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Wed 1st Sep 2021

Sotogrande Gold Cups

Success for John Smith Ayala & Marqués de Riscal

This weekend saw The 50th Anniversary International Polo Tournament at Santa María Polo Club come to an end, with the Finals of both the high and medium Gold Cups. 
On Friday 27 August, the medium goal Gold Cup Final was played between John Smith Ayala and Nairobi; overall the match was fairly even throughout the six chukkas, although twice John Smith Ayala managed to gain a three goal lead, but Nairobi worked had to bring the scores level again. Although Alejandro Muzzio (John Smith Ayala) and Juan Zubiaurre (Nairobi) were the two most decisive players in the Final, it was Gabriel Aguirre who took the ball at the decisive moment and scored the winning goal, securing the 9-8 win for John Smith Ayala; this adds to their Silver Cup win earlier in the series. 
The tournament continued on Saturday 28 August, with the high goal Gold Cup Final between Marqués de Riscal and Ayala, which marked the end of the tournament. Marqués de Riscal got off to a strong start, ending the chukka with a comfortable 5-1 lead; halfway through the second chukka an injury forced Benjamín Panelo to retire from the match (he is now recovering well in hospital) and was replaced by Mackenzie Weisz, after which Ayala slowly began to gain momentum. Both teams put up a tough fight in the last two chukkas, but Marqués de Riscal’s strong defence overcame the scoring attempts of Ayala, and Marqués de Riscal secured the win, 14-10. After the match there were several awards presented – a full report will be included in Polo Times.
The High Goal Gold Cup Final Teams:
Marqués de Riscal (19): Cruz Heguy (4), Santiago Cernadas (6), Guillermo Caset (9) & Alejandro Aznar (0))
Ayala (20): Iñigo Zobel (0) (replaced by Roberto Iturrioz in the fifth chukka), Benjamín Panelo (5) (replaced by Mackenzie Weisz, 4, in the second chukka), Santiago Laborde 6 (3), Pablo Pieres 9 (6). Total: 20.
The Medium Goal Gold Cup Final Teams:
John Smith Ayala (14): Gabriel Aguirre (0), Gregorio Gelosi (4), Alejandro Muzzio (8) & Nicolás Álvarez (2) 
Nairobi (14): Grace Cariss (0), Hernan Pieres (3), Santiago Schweitzer (5) & Juan Zubiaurre (6) 
Photograph: Juan Zubiaurre & Alejandro Muzzio in action during the medium goal Final. By Matias Callejo

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