Thomas Lyte are the makers of the Gauntlet of Polo Trophy, for a sport synonymous with the twin notions of tradition and style – both of which are embodied, with more than a splash of modernity, in one of American sport’s most revered trophies. The trophy was commissioned by the United States Polo Association, one of the sport’s most prestigious organisations, in time for the 2019 season and the country’s three major polo competitions.
The C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup®, and the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® are played annually, and only when a team completes a clean sweep of the fabled triumvirate can they claim the Gauntlet of Polo Trophy.
Thomas Lyte, a Royal Warrant holder as Goldsmiths and Silversmiths to Her Majesty the Queen, has worked with some of the world’s most widely recognised and high profile sporting bodies, designing and making trophies such as the Emirates FA Cup and the Guinness Six Nations trophies. The Gauntlet of Polo trophy, which is the richest prize in US Polo, sits proudly alongside them as a unique and exquisite piece of modern silverware.
“The opportunity to work with the United States Polo Association is a huge honour for Thomas Lyte,” said Kevin Baker, our CEO and founder. “In addition, it was hugely exciting for our team of silversmiths and goldsmiths to work on such a bold and modern interpretation of a trophy. These values are at the heart of everything we do here.”
Standing at an imposing 91cm, the Gauntlet of Polo Trophy was hand-crafted at our London workshop, with eight of Thomas Lyte’s Master Craftsmen involved in a process that took over 300 hours to complete. Utilising techniques which are thousands of years old, while also harnessing the very latest in cutting-edge technology, the trophy is made from 6.1kg of sterling silver and brings the sport to life by reflecting the enormity of the task facing any team who has the ambition to win it.
The black stone plinth on which the magnificent silver column sits, features the name of the trophy in sterling silver lettering. The plinth itself is topped with a further circle of silver which has been given a bright hammered finish to imitate the surface of a polo field. There are three silver horses rearing up to represent the three tournaments that must be won in order to finish the series triumphant. The single torch-shaped column that forms the centrepiece of the trophy is crafted from a hand-folded sterling silver sheet and is removable, meaning it can be lifted in celebration by whichever team comes through one of world sport’s most brutal challenges.
Our specialist polishers, again using a combination of modern and age-old techniques, provided the Gauntlet of Polo with its fitting finish before the trophy was passed to our quality control team who ensured that this extraordinary piece of silverware met our exacting standards before its journey across the Atlantic.
Originally founded as the Polo Association in 1890 – the governing body of the sport in the US presides over a sport that continues to maintain its appeal and allure well over a century later. The highlight of the US polo season are the three major tournaments that may, or may not, provide the eventual victor of the Gauntlet of Polo trophy.
The US Open Polo Championship was first contested in 1904, making it the oldest competition of the three. The USPA Gold Cup was introduced in 1974, while the opening edition of the C.V. Whitney Cup took place in 1979. All three are now firmly established as the biggest polo events in the US sporting calendar, with the Gauntlet of Polo Trophy the prize on offer for whichever team can pull off the unlikely feat of winning all three.
Astonishingly, in 2019, the first year the new trophy was contested for, one team immediately managed to complete the hat-trick with Team Pilot becoming the first to lift the trophy just months after its completion. They also enjoyed a $500,000 bonus, on top of their existing tournament winnings.
The Gauntlet of Polo Trophy is just one illustration of Thomas Lyte’s links with the equestrian industry. In addition to the most sought-after prize in US Polo, we are also the designers and makers of both the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup and the Kauto Star Trophy.