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Gold Cup Opening Day at Cowdray park, Midhurst West Sussex

Royal Ascot & British Gold Cup Opening Day Basked in Sunshine.
 
The most prestigious high goal polo tournament in Europe the British Open aka Cowdray Park Gold Cup got under way this week with two superb polo matches in glorious sunshine.  Royal Ascot also started this week with the unbeaten , super horse Frankel winning the Queen Anne Stakes on opening day by seven lengths but back to polo now.  The Gold Cup polo opening was polo at the maximum level of players, horses and organization perhaps only seen in Argentina or Palm Beach.
 
The first match Piaget versus Salkfeld featured the electrifying new generation of polo super stars of Magoo LaPrida, Joaquin Pittaluga and Alejandro Muzzio the ones knocking on the door of Pieres, Cambiaso, Nero and McDonough's.  LaPrida has one of the best underneck shots in polo and they all have amazing stick work are super fast & exciting yet they lost by one goal 8-7 to the better organised team work of Nick Clarke with the two best UK players J. Beim & Luke Tomlinson  supported by the always solid Jose Donoso.  The game was fast & furious , I noticed that the young superstars arrived at the ball flat out and a bit out of control even with their exceptional stick work it seems like Juan Martin Nero, Facundo Pieres, Pablo McDonough, Miguel Novillo always arrive at the the ball a few seconds earlier than LaPrida & company in a cool , collected manner that is why for now they carry the maximum rating and are the best in the world .
 

The second Gold Cup match Bamba de Areco & Les Lions was played on Ambersham 1 between two sets of brothers : Facundo & Nico  Pieres versus Agustin & Sebastian Merlos.  Facundo & Sebastian carrying the ten goal rating .  All four players are experienced Palermo Open players with all except Nico previous winners of the Argentine Open.  The expectations of the match were very and did not disappoint The Great Santino Alberto Van de Mye   Poniesfrom the throw in it became obvious that Facundo came to play his best polo, the first three chukkas were close with a slight edge to Bamba de Areco it seemed that Agustin Merlos was misfiring a bit at goal from his usual high standard.  The fourth chukka proved decisive as Facundo gave an exhibition of what it is to carry the maximum handicap and scoredd four times to break the game open after that it was catch up time for the Merlos boys and a great job they did to get back to within 1 goal before the bell sounded.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Gold Cup at least for this writer is seeing the quality of horse flesh on show the best in the world if anything it seemed Facundo was slightly better mounted than the Merlos brothers but this is maximum level in all areas players, horses etc.  Its great for my dog "Santo" the friendly labrador to be back at Cowdray Park a dog friendly polo club.