Sardinia is a region in which equestrian traditions are powerfully present in the inhabitants’ DNA, where a location such as the Costa Smeralda with its extraordinary beauty is one of the most popular high-end tourism destinations in the world, and it was here that the organising committee addressed the same care to both the sporting and social aspects of this event…
The mix of these three elements marked a total success of the end of July Italia Polo Challenge Baylandi Cup – Porto Cervo 2021.
After the success of tournaments organised in Cortina d’Ampezzo on snow and in Rome’s Villa Borghese, the Arena Polo series planned by the Argentinean player Patricio Rattagan, in partnership since 2019 with the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE), landed in Porto Cervo in the Arzachena area. This was yet another prestigious tournament that enriched a series of both technically and entertaining high-profile events.
The last on the list of Italia Polo Challenge tournaments was a success, also involving local spectators with exciting moments such as when horses and players paraded through Arzachena’s historical centre followed by another spectacular representation of the teams riding through the famous square in Porto Cervo.
Crowded with people having before dinner drinks, with the splendid marina as the backdrop and in the presence of the Brigata Sassari’s musical military band, the lined-up polo ponies created a wonderful image for the debut of the Italia Polo Challenge-Baylandi Cup.
An extremely beautiful hospitality village created along the side of the Andrea Corda Sports Centre in Abbiadori, was built and equipped to welcome guests in perfect Costa Smeralda style on all three evenings with many fans and guests who had come to watch the matches (the Organising Committee allowed everyone admission free of charge) as well as to enjoy sophisticated wine and food tasting sessions and after-match evenings with live music and DJ Sets.
Petra Bianca Polo Team is the team that won this first edition of the Italia Polo Challenge Baylandi Cup-Porto Cervo, played in the evenings under the spotlights of the Andrea Corda Sports Centre in Abbiadori (Arzachena).
During the final played on Saturday July 24th, Petra Bianca finished the match with a two-goal lead (7 – 5) over Team Battistoni, which had instead beaten them in the July 22nd opening match.
The team captained by Riccardo Paganelli, born Italian but with British nationality, therefore certainly got its own back in the decisive match played in front of a large crowd. Brothers Jeronimo and Bautista Fanelli, respectively scoring four and three goals, looked unbeatable as they finished the match against Battistoni 7-5. Captain Riccardo Paganelli explained that this win was also the result of a well-established understanding between himself and the Fanelli brothers after playing together for the whole of 2021.
The tournament also emphasised the talent of another Argentinean player Joaquin Maiquez (Battistoni Polo Team; hp 6). The player with the highest handicap (7) Francisco Bensadon (Sea Earth Sky Polo Team) worked hard to ensure that his team mates Therance Cusmano and Francesco Scardaccione were able to score. Patricio Rattagan (U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Team) scored often and had the merit of launching 23-year-old Alexander Aggravi, making his debut in a major tournament.
Roberto Ragnedda, Mayor of Arzachena: “Sardinia has always boasted a great tradition in equestrian sports and we are delighted to have renewed such traditions in great style thanks to this prestigious polo tournament that we plan to host until 2023 in partnership with the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation.”
Marco Di Paola, president of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation: “This is an event that both the Federation and the local authorities firmly wanted to organise and one must praise their farsightedness for having enthusiastically supported the plans of an Organising Committee projected towards great goals.”
Patricio Rattagan, the Italia Polo Challenge event manager said: “We have organised a tournament in a fantastic location, creating a really beautiful hospitality village. Expectations were high among those who provided us with this great opportunity and we hope we have lived up to them. This was a first of course and we need to work on and improve a number of organisational aspects. It has, however, been a wager we have won, as have all those who placed their confidence in us both at an organisational and technical level as far as the tournament’s quality and level of play was concerned.”
Alessandro Giachetti, director of polo for the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation added: ”It was important for us to return to Sardinia with a significant tournament after being away for eleven years. We are particularly satisfied as far as the event’s success is concerned. The Arena polo format is a winning one since the smaller pitch increases the speed of play and the game becomes more spectacular.”
Paolo Riccardi, president of PMP Polo and of the Organising Committee said: “The idea of organising a new and enchanting event in which horses play the leading role and one respecting the great sporting tradition of this location had attracted us powerfully. Now we are delighted that we made the right choice together with the Federation, the Municipality of Arzachena and the Consorzio Costa Smeralda. It was a test run for this tournament and we are proud of its success and now everything indicates that we will do even better at the next two editions.”
Battistoni Polo Team Vs Petra Bianca Polo Team: 6-4
U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Team Vs Sea Earth Sky Polo Team: 5-3
Petra Bianca Polo Team Vs U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Team: 7-5
Battistoni Polo Team Vs Sea Earth Sky Polo Team: 8-7
Final 3º-4º place
Sea Earth Sky Polo Team Vs U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Team: 6-5
Final 1º-2° place
Petra Bianca Polo Team Vs Battistoni Polo Team: 7-5
Battistoni Polo Team (+8)
Stefano Giansanti ITA (0)
Alexander Hauptmann GER (+2)
Joaquin Maiquez ARG (+6)
Petra Bianca Polo Team (+8)
Riccardo Paganelli GBR (0)
Bautista Fanelli ARG (+3)
Jeronimo Fanelli ARG (+5)
Sea Earth Sky Polo Team (+8)
Francesco Scardaccione ITA (0)
Therance Cusmano ITA (+1)
Francisco Bensadon ARG (+7)
U.S. Polo Assn. Polo Team (+10)
Diego White ARG (+6)
Patricio Rattagan ARG (+4)
Alexander Aggravi ITA (0)