2nd Ladies’ Chopard Open and 13th French Open: A Perfect Day!
Friday, September 27, 2013
The organizers of these events at the Apremont estate had a lot to do with eleven matches being played on eight fields of the polo club on Saturday. Many Argentinean players consider this club the most beautiful in Europe, as it resembles the clubs they are used to in their home country a lot.
Most of the attention was obviously focused on the “Honour field” n°1, where both finals of the two French Open men’s as well as ladies’ Chopard - took place after three very competitive weeks of polo. Whoever witnessed the penalty-shooting on Friday that decided the second finalist in the men’s Open and eventually saw the Germans of Tom Tailor succeed, knows what competition means. In ladies’ polo there were comparable moments; to name one, there’s the 60 yards penalty transformed into a goal by Lìa Salvo who thus tied the score at the last second, and then allowed her team to qualify for the final (also thanks to another one of Lìa’s penalties).
In the final, Tom Tailor Roissy Porsche was lacking success in spite of Lìa’s omnipresence. In this match, neither of the two teams was really able to get ahead by many goals, and eventually Why Not was victorious with a final score of 4/3. The international team is conducted by the very efficient Hazel Jackson, who admitted with fair-play manner: “Tom Tailor would have just as well deserved to win. Lìa was better than me, but I was lucky that my three co-players were excellent today, they helped me a lot.” The four ladies were satisfied with their beautiful Chopard watches that were created uniquely for this event.
WHY NOT: Hana Grill (AUS, h3), Gaelle Gosset (FRA, h1), Hazel Jackson (GBR, h7) and Anna Kates-Davis (GBR, h1). progression: 0/0 – 2/2 – 3/3 and 4/3
Best horse of the final, prix Aliénor d’Arenberg: Esperanza, ridden by Lìa Salvo and belonging to Pierre Henri Ngoumou
Edouard Pan, a 4-goaler, also had something to be proud of on Saturday night: He became the first Frenchman who won the French Open two years in a row, after his victory with Body Minute in 2012. He experienced those two victories in very different ways: “Last year, we were outsiders and surprised everyone with our victory, but this year with La Quinta, we were the audience’s favorites which made our lives a bit difficult at the beginning of this match.” And indeed, it took a while before the match got into a rhythm. La Quinta in particular had some difficulties to get started with their game and thus the first chukka ended with a blank score – a very rare event at this level!
La Quinta was the only team that had participated in the Gold Cup in Deauville, an occurrence that certainly lead to certain automatisms: “When we played in Deauville, our intention was primarily to prepare this French Open, our objective for this season. In Deauville, we almost qualified for the final, but it was more important to win here in Chantilly, which we were able to do thanks to our horses”, emphasized the French professional.
Throughout the second and during the third chukka, La Quinta was able to properly take on its German adversary in spite of some brilliant attacks at tearing pace by Gaston Maiquez, who at the end of these, oftentimes found himself vis-à-vis with La Quinta’s back…
Edouard Pan: “Our team is usually rather smooth, yet I do not know what happened at the beginning of the match. We looked too much at each other, certainly stressed a bit because we knew what was at stake. We have the habit of playing together with and for pleasure, and as soon as we retrieved this pleasure in the third chukka, it all started to work well again. We know each other well, I played alongside Dario Musso (the Nr.3 of La Quinta) all season and the fact that we knew each other well certainly made a difference. Adding, of course, that our captain Alexandre Sztarkman was very efficient and helped a great deal this afternoon.”
Improving his level remains an important goal for the young Frenchman and this objective might profit from a stopover in Argentina, where the season is about to start at the moment: “I am rather well-organized over there, right now, and I already have a few contracts that allow me to play in some tournaments that are on the same level as the French Open.”
A French Open that – just like French polo in general – has improved year by year.