|With perfect weather and breathtaking alpine views it was only fitting the Final be equally spectacular, and as expected, the teams boasting some of the world’s best didn’t disappoint. Today, rising to the occasion of the 24th Hublot Gold Cup Gstaad was none other than Team Clinique La Prairie.|
True to the spirit of polo, the other teams joined in the celebration this afternoon. The best amateur player of the tournament, American Marco Elser, wore his trademarked grin while explaining that despite the clear defeat (10 – 5) there was no place for disappointment at the awards ceremony: “Being a finalist is already a great success in and of itself, and the winner was a beautiful team which produced a beautiful game with effective team organization and very good horses.”
Lucas Labat, handicap 6 and Clinique La Prairie’s backbone, admitted it wasn’t that difficult to win with a team which has both talent and chemistry, “I think this team is one of the best I’ve played with here in Europe, where I’ve been playing since 1998. The team worked together perfectly, the conditions were ideal, and the organization a well-oiled machine. For me, Gstaad is one of the best tournaments in Europe. This win wasn’t complicated because we decided to return the ball from the first shot and we didn’t waste time dribbling. As I have a strong enough swing, my job was to send the ball to my forwards who could then chain the goals. This is the type of polo I believe in, and I am convinced that in the future we must return to this kind of open game.”
It is also one of Lucas’ “forwards”, Juan Manuel Gonzales who was the best scorer of the tournament with 10 goals including 4 in this single final.
In the match for 3rd and 4th, Banque Eric Sturdza made good on their promise to try for the best result despite being dethroned of their title by Clinique La Prairie. In a much tighter game, they beat Gstaad Palace, where the highlight was when the extraordinary “golaso” Brazilian Joao Novaes registered a goal with a shot longer than 153 yards (beyond the middle of the field) and from the left side–an exceptional feat in polo! It was a rare moment that for most was never before seen, even in Argentina!
Photo credit: Kathrin Gralla
More about the 24th Hublot Polo Gold Cup in the next edition of the POLO&LUXURY Coffee Table Book (15th November 2019)