Polo Legends

Polo Legends.

Three players that deserve special recognition are:

Juan Carlos Harriott. Probably considered the most successful player in Argentina ever. He played for Coronel Suárez and won the Argentine Open a record twenty times.

Adolfo Cambiaso. Credited with changing the world of polo; changing the style of play. Through the Seventies and Eighties polo was very much a running game, but Cambiaso changed the way we use horses and introduced amazing ball skills.

Howard Hipwood. One of the biggest British players. He was playing off a nine handicap (the highest is ten), and was considered Britain’s best player for a long time.

Legendary 10 goalers:

Louis Ezekiel Stoddard (1881–1951). He learned polo at the New Haven Polo Club around 1900. In 1909, was he was chosen as the substitute for the American polo team at the International Polo Cup. He was a substitute in the 1913 International Polo Cup and played when James Montaudevert Waterbury, Jr. was injured. He participated in the 1921 International Polo Cup. He was elected chairman of the United States Polo Association in 1922 and served until 1936.

John Arthur Edward Traill (1882–1958). He owned a ranch in Argentina and used to import polo ponies to the Roehampton Club and train them in Richmond Park. He was also a polo coach at Ham Polo Club when it was revived by Billy Walsh. His name appears amongst the winners of the Roehampton Trophy several times alongside team mates such as Marquis de Villavieja, Jack Nelson and Major Philip Magor. Traill won the Argentine Open ten times during his career. He died in 1958.

Lewis Lawrence Lacey (1887–1966). He was born on February 17, 1887 in Montreal, Canada, the son of a professional cricketer. Born as a British citizen, he served for England in World War I before returning to Argentina to pursue his polo career. In 1915 he won the Argentine Open and become Argentina’s second 10-goal polo player. In 1922 he won the United States open championship, he would return to play this tournament every few years. In 1924 he was asked to play for Great Britain in the Paris Olympics, he did not wish to play against Argentina so was not selected for the final team. In 1924 and 1930 Lacey captained the English team in the International Polo Cup. In the 1928 Cup of the Americas Lacey was selected to play for Argentina. Between 1915 and 1937 he won the Argentine open eight times. He also received attention in 1928 for selling a polo pony for a record twenty two thousand US dollars. The shirts worn in the 1923 season by the Hurlingham Polo Team were created and sold by Lacey, the short sleeved sports shirts had a mounted polo player on the left breast similar to a contemporary style of fashionable shirts. He also wrote many essays about polo, including ‘Equitation in the Game of Polo’ and the ‘Judge’s Task in Polo Pony Shows’.

Gerald Balding (1903-1957). England’s last 10 goal player. The Gerald Balding Cup is held annually at Cirencester Park Polo Club in his memory. In the 1920s he played in England, America and India. In 1930, 1936 and 1939, he played for England against the U.S.A. for the Westchester Cup and was field captain of the English team in 1939. He was a brilliant striker of the ball and was rated as one of the finest players ever seen.

Gen Jaginder Singh (1904 – 1940). In 1921 became a +10 handicap player from the Patiala Tiger team, India. One of the only two +10 handicap players India has ever produced. Won the Coronation Cup in 1923, playing on the Tigers team. In India won the Prince of Wales Commemoration Tournament. Popularly known as Jaggo.

Col. Jaswant Singh (Brother of Jaginder Singh). Patiala Tiger team. Held a +10 goal handicap in 1923. Won the Coronation Cup that year, playing on the Tigers team. In India won the Prince of Wales Commemoration Tournament. Popularly known as Jasso.

Aidan Roark (1905–1984). He was born on October 23, 1905 in Carlow, Ireland. He participated in the 1939 International Polo Cup as the second ranked player in Britain.

Carlos Gracida – Mexico (1960-2014). Gracida was born in Mexico City. As a product of the Gracida polo dynasty, Carlos began playing when he was only five years old and began competing at the age of ten. His father Guillermo was a 9-goaler who played in Meadowbrook and Palermo in Argentina and still enjoyed the distinction of 5-goals at the age of 65. Gracida first reached 10 goals in 1985, and spent over fifteen years at this handicap. He was a member of Ellerstina, the legendary team owned by Australian magnate Kerry Packer, and also of La Espadana.
In 1994 Gracido won nearly every possible tournament in the game, including the Argentinian Triple Crown of Hurlingham, Tortuguitas and Palermo. That same year, he also won the US Open and the British Open Gold Cup, becoming the first player in history to win the Grand Slam of Polo. Alongside his brother Guillermo Gracida (often referred to as Memo), Gracida won Player of the Year in America five times. He racked up more tournament wins than any player in the history of the game. Along with his Mexican countrymen Antonio Herrera and his brother Memo, he was one of three foreigners to win the Abierto Argentino de Palermo, considered the most prestigious tournament. He won it five times. He was also the only foreigner to have won the Olimpia de Plata, Argentina’s Most Valuable Player Award, which he picked up in 1988. He won the British Open Gold Cup ten times, more than any other player, and won the US Open nine times.
He reached 10 goals in 1985 and spent fifteen years on and off at 10 goals, including the 2006 season in Palm Beach. Gracida was ranked 9 goals in England, where he was reportedly HM Queen Elizabeth’s favorite player. He was a favorite instructor with celebrities and royalty and gave lessons to HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince William, HRH Prince Harry, King Constantine II of Greece, HRH Prince Talal of Jordan, James Packer and Sylvester Stallone. Gracida died of injuries suffered in a match at the Everglades Polo Club in Wellington aged 54.

Living legends:

Adolfo Cambiaso, Argentina. Mariano Aguerre, Argentina / USA. Bartolome Castagnola, Argentina. Bautista Heguy, Argentina / England. Ignacio Heguy, Argentina. Marcos Heguy, Argentina. Pablo Mac Donough, Argentina / Spain / USA. Agustin Merlos, Argentina / Spain / USA. Lucas Monteverde, Argentina. Juan Martin Nero, Argentina / Spain. Miguel Novillo Astrada, Argentina. Facundo Pieres, Argentina / USA. Gonzalo Pieres, Argentina / France.

Posted in: