It looks like we’re going to get our polo fix. It was the sport of choice for Tom Barrack, who for 10 years took it upon himself to stir up the stagnant waters of the Costa Smeralda with a series of initiatives that many remember fondly: the Lebanese restaurant Safina, the luxury fair on the quays of the old port and the annual polo tournament that took place on the perfectly polished Shergan field below San Pantaleo.
We were so intrigued that one winter we flew to Buenos Aires to watch the crucial match between Ellerstina and La Dolfina in the final of the Copa de Oro, the most important polo tournament in Argentina, and therefore in the world, because it seemed absolutely necessary to understand the sense and the original values of this sport by going to its source. We made friends with true polo legends, we ate an exorbitant amount of grilled meat, we basked for a few days in the daily life of that 2% of Argentinians who own more than 50% of the nation’s wealth, shrewdly invested in vast estates, polo ponies and classic cars.
We returned to our coast with the knowledge that for us Italians, polo will always be an exciting equestrian show with a decidedly exotic flavour. Sardinia is an island that loves horses and respects those who know how to ride and breed them. We export a highly prestigious breed, the Sardinian Anglo-Arab, as well as jockeys to every part of the world, while horse riding excursions on the island are a highlight not to be missed.
The appointment with the Italia Polo Challenge – Baylandi Cup, sponsored by the municipality of Arzachena and the Italian Federation of Equestrian Sports, runs from 21 to 24 July.