Newport Polo
Photo Credit: Newport Polo

Chile will open the 28th season of the Newport International Polo Series to start 18 weeks of competition, camaraderie, and celebration.  South Africa will headline as guests of honor at the 19th annual International Polo Charity Ball, and the return of New Zealand will be a highlight in September, as these three powerhouses return to Newport from the farthest points of the globe.  Polo fans are invited to join the players for welcome parties and Apres Polo events to fête the international visitors and regale in their global competition.  

“This will be one of the most competitive seasons on record,” comments USA captain, Dan Keating, “with an incredible diversity of players from the world’s top polo nations.  We will work very hard to prepare our players and horses to meet the challenge.”

Chile is a dominant force in polo circles as a South American stronghold of polo and prolific international competitor on the world stage.  In the most recent competition, Chile’s national team has won the Polo World Championship twice and finished second.  Five hundred players and fifteen polo clubs throughout the nation have made Chile an international polo destination for all level players.  This formidable rival will open the Polo Series on June 1, with returning captain Felix Garrido to continue a rivalry with USA that spans 3 decades.  A season kickoff celebration will take place on the eve of the match at the venerable Clarke Cooke House.  The Chilean Polo Team will be the guests of Official Team Lodging Sponsor, The Chanler at Cliffwalk.

Never to be underestimated, the Scotland Polo Team is preparing for a rematch for its 14th appearance in the Newport International Polo Series.  Despite its defeat last season, Scotland still leads 7 wins to 6 against USA and will have the chance to notch another victory on June 15th.  The Scotland Team will be the guests of Official Team Lodging Sponsor, The Vanderbilt.

Ireland will return with throngs of turncoats on July 6th.  By luck or by skill, the team has managed to come out ahead of USA more often than not in 27 contests, and win the favor of Newport’s polo going crowd.  Expect one of the biggest turnouts in the season to see whether or not Ireland will hold on to the perpetual cup.

Italy broke a six year curse in 2018, claiming the perpetual cup for the first time over USA.  The squad will be coming in hot off its peak tournament season and in top shape to defend the trophy.  The team hails from Rome, home of the largest and oldest of the 15 Italian polo clubs.  The Italian Team will be the guests of Official Team Lodging Sponsor, Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina.

Another steamroller heading to Newport is the South Africa Team, to eclipse the international roster this year as the guests of honor for the 19th annual International Polo Charity Ball, Diamonds Are Forever, on August 2nd and challenge USA for a third historic match on Saturday, August 3rd.  Polo in South Africa took hold in 1874 when the first recorded game was played between a South African and a British infantry unit in Cape Town.  The first club was established in 1884 by South African army officers and has reached a might of 38 clubs and 450 players strong today.  USA and South Africa have an even win-loss record, with USA the defending champion of the perpetual cup as of 2008.

Jamaica may be renowned for its warm inviting shores and relaxed lifestyle, but don’t think that dulls their competitive edge.  Polo is played year-round in idyllic conditions, making the Jamaican Polo Team one of the most formidable of USA’s annual challengers.  The team will be led by seasoned captain Shane Chin, accompanied by top players and the nation’s up and coming hopefuls.  Famous Jamaican hospitality and renowned horsemanship draws players from around the world, for world-class competition, and an impressive next generation of island players is emerging.  Witness the 20th annual rematch on August 17th.  The Jamaican Team will be the guests of Official Team Lodging Sponsor, the Hotel Viking.

The USA squad has kept England in check in its most recent skirmish.  The annual Labor Day challenge has become a fan-favorite for the intense action between the world’s superpowers.  It should come as no surprise that the teams are nearly neck-and-neck in their historic rivalry, with USA holding on to a narrow 9 wins to 8.  Team captain Garrie Renucci and his merry band from the London Polo Club are sure to go full monty to reclaim the silver on August 31 in the holiday weekend classic.

2004 marked New Zealand’s debut in the Newport International Polo Series, taking a narrow win, 10-9 over USA.  Polo in New Zealand was established in 1890 and is home to one of the world’s oldest polo trophies.  The temperate climate and relatively high number of players creates a very competitive environment, and formidable teams to represent the nation in international competition.  The players will be traveling halfway around the world to take on USA, so don’t expect them to leave without the silver on September 14th.  The team will be captained by renown legend, Roddy Wood, Prince Charles’ lifelong polo pro.

In its 28 year span, including this season, the Polo Series will have hosted teams from 34 countries, including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, India, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Barbados, Canada, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, and Poland.

About Newport Polo:  In February,Newport Polo will announce the complete schedule for the 28th season of the Newport International Polo Series, the popular 18-week summer public exhibition series.  Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club est. 1876, offering club member services for outdoor (grass) & arena polo, and polo instruction. The founding members, who hailed mostly from Westchester County, NY, established the club’s summer headquarters and polo grounds in Newport, RI where its members annually convened for summer recreation. The original club in Newport remained active until 1929 and is credited for organizing the first international polo competition, the Westchester Cup. The Westchester Polo Club was revived in 1992 by President and delegate, Dan Keating. Popularly known today as Newport Polo, the Club supports a vibrant polo training program continually introducing newcomers to the sport.  It is home to the Brown University Polo Team and the 2017 National Champion Roger Williams University polo teams, and the Newport Interscholastic Girls and Open teams. The Club is a founding member of the United States Polo Association