Two games and two completely different scenarios marked the sunny opening of the 23rd edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup in Gstaad. In the first game, Faris Al Yabhouni, the captain of team Clinique La Prairie, did not have to suffer too much to win whilst Cedric Schweri and his team Banque Eric Sturdza had to fight a more complicated battle to start their way towards the final.
For Faris Al Yabhouni it was the first time in Gstaad: “It is a nice place: the surroundings, the people who are welcoming us here, everything is perfect. It is of course great to have won this first game especially as the teammates did not know each other yet nor did we know our horses that we rented from Saint-Tropez. The first two chukkers were pretty tight, but then we started to get to know and understand each other and the last two periods were easier and we managed to take the lead.” They defeated team Hublot, led by Swiss Captain Matteo Beffa: 13 to 6 ½.
It is this last team that the titleholder, Cedric Schweri, will face in the semi-final next Saturday, his game of the day was already quite difficult: “Actually, it was very «hard» for a first game, confirms the captain of Banque Eric Sturdza. The problem is that it was the first time we played together and we needed some time to really hit it off. When the team knows each other, it is easier.” Cedric contributed to the victory with an incredible golazo (Argentinian, meaning a beautiful goal) in the second chukker at the end of a beautiful solo run: “It is always nice to score a goal like that. In general, we the patrons, are there to defend, but scoring a goal is good.” And an important one as well as the team only won by a half-goal: “But this victory makes us confident for the rest of this Hublot Gold Cup, I think we will go to the finals, and after…”!
But before that, they will have to pass the semi-finals, which promise to be open. They will be played on Saturday at 1.30 p.m. and 3 p.m. In the meantime, the teams will parade tomorrow through the streets of Gstaad, a nice tradition that brings polo closer to the public.
by R&B Presse – Sophie Pailloncy & Pascal Renauldon