Zacara retained the high-goal Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club earlier today. An impressive performance over the highly regarded Talandracas ensured that Zacara patron Lyndon Lea stepped forward to receive the trophy from HM The Queen. In fact Zacara had an easier time than even they thought possible, winning the game 10-7, and were so dominant in the first half of the match that they were 6-2 up at half-time. That said, the packed stands at Smith’s Lawn, and the 3,000 plus viewers who were watching the game being streamed online, were treated to a wonderful, running game of polo on The Queen’s Ground at Smith’s Lawn.
Polito Pieres, who had done so much in the previous matches to put Edouard Carmignac’s Talandracas into this final, was able to bring his team back into the game in the second half and had closed the gap to 7-4 at the end of the fourth. However Facundo Pieres, who later received the Most Valuable Player Award from HM The Queen and Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier, was continually impressive – he was the leading goal scorer of the tournament – and Talandracas never got close enough to create a serious threat. In addition, Zacara played well as a team and both Lyndon Lea and Matt Perry had a great game, the latter continually feeding good balls up to his number one, Pieres.
As well as receiving the MVP award, Facundo also stepped up to receive the Cartier Best Playing Pony Award from Her Majesty and Carlos Gracida jnr. This year’s prize was awarded in memory of Carlos Gracida, the great Mexican player who died following a polo fall in February 2014. Carlos snr won the Queen’s Cup in 2004 with Labegorce and this was a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest players and it was wonderful to see his family involved in this tribute. The Best Playing Pony of 2014 was Facundo Piere’s Galactica, a 10-year-old Argentine-bred mare who had won this same prize in 2013 and whom Facundo had played for six minutes in the third chukka of this match. This win ensured that Galactica also received the Argentine Polo Pony Breeders’ Association prize too.
Before the match started the Band of the Grenadier Guards paraded on the field into the shape of the figure 30 to celebrate Cartier’s three decades of sponsorship of polo at Guards Polo Club. Arnaud Bamberger and his guests, which included HM Queen Noor of Jordan, Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery, Sex in the City’s Kristin Davis and McLaren F1 boss Ron Dennis, then watched the match from the Club’s elegant Royal Box.