After two years of absence, the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad made a magnificent return with a sensational final that decided its winner only in the last seconds. A breathtaking game that saw Clinique La Prairie win this 25th edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup, the highest summer tournament in Switzerland, and with it, four watches offered by the Swiss watchmaker.
Clinique La Prairie won on the wire, 9 to 7 ½, thanks to an imperial Raul Laplacette who made sure his team remained calm and concentrated in the crucial final minutes when the game could still go either way. Sébastien Le Page, the captain of Clinique La Prairie, was indeed worried: “I must admit that at the end of the third chukker, I told myself that we were going to miss this final, but we woke up for the last chukker.” Playing for the first time in Gstaad, the French captain and boss of the Swiss club Polo Park Zurich, wanted to prepare well with a specific method … sobriety: “It’s the first time I play this level, I haven’t been drinking for the last three weeks so tonight it will be full-on champagne!” Talking about the game, Le Page has an explanation of what made the odds turn in their favor: “This final could have gone either way, but I felt that Kielder Agro started to put pressure on themselves in the last chukker, I felt them more nervous and that’s maybe what made the difference. The fact that they could not play with Bautista Beguerie (injured yesterday, broke his arm in the semi-final, ed.), must have disturbed them too, it must have certainly changed their strategy.” Clinique La Prairie‘s strategy was clearly based on calmness, especially that of its pillar, Argentine Laplacette: “Raul? He’s the quiet force! It seems like he’s in slow motion all the time, but he’s actually always on the ball. This is the first time I’ve played with him, but it’s definitely not the last,” said the French captain. But they could also count on Lucas Labat’s experience as he already won this tournament in 2019 wearing the same colors!
The small final, the one for third place, allowed the Hublot team to leave Gstaad with a victory over the solid Gstaad Palace team. A game that was very balanced and pleasant to watch, one goal being immediately countered with another, a duel between Argentines Pedro Fernandez-Llorente in purple and Dario Musso in red, the latter missing a 40-yard penalty in the last 30 seconds that would have allowed them to battle it out in overtime. A beautiful victory for Hublot much to the delight of its captain Henry Fielding Elser, at 16 years the youngest player to ever be in this tournament.
It was a pleasure to be back at the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad, which reunited with its public, packed at the edge of the field and captivated by the intensity of these finals. No doubt that they will come back next year, when the Saanen airfield will once again be the scene of highly competitive polo in the heart of the mountains from August 17 to 20 2023.
MVP: Raul Laplacette
Best amateur player: Luca Meier
Top scorer of the tournament: Raul Laplacette (15 goals)
BBP: Blanquita (ridden by Ezequiel Martinez-Ferrario in the 1st and 3rd chukker) by Dolfina Cuarteto (Cuartetera) and Blanquita, 8-year-old grey mare
Best groom: Claudio Marquez (team Gstaad Palace)
Teams and progression
Team Clinique La Prairie: Sébastien Le Page (h0); Facundo Kelly (h3), 1 goal; Lucas Labat (h5); Raul Laplacette (h6), 8 goals
Team Kielder Agro: Luca Meier (h1), 2 goals; Fabian Bolantario (h4); Ezequiel Martinez-Ferrario (h7), 5 goals; Fabio Meier (h1)
Progression Clinique La Prairie : (advantage ½ goal for Kielder) 3/3½ – 6/5½ – 6/7½ et 9/7½
Team Hublot: Henry Fielding Elser (h0); Teo von Neufforge (h5), 1 goal; Goffredo Cutinelli-Rendina (h3); Pedro Fernandez Llorente (h5), 4 goals
Team Gstaad Palace: Cedric Schweri (h0); Tomi Astelarra (h3), 1 goal; Joao Novaes (h5); Dario Musso (h5), 3 goals
Progression Hublot: 2/1 – 3/2 – 4/3 et 5/4