colombres said. “January is the first month. The horses are getting better and better. I am happy to start like this.”
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, 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.