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: http://www.santamariapoloclub.com/en/)

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