Gonzalo Pieres’ diary part 2

Gonzalo Pieres Jr is writing a diary for hurlinghampolo.com as he participates in the Argentine polo season. Here is Gonzalo’s second entry…

2010 Argentine Polo season…

It’s good to be back in Argentina after being in Europe for the summer. It’s always nice to play here as our team (Ellerstina) is made up of four very good friends and there is no limit to the handicap so the level is very high. 

We try to enjoy being back in our home country as much as we can as in January, we will go to the States for their season. I’ll be playing for the same team as I did last year (Audi) and I’ll be playing with my other brother, Nicholas. 

Triple Crown of Polo… 

It was very nice to get off to a winning start (with the Tortugas Open). Our performance this year was our best ever at this tournament. Right from the beginning, we played really well and the team was fantastic. 

As this is our last year together (next year, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martín Nero will go to La Dolfina), everyone is making an effort to finish the year on a high. Next year we will go our separate ways and it will be a chance for my younger brother, Nicholas, to join myself and Facundo. But you know, the atmosphere in the team is really positive and we just want to keep playing the way we have been. 

I think we’ve carried some of that momentum into our first two matches in the Hurlingham Open. The overall idea would be to keep on improving – right now I think we are at about 80% and hopefully we’ll reach Palermo at 100% – but I think we’re progressing well. 

Our goal for the rest of the Hurlingham Open is to keep concentrating and playing as a team. With Ellerstina, when we play as a team and forget about being individuals, we achieve significantly more than if we all just focus on ourselves – I think we bring our level down a lot by doing that. 

This is important because the quality of competition here is high – for us the focus will be Chapa Uno Hope Funds in our next match. But overall, I think La Aguada are playing really well and they have a chance to win this tournament. 

In Palermo, La Dolfina will obviously be one of the favourites and the difficulty for us is that we will face really tough competition early on. We play La Aguada in the brackets so we will have to beat them first before we even think about reaching the Final. I think we can do it, but it won’t be easy. 

Current training regime… 

At the moment we are training with a personal trainer four times a week. On our horses, we practice every second day and we ride every single day. 

We decided which ponies we would play with before the season began and we are now starting to use the ones that we will take to the Argentine Open. For Hurlingham, I’m playing with eight ponies; half of them were used in the Tortugas Open and the other half are ones which I’m getting ready for Palermo. 

By the time of the Hurlingham Final, I aim to have played with all of them so that they all get a bit of match practice. I know which are my best horses and I like to save them so that they will be 100% fit for the Open. 

Plans after the Hurlingham Open… 

The Ellerstina Gold Cup (which we host) starts next week, right before the Hurlingham Final. Our team will change again for this – Nicholas will join me instead of Facundo and then two other friends of ours (James Packer and Santiago Irastorza) will join us. 

There is only one week between the Hurlingham Open and Palermo so there isn’t much opportunity for a rest. I’ll spend that week getting everything in order – the ponies, the team and having a rest will have to wait until after the Argentine Open. 

Juggling fatherhood and tournaments… 

This year, I am even more focused as I want to do well for my daughter, Violetta. Initially, I thought that it was going to be really hard being a father for the first time and playing tournaments but it has actually helped me. Having Violetta makes every day happier and better. It makes me want to work harder for her so that she is proud of me. 

She’s only six weeks old so it might take some time for her to know what’s going on, but she already comes to all of my polo games! 

Renowned Polo player, Gonzalo Pieres Jr, is a 10-goal handicapper and a Rolex Testimonee