Jejo Taranco got off to a flying start this year, the high point of which was qualifying for the Silver Cup final in Dubai with his team Desert Palm. The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series came to an end and the Uruguayan travelled to Argentina to prepare for what will be his first major commitment of the year in the country: representing Uruguay in the prestigious Nations Cup against Argentina. But that is just the beginning for Jejo in Argentina this 2017, since he is set to play the Qualification tournament for the Hurlingham and Palermo Opens with La Dolfina II in October.
"I started playing in the Stirling family farm in Young, Uruguay,” recalls Jejo. "I stick and balled and played practices in Río Negro Polo Club, which is where we all started really. I began working on the new horses with David Stirling Snr and Pelon; that lasted five years. One day Pelon called me to go to England with him. I was studying to be a Vet in Montevideo at the time. I was 22 years old and half way through my degree, but I always wanted to be involved with polo. I decided to take a chance and travel for a year. I went and helped Pelon with the grooms in England. That year I met Juan Ruiz Guiñazú, Tito’s father, who was playing with Pelon; he offered to take me over for the Argentine season to work a set of new horses. So I went over to Manzanares and that is how I started in Argentina. I started riding more horses and going to more tournaments. Then one day we went to La Dolfina, Cambiaso invited Pelon to play in the team, he accepted and moved to Cañuelas, and I went with him.”
When did you begin to realise that polo could be your profession?
After that trip to England I went to play 8-10 goal polo in Virginia. I was 3-goals and that was when I started to like it more and take polo more seriously. It was 2006 and I had decided to abandon my studies. I began working as a manager, working with the horses, and playing some medium goal, too. I became a professional working in polo, not as a player, but opportunities arose and things happened.
How are you feeling about the Qualification tournament at the end of the year?
I felt it more last year when I was subbing for Nacho Novillo in La Aguada. I didn’t play, but I started to get offers. I began to believe that I could play one day. This season I have the opportunity of being part of the Triple Crown as a professional player, trying to qualify and getting organised. We will see how I can make the most of it. I have always made the most of every opportunity, but this is top level polo.
How was La Dolfina II formed?
Guillermo Terrera and Diego Cavanagh invited me to form part of the team in December, and it was a complete surprise. I thought I needed another year to prepare. My organisation needs work and I need more horses; at the moment I rely a lot on Pelon and Cambiaso to help me. When I got the invite I spoke to Pelon and Cambiaso; they told me to go for it and assured me that they would help me out as much as possible, like they do Diego. They have been very encouraging. As a team we are hoping to go out there and have fun. We obviously want to win, and we feel great responsibility because we are La Dolfina II. Cambiaso also feels pressure, because it is his name, and he wants us to qualify for the Open. We need to take everything even more seriously than before.
Have you worked out positions?
Nachi Du Plessis will be at Back, which is his natural position. I enjoy the idea of playing at Back, especially the first year, because it is meant to be a bit easier. But we are going to start with Nachi at Back, Diego at 1, Terrera at 2, and I will play at 3. I think we are going to be based in Cañuelas, but at we will be in Pilar at the beginning, because we don’t want Nachi travelling to Cañuelas everyday.