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Queen's Cup 2011- On to the Quarterfinals- Pony & Patron Power

Above Loro Piana

Written By Alberto van der Mye  +44(0)7703 559 625

Gone are the days when a Patron just rode around the polo field on a rocking chair horse that never broke into a sweat:  the modern Patron is fitter, younger and many times play above their handicap rating.  Queen's Cup Patrons such as Adrian Kirby +2 goals, Victor Vargas+1 goal, Spencer McCarthy +2 goals,Rashid Albwardy +2 goals, Alfio Marchini +2 goals and others are solid polo players at their current rating who contribute 100% to their polo teams. Also gone are the days when high goal Argentines could come to England on three or four medium ponies leaving their best at home for the Palermo Open .  A 10 goal player told me recently that his best pony in Palm Beach would be his fourth or fifth best horse in England.  Today's polo pro's fly in their best ponies to compete in the lucrative English high goal season.  The fast & furious pace of the Queen's Cup matches reflect the pony power.

Several teams of the 16 Queen's Cup teams have won two or three games already set for the Quarter Finals the following weekend:  Richard Mille, Enigma (Zone 1) .  1870 & La Bamba (Zone 2)  . Talandracas 7 Dubai (Zone 3) and Zacara (zone4)  leaving only one or two more teams to qualify during this long English Bank Holiday Weekend.

Polo seems to get better each year in England at least to this writer and the recent game between Loro Piana vs La Golondrina is case in point with six young & super talented young professionals:  Diego Cavanagh +7, Tomas del Rio +7 , Satman Dhillon +7 for La Golondrina versus Lucas james +7, Nicolas Espain +7 and Agustin Nero +6 for Loro Piana.  A fast and furious game that saw Loro Piana win by the minimum difference on the Duke's Ground as field 2 is known at Guards Polo Club.  The young seven goalers from each team many of them like James & Del Rio with Palermo Open experience play more like +9 goalers than their current rating, controlling the ball flat out and turning the play in a fraction of a second.  I ask myself are today's players that much better the great players form years ago and the answer is yes they are better !  The reason being today's young high goal players play super horses 12 months out of the year and play in the most competitive tournaments almost year around. The Harritots, Heguys, Dorignacs, Arayas played their great ponies only during the Argentine Open and the they went back to the farm to play new horses in lower goal polo.  Today's young player is more like a Formula 1 driver that the Estancieros ( Gentleman farmer) of the past in Argentina.

To be  Triple Crown winner  ( Tortugas, Hurlingham & Palermo Open) is the most exclusive polo fraternity in the world.  Juan Martin Nero +10 Goals and Pablo MacDonogh +10 both Triple Crown winners gave a polo exhibition  & lesson to the younger players by winning for Enigma & Richard Mille.  They played 12 goal polo another level to the aforementioned younger stars of today. The gap narrows between the masterful maestro Adolfo Cambiaso +10 (really more like +12- goals if that were possible) and his fellow +10 goal players: Juan Martin Nero, Facu Pieres and Pablo MacDonough.