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Badrutt's Palace Plays Maserati For La Martina Cup; Melissa And Marc Ganzi Make History At 36th Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz

Badrutt's Palace Plays Maserati For La Martina Cup; Melissa And Marc Ganzi Make History At 36th Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz 

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland, January 25, 2020--In what's expected to be one of the closest games in the history of the 36th Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz, Azerbaijan Land of Fire will face St. Moritz in Sunday's championship. 

On another perfect weather day for snow polo in front of a packed house, the two teams may have provided a sneak preview of the final in second day action on Saturday.

Badrutt's Palace and Maserati players showing off their swag and unique Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Challenge award.

St. Moritz (Zhanna Bandurko/Valery Mishchenko, 0, Robert Strom, 5, Max Charlton, 5, Nacho Gonzalez, 6) held off Azerbaijan Land of Fire (Elcin Jamalli, 2, Pato Bolanterio, 4, Agustin Kronhaus, 3, Santiago Marambio, 6), 6-5.5, for the Maserati Trophy.

"We were worried going into the game today," Gonzalez said. "The first chukker they were strong but then we got a couple of goals and it all changed from there."

In the second game for the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Challenge Trophy, Maserati (Kutlay Yaprak, 1, Fabio Meier, 1, Adrian Laplacette Jr., 6, Valentin Novillo Astrada, 6) defeated defending tournament champion Badrutt's Palace (Melissa Ganzi, 1, Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8), 4.5-3.

Adrian LaPlacette of Maserati goes for the hit with teammate Kutlay Yaprak defending Nic Roldan of Badrutt's Palace.

Marc Ganzi, making his tournament debut on Saturday, and his wife Melissa became the first husband and wife to compete in the prestigious tournament. Last year Melissa Ganzi was the first woman to win the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz. 

Badrutt's Palace will get a rematch against Maserati on Sunday in the La Martina Cup subsidiary at noon. The championship final follows at 2:15 p.m. The pairings were based on goal differential. Badrutt's Palace had to win by a margin of at least four goals to secure a place in the final.
The tournament is being live streamed on both the tournament's official Facebook page and at http:/www.pololine.tv/category/live.

Maserati's Fabio Meier closely defends Nic Roldan of Badrutt's Palace.

In front of a soldout VIP tent and record 500,000 livestream audience on Saturday, four top-caliber teams competed hard for the chance of playing for the coveted title in the only high goal snow polo tournament on the frozen lake of St. Moritz.

In the opening game, Badrutt's Palace found itself in a hole against Maserati much like Friday's game against Azerbaijan Land of Fire. Maserati started off with a 2.5-0 lead on handicap and added another goal in the second chukker, 3.5-0. Roldan's 30-yard penalty conversion late in the second chukker cut his team's deficit to 2.5.

Penalties, mental errors and missed scoring opportunities plagued Badrutt's Palace. Maserati pulled away 4.5-1 in the final minute of the third chukker before Melissa Ganzi scored her team's second goal on a 30-yard penalty conversion to trail 4.5-2. Novillo Astrada scored another goal from the field in the closing seconds.

Badrutt's Palace Alejandro Novillo Astrada drives past cousin and defender Valentin Novillo Astrada of Maserati.

In the second game, Azerbaijan Land of Fire, despite a 1.5 advantage on handicap, didn't start as strong as it did in its game against Badrutt's Palace. With Max Charlton bulldozing his way through every kind of defense they threw at him, it didn't take long for St. Moritz to pull away for a 4-1.5 lead at the half.

Nacho Gonzalez lofted a goal early in the third chukker to give St. Moritz a 5-2.5 lead before Azerbaijan tried to rally behind Kronhaus and Jamalli. But Charlton scored an insurance goal in the fourth chukker before Jamalli scored at the 1:30 mark. Azerbaijan Land of Fire had one final goal run but fell short.  

The world's most prestigious polo tournament on snow was the first snow polo tournament in the sport's history created by Reto Gaudenzi, known as the Godfather of snow polo.

Badrutt's Palace Melissa Ganzi follows up her hit while teammate Nic Roldan 
takes out the defender.

Snow polo is played around the world including Aspen in Colorado; Cortina in Italy; Tianjin in China, but St Moritz remains the most prestigious tournament that is played on snow, and awards the highest prize money.

Melissa Ganzi, President of Grand Champions Polo Club and co-founder of the 26-goal World Polo League that begins play in February, is making her fifth appearance in the tournament. She was also the first woman to compete in the St. Moritz Snow Polo Tournament in 2016 and first woman to make the final in 2017. She is the first woman to win both the St. Regis World Snow Polo Tournament in Aspen for Flexjet in 2016 and 2018 Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup. 

In last year's St. Moritz event, Badrutt's Palace (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Juan Bautista Peluso, 0, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8) won for the first time in the hotel's hallowed history defeating previously unbeaten Maserati (Valery Mischenko, 0, Robert Strom, 5, Chris Hyde, 5/Jack Hyde, 4, Max Charlton, 6) with an impressive 7-3 victory in front of a record crowd.
Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Badrutt's Palace outraces Maserati's Adrian LaPlacette for the ball.

The highlight of the weekend was the stunning Snow Polo Night Gala Dinner Baku Moritz Night held Saturday at Badrutt's Palace Hotel, located in the center of St. Moritz.

The three-day tournament is considered the social event of the season. Social events are being  held both on the lake and first-class hotels around St. Moritz. Local chefs prepared a wide array of culinary delights.

Since the tournament's inception, admission to the event has always been free including access to the grandstand which was backed with fans on Saturday. The lavish VIP tent is always sold out and sold another 500 bottles of Perrier Jouet champagne.

Nic Roldan of Badrutt's Palace works the nearside with defender Adrian LaPlacette on his hip.

Badrutt's Palace is the birthplace of Alpine winter sports and favorite European destination. The five-star hotel celebrated 121 years since opening its doors. It won the award for Most Renowned Luxury Hotel 2016 at the Hotel Spa Awards.

Jan-Erik Franck, the voice of polo who also announces the 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm, is announcing the tournament in St. Moritz before returning to Wellington for the World Polo League's highly anticipated second season.

During the winter season in Wellington, Grand Champions is hosting 19 tournaments, the most of any club in the U.S., including five in January. The highlight of the schedule is the second season of the 26-goal World Polo League, featuring at least 11 teams and most of the best players in the sport.

Unique aerial drone shot of snow polo action with special thanks to Engadin Airport for the support and authorization of the event's drone flights.

With 18 safe and well-manicured fields, including 11-tournament grade, the club will host every level of polo for men, women and children including the  World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo held outside of Argentina featuring the best players in the world.

The club attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan Land of Fire, South Africa, Nigeria and England.

Badrutt's Palace players Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Nic Roldan, Marc Ganzi and Melissa Ganzi during the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Challenge awards ceremony.
Photos By Kathrin Gralla and Christian Sommer for Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz

Grand Champions is coming off its finest fall season in the club's 13-year history. It was the only club in the nation to stage two 20-goal fall tournaments in addition to the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. The club also hosted a full schedule of successful and highly-competitive medium goal tournaments.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility, nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital Wellington. It features 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and new parking lot.

Another beautiful drone shot from snow polo action.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm's expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, created by Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm. It is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its' mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

Metropolitan Cup
Tuesday 1/28 4 p.m. Metropolitan Cup Final
 Bushwood vs. Altair

Aspen Valley Cup
Sunday 1/26 12 p.m. Flexjet vs SD Farms at GCPC Field 5
Thursday 1/30 3 p.m. Aspen Valley Cup Final 

Limited Edition
Sunday 1/26 10 a.m. The Limited Edition Final at GCPC Field 3
 Newport vs Beverly Equestrian 

WCT Ladies League
Wednesday 1/29 10 a.m. at Santa Rita

Sterling Cup
Sunday 1/26  12 p.m. Grand Champions vs Santa Clara at Jan Pamela Field 2
Monday 1/27 Valiente vs Pilot at Valiente 
Wednesday 1/29 10 a.m. Santa Clara vs Casablanca
Wednesday 1/29 12 p.m. SD Farms vs Valiente at Valiente
TBA  Sterling Cup Final

JAN 26-Feb 9    $100,000 World Cup, 0-40
JAN-APR           WCT Ladies Wednesday League

FEB 1-29            Halo Polo Trophy, 6
FEB 1-29            Top Pony 8 Goal
FEB 1-29            Sieber Memorial Trophy
FEB 6-16            WPL All-Star Challenge
FEB 19-MAR 1    WPL Founders Cup
FEB 25-MAR 8    $50,000 National 12-Goal

MAR 1-29             Madelon Bourdieu Memorial
MAR 1-29             Limited Edition 8-Goal Series    
MAR 1-28             Top Pony 12-Goal Series
MAR 4-22             WPL Palm Beach Open
MAR 28-APR 18  WPL Triple Crown of Polo
MAR 31-APR 4    WCT Finals

APR 4-19            Las Acacias, 4-8
APR 6-12            U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship

Polo Hotline 561-644-5050

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 

ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.

ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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