Story and photos ©Agence RB Presse / P.Renauldon.
Yes, the Deauville Gold Cup is truly one of the major tournaments that the best Argentine professionals wish to add to their name. To be convinced of this, it was enough to see this afternoon, on the mythical Normandy polo pitch, in the middle of the Deauville – La Touques racecourse, with what fervor and with what commitment, the eight players of this 2017 final played. A game won by Cibao La Pampa, but as Jorge Pepa, its delighted captain, pointed out: “Definitely the most difficult match of August in Deauville!”
This final, played in front of a record audience (the car park was packed with more than 2,000 spectators in the stands!), was the crowning point of a superb season in Deauville with fine weather, but thanks to an extraordinary pool this year including three players that will play in the Argentina Open – THE leading tournament – at the end of the year. Among them, Francisco Elizalde, 8 goal handicap, who will play this prestigious tournament in a very good team with Santiago and Ignacio Toccalino and the striker Alfredo Capella. A foursome that may go far, but on this Sunday afternoon in Deauville, ‘Fran’ Elizalde certainly did not have his mind in Argentina and was focused on his objective: give a second victory in Deauville to his team Cibao La Pampa after having won the Silver Cup on 13 August. Elizalde and Cibao offered a sober but fast and efficient game, no show, but a beautiful sports spectacle based on a solid team game where each player knows his role perfectly: a devastating polo, an infernal machine even if this time, it was a little more difficult.
Opposite them, the winner of the 2016 French Open in Chantilly who played under the colours of Barrière, fought to the end, reducing dangerously the score in the final chukka. Four men knowing each other by heart led by the brilliant Martin Aguerre Jr., 7 goal handicap. But despite the close final score, it was Cibao La Pampa which led the match and it was its captain Jorge Pepa who scored the eighth and decisive goal of his team shot under the neck and worthy of the best moments in Palermo which earned him the title of best man of the match: “Winning here this prestigious Gold Cup in Deauville is a great moment! A big thank you to Jean-Édouard [Mazery, president of the Deauville International Polo Club] and his team. This tournament is simply wonderful, both on and off the pitch. It was a really tough game. We had a great team against us and Martin Aguerre delivered a great performance. They fought until the last minute and it was very close. But I think it gave a very fine match to watch. One thing is for sure, we will be back in Deauville next year! “
The Barrière Deauville Polo Cup 2017 ended in apotheosis and will leave only good memories: fabulous matches on top quality pitches, an even more friendly atmosphere, meetings with the public on the beach or during the parades in the streets of the seaside town. Not forgetting that this magnificent team, winner of the Deauville Gold Cup, has already turned its sights on the French Open of Chantilly *, which will begin next week, to try to win a historic triple, the “Triple- French Crown “: the Silver and Gold Cups in Deauville and the French Open, which would constitute a historical first!
* With a slightly changed team as Francisco Elizalde has to return to Argentina to prepare the season, it will be composed of Juan Pepa, Patricio Cieza, Manuel Elizalde (brother of Fran) and Salvador Ulloa
Final of the Gold Cup MARTA & LUCIEN BARRIÈRE, Sunday, 27 August, 2017
Progression Cibao La Pampa: 2/2 – 4/2 – 6/4 – 8/5 – 8/7
MVP: Jorge Pepa
Best horse in the final: Midday, 9-year-old thoroughbred mare born in England, ridden by Fran Elizalde
Cibao La Pampa: Juan Pepa (Arg 2 goal handicap), Pato Cieza (Arg 5 goal handicap), Fran Elizalde (Arg 8 goal handicap, 5 goals including 5 penalties), Jorge Pepa (Captain Arg 1 goal handicap, 3 goals)
Barrière: Martin Joaquin (Arg 4 goal handicap, 1 goal), Juan Chavanne (Arg 5 goal handicap 3 goals), Martin Aguerre Jr (Arg 7 goal handicap, 3 goals including 2 penalties), Tommy Rinderknecht (Swiss 0 goal handicap)