Raúl Gringo Colombres started the year in an unexpected way; due to Ruki Bailleu’s injury, he received the call from La Indiana to replace the Australian player. Not only did he adapt quickly to the team and performed well, but he was able to claim the the Joe Barry Memorial Cup, the second 20-goal tournament played at International Polo Club in Palm Beach, with the team.
On how he got to play with La Indiana: "I was about to play the medium goal, not high goal. But on December 29th while I was at the beach, I got a call from Ruki (Baillieu); he had an accident and broke his shoulder during a team practice, so he asked me to come right away, because the tournament was due to start in a few days. So I came with my horses, which were ready because I was to start in mid-January, and we started practicing. Luckily, I adapted to Ruki’s horses and got to play in the front."
On the triumph in the Joe Barry Cup: "It was unbelievable. We had won only one zone match but we performed well. In the quarter finals we got a bit better and in the semis we were able to defeat Tonkawa, one of the best teams. We went from being the least powerful team to the most proficient team, and ended up playing the final, a weird match. We started off winning and then we were losing the other half of the game, luckily we were able to pull it off and win."
On the level of play in the 20-goal: "All the teams are good; obviously there are some teams that are better than the others, due to the 10-goalers, but the difference is not broad: if you don’t pay attention, they’ll run over you. Fortunately, we played three really good chukkas in the final; the other three we were being pressured with time, and that put us on edge. Finally we won, and accomplished our goal."
On the 2016 season: "Last year we lost the final; I played with Villa del Lago. We lost right on the last bell, against Palm Beach Illustrated. Luckily, this year I made it."
On his polo career: "I believe one thing leads to another. I had a couple of tough years, I couldn't get jobs, maybe my handicap was suddenly raised while I was getting a good gig, or something. I had the possibility to start playing with a new patron quite steadily. That enabled me to begin to get organized, buy some horses, and it was then when I realized I had an opportunity and that I had to make the best of it. Every cent I had was invested in new horses in Argentina, and over here, in playing horses. Last year was very important for me as Hilario (Ulloa) gave me the chance to play alongside him in Villa del Lago; I’m very grateful that he trusted me."
On his base in Argentina: "I'm based in San Antonio de Areco. We have an estate there with my father, where we breed new horses. Last year I played at La Dolfina with Adolfito and Diego Cavanagh, who invited me to play there; they helped me out with the horses and I did the same with whatever they needed. That’s more or less my home base: my horses in San Antonio de Areco, and Cañuelas, where I play and want to keep on doing so. Then I’m also here, so I do the double season. Sometimes I play the 20-goal in Greenwich, and I’m based an hour away. I’m based both in Palm Beach and New York. I’m starting to invest more here, to organise myself, get horses, and improve. This year I really want to go to England to raise my handicap, so maybe I’ll go there for a month in May. Those are my plans, but for now, I’ll keep up the hard work."