By Diana Butler, Communications Director Guards Polo Club. Photos by www.imagesofpolo.com (Tony Ramirez).
After three weeks of superb, high-goal polo 12 teams have been whittled down to two – Scone Polo and Park Place. I am not sure that this was the final one would have predicted back in May but both of these teams deserve their place in Sunday’s final.
The weather had deteriorated by the second semi-final and both teams had to contend with persistent rain showers as well as the pressure of reaching a final. However both teams know what being in a final is like as La Indiana and Park Place were the Cartier Queen’s Cup finalists in 2018. Park Place dominated this game from the second chukka and were, incredibly, 7-3 up at half-time. This was partly due to Hilario Ulloa, who was on fire in the third, firing through three goals in almost as many minutes. Benjamin Urquiza also had a great game for Park Place, scoring four goals (three field goals and a penalty). Of course La Indiana is a class team with some impressive horsepower and should never be discounted. Facundo Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade started to fight back, successfully converting penalties and finding field goals. Such was the change in dynamic that Park Place failed to score at all in the fifth and the gap was now down to two goals (8-6 in favour of Park Place). However further goals off the sticks of Urquiza and Juan Britos in the sixth guaranteed Andrey Borodin’s second successive Cartier Queen’s Cup Final. Ros Packer presented the Kerry Packer Trophy to the Russian and also awarded Ulloa with the Most Valuable Player prize. His magnificent stallion, Minchatos Mesquite, was then presented with the Best Playing Pony prize, an award this stallion collected at this stage of the competition last year.
Both teams will looking to register their first Cartier Queen’s Cup victory on Sunday and will have to bring their best game – and ponies – to ensure success. The main final will be played at 3pm, historically in the presence of HM The Queen at Guards Polo Club.