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17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel Begins Friday; Grand Champions Polo Club Well-Represented

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17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo 
World Cup Kitzbuhel Begins Friday; 
Grand Champions Polo Club 
Well-Represented
Winning 2018 teammates Tito Gaudenzi, Melissa Ganzi and MVP Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Bendura Bank.  
Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.



KITZBUHEL, Austria, January 17, 2019----The snow polo season opens in the breathtaking Tyrolean Alps winter world of Austria with the 17th Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup.


The three-day tournament's six teams featuring players from around the world were introduced Thursday at the Hotel Zur Tenne in the heart of Kitzbuhel village and Welcome Party at the Casino Kitzbuhel. The matches get under way Friday and continue through Sunday.

Bendura Bank teammates Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Tito Gaudenzi in last year's tournament. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

Grand Champions Polo Club will be well-represented with defending champion Bendura Bank's Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Tito Gaudenzi and Melissa Ganzi. In last year's final, Bendura Bank defeated Engel & Volkers, 10-6.5 

"It is so exciting to be back for another year of bumper snow polo in Kitzbuhel," said Gaudenzi, the event organizer and co-founder. "Our six teams are blessed with some new faces as well as welcoming back past champions, so we can't wait to get the tournament under way. It is, without a doubt, set to be the best Snow Polo World Cup yet."

The event was started in 2003 by Tito Gaudenzi and his father Reto with four teams and 1,000 fans. It has grown into one of the country's major sporting events and attracts more than 15,000 fans over three days.

Bendura Bank's Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Tito Gaudenzi before last year's final. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

Grant Ganzi, a member of the winning 2017 U.S. Polo Assn. team in the St. Regis World Snow Cup in Aspen and Team USPA, will make his Europe snow polo circuit debut this weekend in  Kitzbuhel and next week's 35th St. Moritz World Snow Polo Cup.

"I'm excited play snow polo in a different location," said Ganzi, who will play for Team Bernd Gruber. "I think our team chances are good. I'm excited to play with my team and most of all I am thankful for the opportunity I've been given to play with them."

Tournament horses staying warm during the action. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

Team sponsors and rosters are:

Bendura Bank (12): Melissa Ganzi, 1, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Tito Gaudenzi, 3.

Engel & Volkers (12): Kutlay Yaprak, 1, Agustin Kronhaus, 4, Adrian Laplacette, 7.

Ciroc Vodka (12): Sebastian Schneberger, 2, Aki van Andel, 3, Valentin Novillo Astrada, 7.

Bernd Gruber (10): Eduardo Greghi, 0, Grant Ganzi, 3, Pierre Henri Ngoumou, 7.

Corum (10): Eckhardt Juls, 0, Patrick Maleitzke, 4, Juan Ruiz-Guinazu, 6.

Maserati (10): Marc Aberle, 1, Thomas Winter, 5, Caspar Crasemann, 4. 

Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Melissa Ganzi position themselves for the throw-in. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

Three games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. On Friday, Bendura Bank opens against Corum at 11:30 a.m., Engel & Volkers plays Maserati at 12:45 p.m. and Bernd Gruber plays Ciroc at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Ciroc plays Maserati at 11:30 a.m., Corum plays Bernd Gruber at 12:45 p.m. and Bendura Bank plays Engel & Volkers at 2 p.m.

On Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the game for fifth and sixth place is the opening game. At 12:45 p.m., the Kitzbuhel Country Club Cup will be held for third and fourth place and at 2 p.m. the championship finals will be held followed by the team and awards presentation at 3:30 p.m. 

Grant Ganzi of U.S. Polo Assn. Photo by Nick Tininenko.

The tournament will be live streamed on the Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel Facebook page during the early morning in South Florida because of the time change. Fans can already watch the match draw that was streamed earlier in the week.

Ganzi was 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 also first woman to win the St. Regis World Snow Polo Tournament in Aspen for Flexjet in 2016 and 2018 Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup. Ganzi will also compete in St. Moritz.

Sellout crowds are expected to line the arena during tournament action.
Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

"I think our chances are as good as any other team's," Ganzi said. "Afterall, it's polo and anything can happen. I love my teammates and love playing in Kitzbuhel in front of the fans."

Jan-Erik Franck, the voice of polo who also announces the fall and winter seasons at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm and also the St. Regis World Snow Polo Tournament in Aspen, will handle the announcing in Kitzbuhel and also St. Moritz World Snow Polo Cup.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital, is hosting 22 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, WCT Finals and women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Venezuela and England.

Season highlights for 2019 are the Jan. 26-Feb. 9 Sterling Cup, March 1-31 $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, March 1-16 John T. Oxley Memorial and March 3-24 $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament.

Fans in the VIP tent are treated to fabulous food throughout the event. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

The biggest highlight of the season is the debut of the World Polo League, the nation's only 26-goal league featuring some of the world's top players and team sponsors at Grand Champions and Valiente. The WPL will fill the void created when the U.S. Polo Association, the sport's governing body, announced it was lowering high goal polo to 18-22 goals at International Polo Club and would not have 26-goal polo and instead feature the Gauntlet Polo Series with the C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

The tack is ready and waiting for the tournament horses in their warm makeshift barn. Photo courtesy of Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its' 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 Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving. 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 June 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. 

2019 WINTER SCHEDULE 

JANUARY
Jan. 10-26, Metropolitan Cup (6 goal)
Jan. 10-26, Aspen Valley Cup (8 goal)
Jan. 10-26, Limited Edition (12 goal)
Jan. 26-Feb. 9, Sterling Cup (20 goal)
Women's League (6-12 goal), Every Wednesday & Monthly Final, Santa Rita Polo Farm

FEBRUARY
Feb. 1-23, Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal)
Feb. 1-23, Top Pony Series (8 goal)
Feb. 1-23, Sieber Memorial Trophy (12 Goal)
Feb. 6-17, World Polo League, All-Star Challenge, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Feb. 20-Mar. 3, Founders Cup, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Women's League (6-12 goal), Every Wednesday & Monthly Final at Santa Rita Polo Farm

MARCH
Mar. 1-23, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6-goal)
Mar. 1-23, Limited Edition 8-Goal Series
Mar. 1-23, Top Pony 12-Goal Series
March 1-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal
Mar. 1-16, John T. Oxley Memorial (20 Goal)
Mar. 3-24, $100,000 World Cup (0-40 goal)
Mar. 6-24, World Polo League, Palm Beach Open, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Mar. 27-Apr. 14, World Polo League, Triple Crown of Polo, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Women's League (6-12 goal), Every Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm

APRIL 
Apr. 5-20, Las Acacias (4-8 goal)
Apr. 6-20, National President's Cup
April 2-6: Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals, (8 goals, 16 goals, Open) at Grand Champions. 

THE POLO SCHOOL 

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 June and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


Chukker TV is live streaming the entire winter polo schedule. 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.


GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

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.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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