Windsor Charity Polo Cup runneth over with good will

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Cloudy skies and the occasional drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd that turned out for the sixth biennial Windsor Charity Polo Cup, once again co-chaired by Hilary M. Weston and Salvatore Ferragamo, and presented by PNC Bank.

This year’s beneficiaries of the Windsor Charitable Foundation’s signature fundraiser were the Ocean Research Conservation Association and the Environmental Learning Center.

It was a day of first-class activities, whether ticketholders purchased grandstand tickets, participated in the tailgate competition, or went all out with top-tier luncheon tickets.

Prior to the match, guests strolled among a selection of gorgeous cars presented by the Space Coast Region of Porsche Club of America. At the Specialty Retail Village, where a percentage of sales were donated to the charities, many took advantage of the selection of goodies, including lovely shawls to ward off the chill.

New this year was a display of the actual front portion of a luxury NetJets aircraft. The company, which sells fractional ownership shares, enticed folks to get a glimpse of the jet’s spacious interior.

At the tented pavilion, guests purchased raffle tickets for the large assortment of prizes available, before dining on luscious tenderloin with a Maine lobster hollandaise sauce, created by Executive Chef Justin Schreiber and impeccably served by Windsor’s efficient staff.

As they enjoyed their meal, Jane Smalley, Windsor Properties marketing director, introduced the luncheon emcee John Walsh, a Vero Beach polo player and television host of “America’s Most Wanted,” “The Hunt” and “In Pursuit with John Walsh.”

“He is one of the founders of the Windsor Charity Polo Cup and has remained thoroughly involved since its inception in 2012,” said Smalley.

Walsh thanked the sponsors and praised Hilary Weston for her hard work and dedicated support of the event.

“As I said, this event is bittersweet because it’s the first Windsor Charity Polo Cup to be held since the passing of Hilary’s dear husband and Windsor’s co-founder Galen,” said Walsh.

He noted that the name of the Windsor Charity Polo Cup will now be called the W. Galen Weston Memorial Trophy, to honor the memory of the late business tycoon and philanthropist, who co-founded Windsor 33 years ago with wife Hilary. An avid polo player who played with the likes of Prince Charles, Weston passed his love of the sport down to his son Galen and grandson Grayden, who continue to carry on the family tradition.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be co-chair with Hilary of this very special occasion,” said Ferragamo, president of Il Borro Winery and grandson of the renowned Italian designer, remembering Galen Weston as “an incredible polo player and fantastic person that I hold dear in my heart.”

The luncheon’s guest speaker was Julian Hipwood, former captain of the English National team, who attained the highest handicap of an English player since the 1930s – a feat still not equaled – and later became a successful coach. Hipwood shared stories and fond remembrances of his friendship with Galen Weston, including winning the Gold Cup with him in 1985 as players on the Maple Leafs team.

Over on the other side of the polo field, tailgaters went all out to try and sway the judges with their eco-conscious displays. The First Place winners were a delightful trio of young ladies – Juju Simoes, Emma Hardie and Verena Gonzalez – who impressed not only with their Amazon-themed display, but their knowledge of the rainforest which, they said, is still the largest in the world despite devastating deforestation.

Match director Max Secunda pulled together another impressive roster of world-class players for the match. At the end of the day, Ferragamo led his team to a close victory with teammates Fefu Pansillo, Lucitas Criado and Pedro Guttierez. On Dr. Sebastian Koga’s team, Hope Arellano, recognized as one of the best female polo players in the world, was named Most Valuable Player. That team’s other players were Mike Azarro and Freddie Mannix.

For more information, visit windsorcharitypolocup.com.

Photos by Stephanie Labaff

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