On Saturday, February 14th eight of the word’s highest ranked 10-goal polo players gathered to stagger onlookers at the distinguished International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. The special event was organized to raise money for the Polo Players Support Group during the Nespresso 40 Goal Challenge fundraiser. Polo’s most elite players and legendary Polo icons Sapo Caset and Facundo Pieres, partook in the country’s only 40 Goal Exhibition match to help raise funds for seriously injured or ill polo players and grooms nationwide.
Now in its 14th year, today’s most accomplished and elite players, including the legendary icons of the sport Sapo Caset and Facundo Pieres, performed in the country’s only 40 Goal exhibition match to help raise funds for seriously injured or ill polo players and grooms nationwide. Two teams of four children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old inaugurated the event with the Bright’s Creek Future 10’s Match. After the Bright’s Creek Future 10’s Match, the Nespresso 40 Goal Challenge commenced with defending champions, Equus & Co., led by Facundo Pieres from Argentina and his brother, Gonzalo Pieres, together with the 10-goal Uruguayan polo sensation, Pelon Stirling and the Argentinean 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada. The opposing team was comprised of Argentinean players Hilario Ulloa, Polito Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Sapo Caset, who were sponsored by EFG Bank. EFG took a convincing 6-0 lead, but entered the fifth chukker 8-6 down before coming back for a decisive 11-9 victory thanks to Juan Martin Nero and Sapo Caset, who scored four goals each. Facundo Pieres was the lead goal scorer for Equus & Co. with four goals, while Gonzalito Pieres scored three.
This year’s event was played in memory of the former 10-goal players Javier Novillo Astrada from Argentina and Carlos Gracida from Mexico, two of polo’s most skilled competitors on the worldwide circuit. Novillo Astrada lost his life to cancer last fall and Carlos Gracida died in 2014 from injuries suffered on the field. Shortly after the main exhibition match, trophy presentations were made on the field by team sponsor representatives Keith Gapp of EFG International and Jim Whisenand of Equus & Co.
Following the trophy presentations, the players, patrons, sponsors and invited guests were invited indoors for the annual post-exhibition VIP Reception, hosted by Tony Coppola of the Polo Players Support Group. The 500 VIP attendees made bids on a series of silent auction items that included jewelry, luxury vacations, La Martina polo equipment, art, and Nespresso’s stylish and innovative machines, including the VertuoLine system. This year’s Nespresso 40 Goal Challenge was one of the best we’ve seen,” said David Offen, co-founder of the Polo Players Support Group.