Summer polo season gets under way this weekend at Sotogrande

12 06 2009

IMG_2961 (Press release) The Summer Season at Santa María Polo Club begins its journey today towards the 38th edition of its International Tournament, the epitome of the polo world’s summer, to be played in August. The first of the season’s tournaments is the Andrés Parladé, with five teams taking part. Match schedule:

5-goal Tournament

Friday, June 12

18.00 – Field II – Woodchester v. Kingsland

19.00 – Field II – Santa María v. Dehesa Ahojiz

Saturday, June 13

18.00 – Field I – Quarter finals

Sunday, June 14

11.30 – Field I – Semifinals

12.30 – Field I – Final


Spring Polo Season at Santa María

23 03 2009

IMG_2570 (Press Release) A new Spring Season comes to Santa María Polo Club with news that promise excitement and special interest. The season starts this week with the Conde Guaqui Memorial Tournament on March 27, 28 and 29 and is followed by the José Ignacio Domecq Memorial on April 3, 4, 8 and 9. But the main event this time is the Doña María de las Mercedes Memorial that takes place on April 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19,  promoted by the foundation of that name and CEA (Business Confederation of Andalucía in its Spanish acronym).

The three tournaments are established in memory of distinguished people: the Count of Guaqui, Don Alfredo de Goyeneche, was President of the Spanish Olympic Committee from 1998 to 2002 and a consummate rider and polo enthusiast; Don José Ignacio Domecq, as good a wine maker as polo player, played up to a 5-goal handicap and at age 72 still held a 2; and lastly, Doña María de las Mercedes, mother of King Juan Carlos, who was passionate and knowledgeable about horses, as well as closely linked to Andalucía. The foundation that carries her name, in conjunction with CEA, decided this year to establish a competition in her honour and thus becomes one of the more significant events of the Spring Season.

IMG_2755 Eight teams of 8- to 10-goal handicaps, coming from England, Argentina, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden and Spain, will be playing at the Los Pinos grounds. One of the aims of this season is to attain, over time, a level similar to that of the Summer Season in terms of players and teams, while distinguished personages are expected to be among the spectators. And among the factors that will help to reach this objective is the weather, considerably more benign than in the rest of Europe at this time of year, and another good reason not to miss the spectacle, which is also free.

The sponsors this new Spring Season are Nespresso, Taittinger Champagne and Bodegas Julián Chivite, as official products; Sotogrande as collaborative entity; the CEA, the Junta de Andalucía’s Council for Tourism, Trade and Sport, as special contributors; El Mundo, Telva, Expansión / Fuera de Serei; SUR, La Revista de Sotogrande and Spend In as associate media.

It is worth remembering, too, that Santa María Polo Club has attained particular relevance within the World Polo Tour (WPT). International rankings of players and tournaments are categorized into four main levels: Grand Slam, Championship Cup, WPT Cup and Challenge Cup. To determine each tournament’s category, the following factors are taken into account: its handicap, its location, organization, number of teams, level of play and spectators. The tournaments organized by Santa María Polo Club have reached new categories thanks in large part to the main grounds at Los Pinos, which were inaugurated last summer. Thus, the Gold Cup at Sotogrande has become a Grand Slam event, at the same level as the British Open at Cowdray Park and the US Open at Palm Beach. The Silver Cup is now a WPT Championship Cup, at the same level as the Queen’s Cup at the Guards Polo Club and the US Gold Cup. All of this means recognition of the work being carried out by Santa María Polo Club, which is determined to become one of the best clubs in the world.

(Santa María Polo Club website:

‘Polo runs in the family’ – NICK WILLIAMS

2 09 2008

Copy of Picture 034 This interview by Alberto Bullrich first appeared in Miradas del Sur magazine (now defunct) last year. But Nick and Ginnie have been in France this season, where Nick has been running a tournament about which we’ll bring you more as soon as they’re back.

Father, son, grandson and great-grandson of polo players, Nick Williams began playing in his native Argentina, though he never played a full game until age 10, at school in England. He was a member of the winning team for the Cowdray Gold Cup in 1976 and 1978. He was the polo school director at Santa María Polo Club for two years. His father, Jack, ran polo in Sotogrande since its beginnings in 1968 until 1980. Maybe that is why Nick and his wife, Ginnie, decided to settle in Jimena some four years ago.


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31 08 2008

AHMIBAH Having won both the Bronze and the Silver Cups at Sotogrande, Bahar Jefri’s team also took the Gold Cup home in one of the tournament’s most exciting matches against Ayala, last year’s Gold Cup winners, yesterday at Los Pinos.  In front of a milling crowd of several hundreds, Patron Prince Bahar, Valerio Zubiaurre, Iñaki Laprida and Pablo MacDonough worked together consistently as a team, though Pablito well deserved the Best Tournament Player award he received at the prize-giving ceremony afterwards. David ‘Pelón’ Stirling, excellently though he played with Santiago Laborde, Íñigo Zóbel and Gastón Urturi, was simply outplayed by their rivals. The final result was a really close 11 – 10 for Bahar’s men.  For a chukker-by-chukker look at the match and some more photos Read the rest of this entry »


29 08 2008

POLO  28.08.08 TO SORT 058 In the first of the semi-finals at Los Pinos, Las Monjitas,were no match for Ayala, who are defending their high-goal championship of last year, and who won by 10 goals to 5 in a match that was too unequal for a semi-final. Íñigo Zobel’s (2) team, with Gastón Urturi (5), David ‘Pelón’ Stirling (8) and Santiago Laborde (5) on board, were far superior. Pelón was the man of the match, scoring most of the goals, defending every rival’s attack and playing passing shots that would seem to deserve another point to his handicap. Las Monjitas, with patron Camilo Bautista (0) at their head and Eduardo Novillo (9), P. Sáinz de Vicuña (3) and A. Díaz Alberdi (8), tried hard to get past the excellent defensive wall put up by Zóbel’s men. It was an impossible task. To read about the second match and photos…

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28 08 2008

Our friend and colleague Salvador Moreno has recently opened a new website, FotosMoreno, from which he offers his magnificent photos of polo and golf tournaments in the area and beyond. His site also contains pictures of the social events he covers throughout the year. Salva is a consumate journalist, having worked as photographer and editor for several publications, including La Revista de Sotogrande, La Bocha and Europa Sur. You can also see some of his work on JimenArte.


25 08 2008

POLO 24 AugustRioBenefit 059

The charity match in aid of Nuevo Futuro at Río Sotogrande yesterday was a treat for every polo enthusiast anywhere. Two 29-goal teams, Jaeger-Le Coultre Black and J-LC White captained by Lia Salvo (1 ) and Claire Milford-Haven (1) respectively had the likes of Adolfo Cambiaso (10), Juan Martin Nero (10), Pablo McDonough(10), Agustín Merlos (10), Eduardo Novillo Astrada (9) and David ‘Pelón’ Stirling (8) on board. The 4-chucker match resulted in an equal 6-6 score, though that is probably the least important detail. The grounds were full of people supporting this charity in a relaxed atmosphere of good will. Among those present were Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who came to watch her friend Claire Milford-Haven (see photos below).

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