"To be able to win all these cups this year is incredible, and especially to have my dad supporting us off the field makes it even better"
Timmy Dutta stands out in the world of polo after an extraordinary season in Argentina, marked by his four triumphs: the 20-goal Metro Mediano and Sojo Cup, and the 24-goal Metro Alto and Provincia Cup.
These wins are a testament to Timmy’s dedication, highlighting a season in which he impressively won 35 out of the 38 games he played. Working closely alongside his father Tim, Piki Diaz Alberdi, and Tomas Garcia Del Rio, the team built an exceptional string of horses and shaped the team's dynamics while helping Timmy grow as a player.
This week in CLICKPOLO USA, Timmy thinks back on the most memorable games of the season. His accounts of the thrilling final of the Provincia and his experiences on the iconic Palermo Field 1 offer a glimpse into the high-stakes world of professional polo.
His aspirations for future competitions, particularly the upcoming season in Wellington, and his commitment to continuous improvement, paint a portrait of an athlete deeply devoted to the sport.
-Timmy, you've had a remarkable season in Argentina, winning four major trophies. Can you describe your overall experience and what made this season stand out for you?
"This season in Argentina was a dream come true. Last year, we started planning for this season. With the help of my father, Piki, and Tomas, we were able to build an incredible string of horses over a year and a half. I believe this was a key cornerstone of the season, as well as playing with such incredible teammates like Tomas, Piki, Facu Llosa, Bauti Arrestua, and Gonzalo Santamaria. They are all incredible teammates and dear friends. To be able to win all these cups this year is incredible, and especially to have my dad supporting us off the field makes it even better. Without my dad we wouldn’t have had the chance to win these cups. We are so blessed to have his support."
-During your time in Argentina, you played 38 games, out of which you won an impressive 35. Which game was the most memorable for you and why?
"For me, it would be 2 games. The first one would be playing on Palermo's Field 1. It was a truly special experience to play on that field. And the cherry on top was winning with my father there helping us. The second was the final of the Provincial. It was a very difficult game, and winning in overtime can go either way. But we pulled through and came out with the win."
-Of the four trophies you won - the Metro Alto, Metro Mediano, Provincia de Buenos Aires Cup, and Guillermo Sojo - which one holds the most significance for you, and what makes it special?
"I would say I have two that are equal. The Provincia, as it’s such a trophy with rich history to win. And the second would be the Sojo with Piki. Piki is like my second dad, and to win two cups with him this season was truly special. We have a lot of fun together."
-You've played alongside Tomas Garcia del Rio and Piki Diaz Alberdi. How have they influenced you, and what do they mean for your team's dynamic and overall success?
"I’ve played with Piki for 10 years now, and he’s taught me so much. Other than how to play the game and strategy, the biggest thing he has taught me over the years is what a winner's mentality is. He’s a legend, and to be able to spend time with him and learn from him is a true honor. Tomas is an incredible friend to me and my father and a great teammate. We started playing together 4 years ago and have played against each other for many years. Tomas has been guiding me on and off the field, helping me become a stronger player and especially to become a top Back in the sport."
-What are your expectations and goals for the 2024 season in Wellington, where you'll play the Gauntlet of Polo?
"This season will be the second year with the same team - Joaquin, Nino, Tomas, and myself. We made it to the semis of the Gold Cup last year. For us, the goal this year is to try to win and go to the finals. At the end of the day, we will do our very best and try to win."
-How are you preparing for the Gauntlet of Polo in Wellington? Are there specific areas of your game you're focusing on to ensure success?
"For me personally, I am working on my new horses for this season. My father and I have a passion for thoroughbreds, and we love to make them. This year, I’m pushing all the new ones that we have made over the years in the 18 goal with Piki to see who will go to the main string and help us. In the 18 goal I will also be focusing on on playing as a strong back."
-With such a successful season behind you, what are your future aspirations? Are there any specific goals or milestones you're aiming to achieve in the coming years?
"My father goal, as well as mine and the organization's, is to play the Camara next year. First, we have to try and qualify. We have been working on the horses now for 2 years, as well as with our top vet Juanpi and farrier Nico to keep them sound and healthy, which is very important to having a season like we had this year. And our incredible staff down in Argentina, Naza, Vilche, Tony, without those guys putting in long hours in the barn and taking care of the horses, we can’t dream of the future."
-Reflecting on your past seasons, how has your game has evolved, and what lessons have you learned that you'll carry into your future competitions?
"Looking into the past, I would say I evolved a lot from a #1, playing forward, to completely switching sides and going to the back and playing #4, which has taught me patience and persistence. As it’s a long game, you must have those two aspects. I felt I had become a better horseman. I’ve learned from incredible people over the years, from Piki, Tomas, my father, Memo Gracida, just to name a few. I truly believe it starts in the barn and the feeding and training. You win before you come to the field. That’s the ideology we try to have and leave no stone unturned."
Piki Diaz Alberdi
" Tim loves the stables, the horses, and the organization. I have no problem saying I taught him to play polo. After 9 years, I'm happy with the polo Timmy is playing today"
Piki Diaz Alberdi, a former champion of the Argentine Open and a revered figure in the polo community, brings a wealth of experience and an unparalleled understanding of the game to the Duttas' organization. His nine-year-long mentorship of Timmy has been a journey of shared passion and growth. From a casual meeting almost ten years ago to a prolific partnership, this alliance between Diaz Alberdi and the Dutta family has helped Timmy transform from a novice player into one of America's top prospects under his tutelage.
Alberdi's insights into Timmy's evolution as a player go beyond skills and strategies; his mentorship extends beyond the polo field. Alberdi speaks to the importance of patience, guidance, and the joy of working with young players, highlighting the multifaceted nature of his role as a mentor. Looking ahead, Alberdi shares his vision for the team's future, emphasizing the significance of continuous improvement and strategic planning in achieving success.
-Piki, tell us, how did your relationship with the Dutta family begin? What led you to get involved with them and, in particular, with Timmy's career?
"I met Tim and Timmy at Grand Champions. They had invited me to play some games. I saw Tim standing, watching Timmy play. He was little back then; it's been 9 years now. I approached him, asked if that was his son, and watched him play a bit. When Timmy came to change horses, I gave him some tips to help, and then Tim asked if I could give him a lesson, which I was happy to do. So, I went, gave a lesson, we talked a lot, and then Tim said he wanted to play the 16-goal season next year at Grand Champions with Timmy and me. Since that day, 9 years have passed, and here we are. We met somewhat by chance, and from there, we started."
-Tim told us that you've been his son's mentor for 9 years. What would you say was your impact both on his development as a player and on the structure and strategy of the organization in general?
"I do not doubt that I taught Timmy a lot of what he knows about polo. He started playing at around 13 years old, he's 22 now and has always been with me, and I've tried to teach him everything I could. He was always a very receptive kid. You tell him something, and he listens, understanding what you're teaching. It helped a lot that he came to Buenos Aires every year, spending about three months with me. My sons Lucas and Nico also helped because they always treated him like another brother, and played a lot with him. In the end, you learn polo by dedicating yourself, listening, and having fun; Timmy always did these three things. The organizational part off the field is, I think, the merit of Timmy's parents, Tim and Susie, who always dedicated 100% to him. Tim loves the stables, the horses, and the organization. I have no problem saying I taught him to play polo. After 9 years, I'm happy with the polo Timmy is playing today."
-Having closely seen Timmy's evolution, how would you describe his growth as a polo player?
"Timmy played many years as a number 1, almost 6 years, and last year we decided he had to play as a back, and his growth has been impressive. The quality leap he's made in the last two years is amazing. This year in Argentina, he had a nearly flawless season and I think he still has a lot more to give. One of the good things we did was to bring him along slowly, without rushing him. Having played upfront and acquired the speed of a forward and then moving him back, gave him a lot of field vision. I am very happy with his season this year in Buenos Aires."
-What is it like being the mentor of a young player?
"I have two sons, Lucas and Nicolás. Due to their age, I played much more with Lucas. I try to play with Nico too, there's nothing nicer than playing with kids, especially with your sons. I've played quite a bit with young kids and when a kid is like Timmy, who wants to learn and listens to you, you see them evolve, willing to work every day, ride horses, and listen to you, it's very nice. You see how they grow, learn, and improve. I like doing it when I see a kid who wants to learn."
-How is the balance of this season in Argentina, with 4 titles won for the organization? Did you expect to win everything you did?
"This is the first year that Timmy has his own organization in Buenos Aires. Tim and Timmy started thinking about it last year, wanting to have their organization in Argentina, wanting to play tournaments from 14 to 24 goals, being well organized. I couldn't say we thought we would win so much but we always do things thinking we can win. Tim is a great dreamer, and we did things right, set up good teams, and luckily it worked out. We had an incredible season."
-Which of the four titles do you value the most?
"I value all the tournaments equally. It's very hard to win in Argentina, at all levels there are very good teams and very good horses. All the tournaments are very competitive and the matches are very tough. I value all of them very much."
-Looking towards the future, how do you see the trajectory and potential of the team? Are there specific goals or challenges?
"We have goals; we have to sit down with Tim, Timmy, and Tomas Garcia Del Rio to plan well for next season in Argentina. Broadly speaking, the goals are to continue improving, as an organization, which is essential, if you don't improve the horses and everything that is not the game itself, it's very difficult. From there, we just need to meet and plan the season. The idea is to improve the level of polo we're playing. We'll try to play the Municipalidad Cup, the Camara de Diputados. First, though, we have to meet up and see what we are going to do."
Tomás Garcia Del Río
"This season was truly incredible. We always hoped to be competitive and try to win, but winning all 4 tournaments was unthinkable. The most important tournament we played was perhaps the Provincia Cup, a very beautiful and difficult cup to win"
Tomas Garcia Del Rio, a 7-goal professional polo player and a significant player in the Dutta polo team's organization, brings his rich experience from playing in the Argentine Triple Crown to the forefront. His association with the Dutta family, particularly with Timmy, began three years ago, and has since developed into a dynamic partnership. This collaboration combines a shared love for horses with a commitment to excellence in polo.
Reflecting on the team's phenomenal performance in Argentina, where they clinched four tournament victories, Garcia Del Rio shared his thoughts on these achievements and the unexpected nature of their comprehensive success.
Garcia Del Rio also talked about his expectations for the upcoming Gauntlet of Polo, placing these tournaments within the global context of the sport. His insights offer a deeper understanding of the Dutta organization's aspirations and strategies, both in the United States and on the international polo scene.
-Tomas, what is your relationship with the Dutta family and with Timmy in particular?
"My relationship with the Dutta family began 3 years ago. Although I had played against Timmy for many years, it was 3 years ago that we started the idea of playing together. Everyone in the family is a horse fanatics. Tim and Susie, Timmy's parents, have a beautiful enthusiasm for horses, and we can spend all day talking about horses and polo. They enjoy their life around polo and horses, and we have a great time with them."
-How do you see Timmy's evolution, both as a player and in the work they are doing with horse breeding?
"Timmy's evolution has been really surprising. He is playing better every season, getting better organized with horses, and putting a lot of effort into improving in every aspect. He is very eager to learn and improve. I know they plan to breed in the future, but currently he is more focused on organizing with horses to play now."
-You won 4 tournaments this year in Argentina; was this something you expected? Which was the match you enjoyed the most and the most important tournament for you out of the four you won?
"This season was truly incredible. We always hoped to be competitive and try to win, but winning all 4 tournaments was unthinkable. The most important tournament we played was perhaps the Provincia Cup, a very beautiful and difficult cup to win. The toughest match was that final where we were losing by 4 goals at one point and managed to end up winning."
-You are playing the Gauntlet of Polo once again; what are your expectations? Where do you place these tournaments in world polo?
"Yes, we are playing the Gauntlet with the same team as last year with Timmy, Joaquin Avendaño, and Nino Obregon. Last year we were quite competitive, reaching a semifinal, so this year we aim to improve on what we did last year to compete against all the teams. I think the American Triple Crown, along with the Queen's Cup and Gold Cup in the UK, are the most important tournaments in the world outside of Argentina, so it is truly an honor for us to be able to play it."
-How do you see the Dutta organization and polo in the United States in general?
"I see the Dutta organization in the USA with a great future. The Dutta family commits to polo and wants to compete at the highest level, and that leads them to do their best every year to improve their organization to be increasingly competitive."