Spectators at the 2018 Semi Finals of the King Power Gold Cup agreed that it was one of the most thrilling Gold Cup Semi Finals days ever with each of the two matches going into extra time.
The first Semi Final for the Ellerston Cup saw the quartet of Englishmen who make up the El Remanso facing Michael Bickford’s La Indiana with world number one Facundo Pieres playing at Back. El Remanso had remained undefeated throughout the British Open Championship, but Michael Bickford has had the Gold Cup in his sights for several years and badly wanted the victory.
La Indiana scored the opening goal and at the close of the first chukka were 3-2 ahead; by the end of chukka 2 Bickford’s team had a two goal advantage at 5-3. However, they failed to score in the third and by half time El Remanso were in the driving seat, heading into half time 6-5 ahead. At the close of the fifth chukka, the scores were 12-11 in El Remanso’s favour but a tense sixth chukka saw La Indiana benefit from two spot penalties enabling Facundo Pieres to level the scores on 13-13. The match went into a seventh chukka and it wasn’t long before La Indiana was awarded a 60 yard penalty. Facundo Pieres sent the shot wide. The ball came in from the back line and Cudmore was onto it, Roldan managed to send it away but once more Cudmore was in the frame. Facundo Pieres stopped the attack but lost the ball to Beim, there was a quick pick-up by Ollie Cudmore and the ball was between the posts for a thrilling 14-13 victory to El Remanso.
Mrs Roz Packer was delighted to present the Ellerston Cup, commemorating the iconic Packer family’s Ellerston teams of the 1990s, to Charlie Hanbury of El Remanso. Stephen Alexander, MD of Casablanca Polo presented generous gift bags of Casablanca products to the players. Robert Mehm of EFG Private Banking presented the Award for the Player Playing Best to his Handicap to Charlie Hanbury and the Retraining of Racehorse award for Best Playing Pony went to Dazzle owned by Alec White of the La Indiana side.
Battling for the final spot in the King Power Gold Cup final were Jean-Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco side against Ben Soleimani’s RH Polo, Polito Pieres substituting for an injured Pelon Stirling in the La Bamba side. A slow start for La Bamba de Areco saw the score at 4-3 in RH Polo’s favour at half time. A stronger second half from Juan Martin Nero, Byron Watson and Polito Pieres, saw La Bamba de Areco equalise on 7-7 by the end of the fifth chukka and 9-9 to close the sixth. The seventh chukka saw Juan Martin Nero score in the opening play to win the Semi-Final for La Bamba de Areco on 10-9 and their place in Sunday’s Final.
Anthony Embiricos, the former Patron of the Tramontana side that still holds the record for the most consdecutive victories in the Gold Cup, presented the Tramontana Cup to Jean-Francois Decaux of La Bamba de Areco. Stephen Alexander, MD of Casablanca Polo presented generous gift bags of Casablanca products to the players. Robert Mehm of EFG Private Banking presented the Award for the Player Playing Best to his Handicap to Jean Francois Decaux and the Retraining of Racehorse award for Best Playing Pony went to Polito Pieres’ Faye.