In front of a packed crowd, who filled the grandstand and every order of space around the playing field for the finals, the Roman leg of the Italia Polo Challenge, a circuit with the arena polo formula (teams of three players, small field), came to an end at the Galoppatoio di Villa Borghese.
The four-team event was won by the Harpa HPE team (Fabrizio Facello, ITA, captain, hcp -1; Therence Cusmano, ITA, 1; Pedro F. Llorente, ARG, 5), who in the decisive match beat U.S. Polo Assn (Stefano Giansanti, ITA, captain, 1; Fabrizio Murgolo, ITA, -1; Patricio Rattagan, ARG, 4) 7 to 5.5. The winning team thus completed a perfect run, with three victories in as many matches played on Roman nights. For ‘dragger’ Llorente and his teammates it was therefore a well-deserved encore, having already won the tournament in 2022.
Union (Massimo Giambarresi, ITA, captain, 0; Goffredo Cutinelli Rendina, ITA, 3; Paolo Grillini, ITA, 1) had previously claimed third place, beating Engel & Völkers (Davide Fioranelli, ITA, captain, -1; Angel Valdez, DOM, 2; Miguel Angel Marmol, ITA, 3) 8-6.5 Gardenia Secret, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred, was awarded the best in show.
As one of the events that complement the programme of the CSIO di Piazza di Siena, the Italia Polo Challenge stopped in Rome for the fourth consecutive year. IPC is an itinerant circuit hosted in three attractive venues: Cortina d'Ampezzo with the snow matches, Villa Borghese in Rome and Arzachena in Costa Smeralda. With the patronage of the FISE and the collaboration of the Federal Polo Department, the creator and driving force behind IPC is Argentinian player Patricio Rattagan. The next date with IPC is scheduled in Costa Smeralda from 19 to 22 July.
Qualifications: Harpa HPE vs U.S. Polo Assn 8-5.5; Union vs Engel & Völkers 6-6 (Union winner by draw).
Semi-finals: Harpa HPE vs Engel & Völkers 8-6,5; U.S. Polo Assn vs Union 4-2.
Finals: 1st and 2nd place Harpa HPE vs U.S. Polo Assn 7-5,5; 3rd and 4th place Union vs Engel & Volkers 8-6,5.