1996: Patrick Guerrand-Hermès, a creative and visionary man, has the brave idea of opening the world of polo to a wide audience, thereby making it more affordable for players and also more accessible to the public. In order to turn this vision into reality, he decides to set up the biggest polo club ever seen in France on farmland belonging to the Institut de France. Today the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly is one of the three most important clubs in Europe.
2016: The number of players has considerably increased in France thanks to the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly which has welcomed over the 2 last decades a memorable World Championship, two European Championships, as well as one of the biggest European tournaments, the French Open. Twenty years of growth that will be celebrated on May 22nd at the Apremont Farm with a high level encounter between France and Argentina and a special anniversary tournament on May 20-22nd that will bring together members and friends of the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly.
It will be the high point of an incredibly rich season. The game between France and Argentina will be an event in the world of polo, as the French national team today boasts 21 handicap points* with the tremendous progress made in recent years. Today France ranks second in Europe. Its leader, Brieuc Rigaux (handicap 6) will be disputing games with the support of three leading 5-goal French players – Pierre Henri Ngoumou, Patrick Paillol and Clément Delfosse. This game will therefore be an encounter of the highest level ever played by a French national team.
This anniversary day will naturally take place with a host of events and activities for the public: commercial stands, catering and polo initiations. The “great” game will be preceded by a spectacular horse parade representing all the disciplines that make the fame and prestige of Chantilly: racing, jumping (the following week the hippodrome will host once more the world renowned Global Champions Tour), hunting and horse carriage driving…
On October 15th, 33 tournaments with positive handicaps and 18 tournaments for juniors and less experienced players will be disputed in Chantilly: there is no excuse, there will always be a week-end to take part in the oldest team game and equestrian sport on earth! And if this fascination wins over spectators, the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly will always keep its doors open for all those who want to make the leap, whether they are horsemen or not!
As in 2015, Richard Mille will once again be the official timekeeper of the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly.
→ Download Tournament Programme 2016
Starting on April 10th… with the Rallye D’Aumale
The highly expected season of polo on grass will start just one month ahead with the fantastic Rally d’Aumale and the Rally d’Aumale Cup, which will involve splendid collector cars, all on display at the Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly. In 2015 this Rally which support the association Imagine for Margo, to combat pediatric cancer, gathered up to 120 collector cars for its first edition. This year there will be more than 200! The first season final will be disputed on the last day on the Terrain d’Honneur with these gorgeous old cars overlooking the game. Two passions that meet and match. Like all events at the Polo Club, access to this event will be entirely free for the audience.
The Spring Triple Crown and the Champions in Apremont
Three tournaments from May 7 to 26th June, 50 game days, and the return of great professional players from France, Argentina and the UK in particular to Chantilly… The PGH Cup (named after the founder of the club), the Charity Cup and the Coupe Laversine will be played on the level of 12 goals. The games are incredibly fast and one can discover great talents from Argentina. It is here that Facundo Pieres, triple champion of the Argentinian Open – the ultimate reference in polo – had made his foreign debut. Pancho Bensadon, semi-finalist at the same Open also won several tournaments of this Spring Triple Crown.
In fact up to ten players who won this mythical Argentinian Open have played in Chantilly, among them two members of the Dolfina (Juan-Martin Nero and Pablo McDonough) and two players from Ellerstina (Polito and Facundo Pieres). Seven other players who took part in this « Abierto » (Open) have also taken part in the Chantilly games. They are all or have been handicap 9 or 10.
The French Opens, the Great Rendez-Vous in September
Some of these players such as Polito Pieres, Lucas Monteverde (four times champion of Argentina), Alfredo Capella (revelation of the 2015 Abierto), Facundo Sola or Ignacio Toccalino have animated the prestigious French Open (16 goals). It is the most important competition in Europe at this time of year. About 8 teams generally compete in a challenging tournament over 3 weeks. The games are breathtaking, fast and furious, fiercely disputed – many encounters ended last year with just a small goal scored during overtime. These matches can be enjoyed during the week, at the end of the day, where only other players and the petiseros are spectators, or over the week-end, when they are commented for a better understanding to an audience that is less expert. The day of the final culminates with a huge party around the Terrain d’Honneur.
Five years ago the most famous tournament in French Polo turned female with the launch of the Ladies’ French Open, dedicated entirely, as its name suggests, to female players who are on the increase. This polo is calmer and also more refined. However it is also fiercely competitive. In 2016 the level of the tournament is reaching a new point and passing to 16 goals (in female handicap); the tournament is now the ultimate, highest level championship outside the frontiers of Argentina.