Stay Gold, Pony Boy

Polo’s 9 Hottest Hunks, From Facundo Pieres to Nacho Figueras (Photos)

So what if it’s not in the Olympics anymore. A look at the men whom London’s missing. By Meredith Kaufman.

Some things you may not know about polo: it dates back to Persia in the 5th century B.C., it is played professionally in 16 countries, and many of the sport’s top players hail from Argentina. And it is filled with hunks. Lots of hunks.

While many credit soccer as the official sport of genetically blessed athletes (need we mention Ronaldo or Beckham?), we’ve got our eyes tuned to the bounty of attractive—and extremely talented—polo players. Sadly it is no longer an Olympic sport; instead, The Daily Beast has composed a gallery of some of the hunkiest top polo players. Bonus: they’re animal lovers, too.

Patrick McMullan

Martin Pepa

This Hamptons-based Polo player, originally from Argentina, was on the runner-up team in last year’s Mercedes Cup and has been playing polo since he was 5.  He’s played everywhere from France to Uruguay to Brazil and also admits he is an avid fan of fashion, citing Cary Grant and Porfirio Rubirosa as his icons. “It is amazing for [people] to see what we can do with a horse,” Pepa recently told Hamptons magazine, “Or, better yet, what the horse can do with us.” A lucky horse, indeed.

Neilson Barnard

Ignacio Nacho Figueras

Who knew the face of Polo Ralph Lauren cologne was actually a polo player? A pro since age 17, the Argentine was approached at a Hamptons dinner party in 2005 to consider modeling as well. In 2009, he was ranked one of the top 100 polo players in the world and is considered by many to be the “David Beckham of polo.” Today he is a father of three, has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and continues to model and compete. Figueras claims he models to raise awareness for the sport, but we’re not so sure we’re buying it. 

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Nicolas Roldan

He is part German, part Argentine, American by birth, bilingual, and a member of the Polo Hall of Fame. And this is all completely aside from his great looks. Although he learned to ride a horse at the age of 3, Roldan says his first love was ice hockey. When he substituted for an injured player in the ’98 U.S. Open, he led his team to victory as the youngest player to ever win the U.S. championship— at age 15. Roldan is now 27, but he still recounts his teenage memories to Hamptons magazine: “I couldn’t even drive. But [winning] was an amazing experience, one that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

LatinContent / Getty Images

Facundo Pieres

This 26-year-old Argentine was born to play polo: his father, Gonzalo Pieres, is a legend of the game, and his brother is also a pro player. He has played in Europe, South America, and the United States and has won multiple championships, including the U.S. Open. Not only is he ranked as the No. 1 polo player in the world, but he is said to be an expert ping-pong player as well.

Joan Wakeham / polophoto.co.uk

Cristian Laprida Jr.

He cites his relationship status as “It’s complicated” and goes by the nickname “Magoo.” Be that as it may, Laprida, 26, has won two polo championships and keeps horses in Palm Beach, Fla. Critics say Laprida is a player to keep your eye on as part of a new generation of elite players (and also because of his good looks).

Jean-Marc Lubrano, Gamma / Getty Images

Adolfo Cambiaso

By the time he was 17, Cambiaso had reached the game’s elite 10-goal handicap. Now he’s ranked No. 2 in the world, and holds 31 championship titles. Growing up in Argentina, he was encouraged by his mother to play and was noted for his skill from a young age. Cambiaso, now 37, is married to South American supermodel Maria Vazquez and is a father of two.

Joan Wakeham / polophoto.co.uk

Sam Hopkinson

This New Zealander looks suspiciously like James Franco on a horse. He divides his time between his native England and Australia playing professional polo. Now age 30, he is the proud owner of two teams of horses—31 in total. Off the field, Hopkinson is an avid fan of All Blacks rugby.

Newscom

Rob Archibald

Archibald has been playing pro polo since 2002 and competes in England, Australia, and Argentina. The 28-year-old is an Australian native who says he loves the beach and his family’s property at Scone. Both his father and uncles played the sport, and he is currently known as one of the finest players Down Under.