You can find the full digital version of the 2019 Magazine by clicking on this link
You can find the full digital version of the 2019 Magazine by clicking on this link
Last week, during the Clinique La Prairie Garden Party, Polo Club Gstaad President Pierre Genecand presented the 24th edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad in the presence of press and guests. The Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad will be played from August 22nd to the 25th. Following a welcome speech from Simone Gibertoni, CEO of Clinique La Prairie, Pierre Genecand presented the title partner, Hublot (whose sponsorship contract has just been extended by three years), as well as the three other team sponsors: Banque Eric Sturdza, Gstaad Palace and of course, Clinique La Prairie. You can download the press kit from this link.
The ‘‘Sport of the Kings and King of Sports’’ is back in Gstaad, at Saanen Airport, from August 22nd to 25th for four glamorous days dedicated to the oldest team sport: the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad!
Today, the ‘‘kings’’ of this sport, are not the English princes or maharajas anymore, but real athletes, mostly Argentineans, who go through a rigorous physical and technical training in order to play a high-level polo tournament like the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad. But aren’t the real kings of this sport actually the horses? They are the first polo athletes, raised and selected since the beginning of the last century (still in Argentina) to become the best accomplices, even the ‘‘legs’’ of their riders. Lively, intelligent, playful, fast, tough, brave, these equine “rugby players” are very endearing horses. The player has hardly thought of an action that his horse answers and sometimes even anticipates as it knows perfectly the game and its rider. Sometimes also called ‘‘ponies’’, they adapt to all the conditions and therefore to the altitude of 1000m of this highest summer tournament in the world.
Almost a hundred of these little horses will establish their camp for a week on the grounds of Saanen airport to help the sixteen players of the four teams who dream of winning this coveted trophy of the international polo circuit. Three teams, Clinique La Prairie, Gstaad Palace and Hublot will try to overthrow the one of Banque Eric Sturdza and his Swiss captain, Cedric Schweri, unbeatable since he won his first title in 2017: ‘‘Well, I wouldn’t say that the Hublot Polo Gold Cup is my only goal of the season, but it’s one of my favourite tournaments since it’s the most important one in Switzerland and, of course, as a Swiss player, I am honoured to be a participant. I’m as ready as I can be, I mean it would be amazing to win for the third time”. He will count this year on the Brazilian Novaes brothers to win a new victory in this 2019 edition.
Remembering the final 2018 won on a knife edge by the team Banque Eric Sturdza after an incredible ‘‘remontada’’ when Cedric Schweri and his team were led by three goals, it looks like, once again, it will not be easy for the Swiss captain even though his combativeness got the upper hand. The competition will be strong. The Swiss captains of Clinique La Prairie, Piero Dillier and Andy Bihrer, for example, have called on Lucas Labat, the Argentinian handicap 6 player, who is playing at the highest level on all continents. Julio Novillo Astrada (h7), who is said in his country that he is certainly the strongest player of this renowned family who won the prestigious Argentinean Open, will return to Gstaad for Team Hublot and American Captain Marco Maximilian Elser. As for the captain of the Gstaad Palace team, Gerardo Cosentino of Liechtenstein, he will introduce three new Argentinean players to the cosmopolitan public of Gstaad, including handicap 6 Franco Gai.
Beyond this thrilling sport – and all the more spectacular in Gstaad on a field close to the public – the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad is a unique experience in the Swiss sports calendar that goes beyond the competition: a stunning setting of greenery, on an by alpine peaks surrounded airport that becomes a polo club for a single weekend, a rare proximity with players and horses, a VIP village and exhibitors with original luxury products to discover, a friendly atmosphere, a public dining area, a playground for children and, on Friday, a picturesque animation in the streets of Gstaad with the parade of teams. A different way to live high level polo!
* The handicap corresponds to the level of the polo player (it oscillates between -2 and +10). Handicaps evolve according to the performances of the player during the games and the progress recorded during year. The highest handicap in Europe is 7 (England). The handicap 10 is currently held by 9 Argentines and an Uruguayan.
Press Release, Thursday, May 16th, 2019
The Polo Club Gstaad wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What a finale! Probably the most beautiful in twenty-three editions of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad. Incredibly intense to the point that the audience (2000 spectators again) completely got caught up in game and greatly cheered from the sidelines. Although Cedric Schweri and his teammates of Banque Eric Sturdza were able to raise the trophy for the second year in a row, they truly had to fight for it.
|It was more than a fight, it was a battle! Clinique La Prairie attacked very strongly to the point where one could wonder if the game was not going to be one-sided: “In the beginning of the game, we did not really play well, concedes the happy captain of Banque Eric Sturdza. The other team started the game off very strongly and it began to look bad for us. But our team is like a good Swiss clock, it takes time to adjust, but once it runs, it runs with great regularity.”In short, in the score, this resulted in a severe 4-1 after the first chukker with two goals scored by the one who would be crowned the tournament’s top scorer, the Argentine Agustin Canale (15 goals in the end, 5 average per game). Things got better in the second period, when Banque Eric Sturdza came back to 7-5. “We then started to speed up our game”, says Schweri. Notably thanks to Marcelo Pascual, author of lightning accelerations, brilliantly organizing the game of his team and scoring the two goals that would put the two teams to a tie in the last chukker. All there was left to do for Brazilian Joao Novaes was to conclude by scoring a 30-yard penalty giving Banque Eric Sturdzatheir second title: “Two successive titles in five finals, it’s true that it’s great, but I promise you that I will come back for a third conquest! These victories are the most beautiful because they are at home!” The final, which will be remembered as one of the greatest of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad was preceded by the game for the third place easily won by team Gstaad Palace defeating team Hublot, 8-4. Pedro Fernandez Llorente scored four goals for the victorious team, while in the other team only Julio Novillo Astrada managed to score … But, unlike the hardly fought final, this subsidiary final was more of a friendly game. Friendship is also the hallmark of this tournament, which has been presided for thirteen years now by Pierre Genecand who managed to turn it into a huge event, supported by renowned sponsors – including Hublot, Gstaad Palace, Clinique la Prairie, Banque Eric Sturdza and Ferrai among others – while keeping a friendly atmosphere and bringing together a nice audience. We are already looking forward to next year’s edition from August 22 to 25, 2019!|
What incredible semi-finals! The suspense lasted right until the end. Although it will finally be the two favourite teams of the first day that will play the big final tomorrow at 3 p.m., things were not that simple for Clinique La Prairie and Banque Eric Sturdza.
In both games, a minute and a half from the end, it was impossible to know who was going to win. The suspense was perfect for the 2000 spectators who had gathered along the 275 meters of the field under a beautiful sun, which was this afternoon’s surprise guest contradicting all the weather forecasts.
In the first semi-final, Hublot started the game with a half goal advance because of its weaker handicap. Nico Lopez Fuentes scored the first goal of the match for Banque Eric Sturdza and indeed the team of Cedric Schweri was not too worried during the second and third chukkers. But it was not counting on Hublot‘s burst and the energy of Julio Novillo Astrada who scored three goals allowing his team to narrow the gap by one and a half goals just minutes from the end, but Marcelo Pascual annihilated the last hopes of Hublot scoring a decisive goal: “The game was very tight, admits the Argentinean 5-goaler, even tighter than the score shows. They came back very strong at the end of the game but fortunately we were able to regain control at the right moment.” The advantage of this team was perhaps due to the fact that it counts three professionals players in its ranks whereas their opponents only have two: “Of course that makes a difference, but today we could build a strong team game because we know each other better. We really played together” and they together reached the final that already seems very undecided against Clinique La Prairie.
The latter had even more trouble getting a ticket to the final. The battle fought against Gstaad Palace was even harder, especially in the last two chukkers. Hugo Barabucci, the back of Clinique La Prairie, opened the score in the first period but Gstaad Palace always stayed close. Although Clinique La Prairie took a small lead in the second period, Gstaad Palace never gave up, even taking the lead in the third chukker. At 90 seconds from the end of the game, everything was still possible for the latter especially as a 30 yards penalty hit by Pedro Llorente allowed them to get the advantage at 5 ½ to 5! A minute and a half in which Agustin Canale was also transforming a 30 yards and where captain Faris Al Yabhouni scored his second goal of the game in the ultimate second! For his first participation in the Hublot Gold Cup in Gstaad, the captain from the United Arab Emirates will play his first Swiss final. But not without cold sweats as explained by back and polo manager Hugo Barabucci: “To be honest, Gstaad Palace is a fantastic team and very well organized and we noticed it from the first day. We are happy to have been able to win this game. We expected a difficult game which ended in a beautiful and competitive meeting that could not have been possible without the quality of our opponent.” If, in the end, Clinique La Prairie had the last word, the Argentinian player gives it above all … to luck: “Yes, we were a little luckier than them, this is polo and we are happy to play the final tomorrow. Again, this is going to be a very tough game but what we want above all is to offer a beautiful final to this fantastic public of Gstaad.”
An audience that will be spoiled again tomorrow with two promising games since before the big final between Clinique La Prairie and Banque Eric Sturdza (3 p.m.), Gstaad Palace and Hublot will face each other at 1.30 p.m. in the subsidiary final for the third place.
Progression Banque Eric Sturdza : 2/2 ½ – 4/2 ½ – 7/3 ½ – 9/6 ½
Progression Clinique La Prairie : 2/2 ½ – 4/2 ½ – 4/4 ½ – 7/5 ½
Best scorers of the day: Agustin Canale (ARG, H6), Pedro Llorente (ARG, H5), Nico Lopez Fiente (ARG, H5) et Julio Novillo Astrada (ARG H7), 4 goals chacun
Best scorer of the tournament: Agustin Canale (ARG, H6), 12 goals
Two games and two completely different scenarios marked the sunny opening of the 23rd edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in Gstaad. In the first game, Faris Al Yabhouni, the captain of team Clinique La Prairie, did not have to suffer too much to win whilst Cedric Schweri and his team Banque Eric Sturdza had to fight a more complicated battle to start their way towards the final.
For Faris Al Yabhouni it was the first time in Gstaad: “It is a nice place: the surroundings, the people who are welcoming us here, everything is perfect. It is of course great to have won this first game especially as the teammates did not know each other yet nor did we know our horses that we rented from Saint-Tropez. The first two chukkers were pretty tight, but then we started to get to know and understand each other and the last two periods were easier and we managed to take the lead.” They defeated team Hublot, led by Swiss Captain Matteo Beffa: 13 to 6 ½.
It is this last team that the titleholder, Cedric Schweri, will face in the semi-final next Saturday, his game of the day was already quite difficult: “Actually, it was very “hard” for a first game, confirms the captain of Banque Eric Sturdza. The problem is that it was the first time we played together and we needed some time to really hit it off. When the team knows each other, it is easier.” Cedric contributed to the victory with an incredible golazo (Argentinian, meaning a beautiful goal) in the second chukker at the end of a beautiful solo run: “It is always nice to score a goal like that. In general, we the patrons, are there to defend, but scoring a goal is good.” And an important one as well as the team only won by a half-goal: “But this victory makes us confident for the rest of this Hublot Gold Cup, I think we will go to the finals, and after…”!
But before that, they will have to pass the semi-finals, which promise to be open. They will be played on Saturday at 1.30 p.m. and 3 p.m. In the meantime, the teams will parade tomorrow through the streets of Gstaad, a nice tradition that brings polo closer to the public.
Progression Clinique La Prairie: (0 / 1,5) – 3 / 3,5 – 6 / 4,5 – 9 / 5.5 and 13 / 6.5
Progression Banque Eric Sturdza: (0 / 0,5) 1 / 1,5 – 2 / 2,5 – 4 / 3,5 and 5 / 4,5
Best scorer of the day: Agustin Canale (ARG, h6) – 8 goals
The work to transform the new airport Gstaad-Saanen into a polo club is already in full swing and in a few days, everything will be ready to host the 23rd edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup which begins Thursday, August 16th and will end Sunday, August 19th.
It has been more than 20 years since the airport situated in the canton of Bern and the only flat space in the middle of the mountain, has been transformed for a few days, into a grass polo tournament, the most prestigious in Switzerland. The scenery offered by the Alps is not only beautiful, but also unusual for this sport that is more commonly played on large flat spaces. So to offer an unforgettable spectacle to visitors and impeccable conditions to the players and their horses, one needs to be able to … move mountains. And that is exactly what President Pierre Genecand, his organizing committee of 13 members and the 125 volunteers do.
For several days now, the teams have been working on assembling the stables and the exhibitors’ village, as well as preparing the grass field – which requires real expertise – on which the six matches will be played. Early next week, several trucks from across Europe will take the road to the mountain to bring the 120 horses of the 16 players and 2 referees of the tournament. In addition to the 120 boxes needed to house the four-legged athletes, tons of straw, hay, and oats are also needed. The 28.000 m2 space will also host 18 exhibitors stands, a children’s play area and an important VIP area where the Gstaad Palace team will serve a total of 1.500 meals during the VIP lunches and the Saturday’s Night Gala.
More than 7000 expected visitors will come to admire players from Argentina mostly, but also from Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and of course Switzerland. The four teams bearing the colours of sponsors Hublot, Bank Eric Sturdza, Gstaad Palace and Clinique La Prairie, will compete in the qualifying games on Thursday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. On Friday, the polo atmosphere will come to the streets of Gstaad with the traditional parade. Accompanied by carriages and bell ringers, the players and their horses will come to salute the villagers.
It is therefore a real large-scale operation that began to turn the airport of Gstaad-Saanen into an international polo centre for four days of spectacular sport and festivities from August 16th to 19th.