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Luxury and sport combine in Sotogrande

Luis Alfonso de Borbón.
Luis Alfonso de Borbón. / JOSELE-LANZA
  • Santa María Polo Club’s summer activities will climax this weekend with the final of the Gold Cup which will be presented by King Juan Carlos I

The day is a time to spend on the beach, unwind, spend time by the pool or enjoy family time. Perhaps even a bit of all four. But later, in the evening, all of Sotogrande’s activity focuses on one place - a luxury enclave where all those who choose the area for their summer vacation flock.

Santa María Polo Club, where a number of international tournaments are currently in full swing, is a location that unites not only the finest names of the sport, but also many famous faces and businessfolk with enormous fortunes.

Polo is not a sport compatible with any wallet, especially if you are the owner of a team and you need to maintain a stable of at least 30 horses to be able to compete.

This is the case with Víctor Vargas, father-in-law of Luis Alfonso de Borbón (King Felipe VI’s second cousin and claimant to the French crown) and owner of Lechuza Caracas. The Venezuelan businessman and his son-in-law come to Sotogrande at this time every year for the summer season and to compete in various competitions.

His team, in which Vargas himself plays alongside some of the best players on the world ranking, Juan Martín Nero and David Stirling Jr, won the high-handicap Maserati Silver Cup.

Model Nieves Álvarez presented the trophy to Lechuza Caracas and the final’s man of the match prize went to Luis Alfonso de Borbón himself.

Lechuzas Caracas won the Copa de Plata earlier this month.

Lechuzas Caracas won the Copa de Plata earlier this month. / J-L

Álvarez, who considers it “a privilege” to support the event every year, believes that “it is a great place to meet a lot of people”.

Lechuza now are hoping to win the Gold Cup, this year in its 46th season and considered a Grand Slam, a ranking only shared with two other international tournaments:the British and US opens.

However, Vargas isn’t the only wealthy backer with eyes on the prize this weekend. Other teams can count on the likes of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, Filipino Íñigo Zobel (a regular on the Forbes rich list) or American businessman Michael Bickford as their owners. The finals of the Gold Cup will be played this weekend.

Víctor Vargas and Nieves Álvarez.

Víctor Vargas and Nieves Álvarez. / J-L

As was the case last year, King Emeritus Juan Carlos I will be giving out the prizes. Members of the Royal Family are frequently in attendance and this year was no different;the Infanta Elena was present in June to witness the fourth memorial trophy for Doña María de la Mercedes, her grandmother.

Considered among the top four polo fields in the world, Santa María Club is also a leisure complex, complete with a gastronomy area, a summer terrace, an outdoor shopping centre with a wide range of shops selling goods from exclusive brands, handicrafts and the latest in one-off women’s fashion such as top hats.