The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, also known as the Dubai Open, is an 18 Goal Handicap competition and is now entering its eighth year under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The DPGC Series has wrapped up its latest season with resounding success, each year reaching new heights. Dubai is now thrilled to have this tournament known as the highest handicap in the UAE.
The Dubai Open was split into two tournaments and began with the much anticipated McLaren Cup, running from Saturday January 21st to Friday February 3rd 2017. The second tournament, the Julius Baer Gold Cup, took place on Friday, February 18th to Friday March 10th. The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series was a glamorous event and the fourth-largest tournament of its kind after Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom. First founded by Mohammed Al Habtoor in 2009, the tournament is the premier regional polo competition of the year attracting VIPs, society figures, celebrities and senior corporate executives from across the GCC. It has grown in tandem with the city of Dubai and since 2012 is the only tournament in the UAE to be recognized and certified by the World Polo Tour (WPT). The Gold Cup Series is played under the banner of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), with the tournament being played according to HPA rules and under strict international supervision.
Mohammed Al Habtoor, Founder of the tournament and patron of the Habtoor Polo team said, “This year there were seven teams playing in the McLaren Cup and ten teams for the Julius Baer Gold Cup, this serves as further evidence that the tournaments continue to grow. The Dubai Open has helped put the UAE on the world polo circuit. Each year the competition gets better and better attracting some of the best polo players from around the world.” The participating teams hosted some of the top-ranking World Polo Tour players, including Pablo Mac Donough, the 10-goal superstar and three-time ‘Triple Crown Champion with La Dolfina;’ Nicolas Pieres (raised to 10 goals after his superb performance in the Argentine Open); Lucas Montverde (9-goal handicap); Alfredo Cappella Barabucci (9-goal handicap) Guillermo Terrera (8-goal handicap), and Ezquiel Martinez Ferrario (8-goal handicap) and many others, who have come directly from the Argentine Open.
This year, seven polo teams participated in the McLaren Cup 2017 18-goal handicap and they were the following:
Mahra Polo – Patron: Rashid Al Habtoor; Bin Drai Polo Team – Patron: Saeed Bin Drai; Habtoor Polo Team – Patron: Mohammed Al Habtoor; UAE Polo Team – Patron: Her Highness Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Zedan Polo Team – Patron: Amr Zedan; Habtoor Wolves Polo Team – Patron: Habtoor Al Habtoor and Desert Palm Polo Team – Tariq Albwardy
UAE Polo Team wins the McLaren Cup
In support of the sporting spirit of the nation, Al Habtoor Motors – the official retailer of McLaren in the UAE – is proud to announce the Title Sponsorship for the Silver Cup of the prestigious Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series. On the 4th of February this year the UAE Polo team was announced as the new champion of the McLaren Cup. The McLaren Cup is the first trophy of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series and was held at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort. The UAE Polo were able to claim the third trophy in a row. HH Sheika Maitha team won the Gold Cup in 2016, the Presidents Cup this year at Ghantoot and now the McLaren Cup. The team, made up by Ali Al Merri, Jack Hyde, Matías Benoit and Guillermo Terrera, fought hard till the very end against Desert Palm to achieve this victory. In addition to the result, the top scorers of the match serve to prove how even the game was, with Matías Benoit and Guillermo Terrera from UAE and Martín Valent and Santiago Laborde in Desert Palm scoring 3 goals each, what a victory!
Terrera was the MVP of the match and Jessica, owned by Ghantoot Polo and played by Terrera in the 4th chukker, was the best playing pony. The top scorer of the McLaren Cup was Alejo Taranco (Desert Palm) with 23 goals and Ali Al Merri (UAE) the patrons top scorer with 4 goals. The match brought families and friends together in a celebratory fashion with polo players playing professionally and with great talent.
Al Badia, the prestigious Arabic venture, supported the event and brought us the latest news and views on the equestrian world. They serve as a tribute to the age old passion for the thoroughbred, an integral part of the rich Arabian culture. Government Support for the event is received by the Dubai Sports Council, which is the official government body responsible for the development of the sport sector in the Emirate of Dubai. Under the Chairmanship of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and its 14 Board Members; the Council supervises the work of nine local clubs in Dubai, six of which practice a variety of individual and or team sports, such as football, handball and archery; in addition to the chess club and a club devoted for those with special needs.
Since its inception in 2006, with the vision of creating a unique sporting community, the Council organizes various annual major Sports Championships and Conferences, in cooperation with multiple International/National sports bodies and Dubai Government Entities, such as the Dubai International Sports Conference, Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup and the FINA Diving World Series; in an attempt to enhance the culture, knowledge and expertise of professionalism in all aspects of the field; from the overall preparation and/or execution of the event.
Dubai became the first Arab and Middle East city to host the Sport Accord International Convention in 2010, and stages the annual Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, the most prestigious Award of the Middle East Region. Though the Council works on various major international sports events, it does not overlook the importance of spreading the awareness of a healthier, more active lifestyle locally; and in order to achieve such objectives, physical activity programs and initiatives, such as the Dubai Pulse Physical Activity program, the Furjan District Championships and the Dubai Beach Soccer League, have all been designed to target the various communities within the Emirate.
The Polo Masters Cup
The Polo Masters Cup is a prestigious 14-goal handicap tournament played under the umbrella of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup series. The tournament was inaugurated in 2016 adding to the Medium and High Goal season in the UAE, giving players and patrons more opportunities to further their skills in competition, elevating the level of polo in the region.
After 5 talented and challenging teams competed against one another, over a week long period, the winner was finally announced. The Polo Masters Club, taking its final place on the 14th of February 2017, saw The Mahra Polo Team as the winners for the second year in a row.
They defeated Habtoor Polo in the final match at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club. The winning team was made up of patron Rashid Al Habtoor, Daniel Gariador, Juan Ruíz Guiñazú and Jerónimo del Carril who played an excellent game. They won by 8 goals to 4, a successful title defense, while Bin Drai achieved the third position in the tournament after defeating Wolves by 9-6.
Mahra is a star player and played a great game from the very beginning, with a team strategy that worked almost to perfection to defeat a very tough Habtoor Polo team. In the third chukker, with a 6-goal gap, Mahra headed towards the title despite Habtoor in the last chukker. Jerónimo del Carril was announced as the most valuable player (MVP) of the final and Quini, owned by Mahra and played by Juan Ruíz Guiñazú in the fourth chukker, the Best Playing Pony. Del Carril and Ruíz Guiñazú were the top scorers of the match with 4 goals each, true goal scoring stars! On the final day for the Polo Masters Cup, Bin Drai Polo defeated Wolves Polo by 9 goals to 6 to achieve the third position in the tournament. Raúl Laplacette, with 6 goals, was announced as the top scorer of the game, well done to all!
Habtoor Polo wins the Dubai Cup 2017
From Sunday 2nd April till Friday 7th the Dubai Cup, the final tournament of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2017, was held at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort. Four teams, from 6 to 8 goals handicap, took part in this tournament. The final teams of the Dubai Cup 2017 were Habtoor Polo, Mahra Polo, Dr. A-Bangash and Wolves Polo.
It was the 7th of April which saw the last tournament of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series being played and it was Habtoor Polo who proudly took the title. They played a strong game with a successful defeat of Mahra by 8.5 goals to 8 in a very close and very thrilling final game. Patron Mohammed Al Habtoor´s team played well against a very tough opponent and achieved the last trophy of an amazing season of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series.
Both teams fought till the last seconds of the match for the victory but Habtoor Polo, with great teamwork and endless perseverance, achieved and deserved the final victory. Habtoor Al Habtoor (Habtoor Polo) was the MVP of the final and Bochinche, owned by Nicolás Pieres and played today by Santiago Gómez Romero in the first and fourth chukker, was the Best Playing Pony. In the first match of the day, Dr. A-Bangash achieved the Subsidiary Cup after defeating Wolves by 10 goals to 5.
As the final matches of the Dubai Cup, held for teams from 6 to 8 goals handicap, come to a close the victories are announced with great delight. The UAE Polo winning the McLaren Cup, Mahra lifting the Masters Cup, Zedan Polo as the Gold Cup champions, Bin Drai achieving the Challenge Cup and finally Habtoor Polo winning the Dubai Cup, all teams should be commended on their efforts and skills!
Maserati Polo Tour 2017 in collaboration with La Martina
The Maserati Polo Trophy Cup was another thrilling tournament to witness. The second leg of the Maserati 2017 global Polo Tour was held at the Desert Palm Polo Club from 11 – 17 March. The match was concluded with Team Abu Dhabi winning the Maserati Dubai Polo Trophy by an outstanding score of 7 to 4 over Team AES International. Six polo teams, featuring talented professional and amateur players from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Argentina produced competitive yet entertaining polo.
Ali Saeed Juma Albwardy, UAE President of the Polo Association and Founder of Desert Palm Polo Club, was among the celebrities, VIPs and special guests that enjoyed this special finale. Umberto Cini, Managing Director of Maserati Middle East, Africa and Asia commented: “Congratulations to the players of Team Abu Dhabi. I would like to personally thank Ali Albwardy and Desert Palm, the teams and sponsors as well as all of our distinguished guests for being part of this exhilarating ‘horsepower’ filled day.”
Team Abu Dhabi with Captain Faris Al Yabhouni (UAE, Handicap 0), Kian Hall (UK, Handicap 2), Yousef Bin Desmal (UAE, Handicap 0) and Alfredo Capella (Argentina, Handicap 8) won the tournament in a thrilling finale against Team AES International with the end result of 7 to 4. Team Ghantoot won the Subsidiary Trophy. In addition to the ‘natural’ horsepower coming off the svelte thoroughbreds on the field, guests were also lucky enough to witness some of the very famous Maserati horsepower. The entire model range was elegantly on display, including the latest addition to the Maserati family, the Levante SUV, as well as the flagship Quattroporte, the executive sedan Ghibli and the sporty GranTurismo and GranCabrio models. Petrol heads were delighted by the display.
Enrico Roselli, CEO of La Martina Europe, said: “As for every leg of the tournament, we are thrilled to take part in a one of a kind sports event that celebrates our roots and enhances every time our partnership with Maserati.” The official polo shirt, worn by the Maserati Team on the field, is a product of the partnership between La Martina and Maserati.
The Dubai leg of the Maserati Polo Tour saw the official launch of the first of the four “Maserati Polo Tour Special Edition” polo shirts created by La Martina for Maserati as a tribute to each tournament. The “Maserati Dubai Polo Trophy Special Edition Polo Shirt” is made of pure cotton and features exclusive detail of the shiny metallic Dubai map on the back. Following St. Moritz and Dubai, the third instalment of the Maserati Polo Tour 2017 will take place in the United Kingdom in June. To keep up to date with all of the thrilling action from these global events, the 2017 tour can be followed at www.maseratipolo.com.
British Polo Day celebrates the UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration
On Saturday the 18th of March the British Polo Day, presented by RJI Capital, took place. It was a day which has returned to Abu Dhabi in order to showcase and celebrate creative collaboration. British Polo Day honours the craft and heritage of polo and polo events which span the entire World. It has become an unparalleled platform for elite engagement and business in emerging and growing markets.
The crowd was glamorous, with some 200 guests and VIPs including HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, HE Philip Parham, the British Ambassador, the Earl of Tyrone and Bear Grylls whom all came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions. The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces along with HRH The Prince of Wales in October 2016. HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan gave a stirring speech stating the aims of increasing the visibility of the UK in the UAE and vice versa in order to give greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long-standing relationship between these two powerful nations.
This unique cultural programme has been initiated to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between people, institutions and Business. The British Polo Day, in the UAE, provides a platform for the best of British and the UAE, all on display, with Harrods, Bentley, Royal Salute and Hackett supporting. Our new global partner, Chelsea Barracks, was announced who is creating an exceptional new neighborhood development incorporating 5 new garden squares in Belgravia and London. Other new partners included VistaJet and YPI Luxury Yachts, further cementing the British Polo Day community.
This much anticipated event took place, for the 7th year, at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of HH Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The glamorous black-tie evening kicked off with a bicycle polo demonstration, a sport played in the Olympics over 100 years ago, with players from the regiments of Cavalry and Guards competing in Bentley and Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi Teams respectively for The Thesiger Trophy. Next Stuart Wrigley captained the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Abu Dhabi team, sponsored by Vista Jet, who were victorious.
The highlight exhibition polo match of the evening – The British Polo Day Plate –saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles, with both sides led onto the field of play by the first two Bentley Bentaygas in the UAE opening ceremony. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.
British Polo Day and Abu Dhabi’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting the bespoke-commissioned British Silverware and Polo Day trophies. Following the prize-giving ceremony, guests sat down to a delicious three-course dinner prepared by the InterContinental Abu Dhabi followed by a live charity auction raising a total of $20,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan, the Sumba Foundation and Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, that helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.
British Polo Day will continue to innovate and pioneer unique platforms for craft and polo associated brands. The celebrations were overall a huge success as was our following event, the British Polo Day Dubai held on Friday the 24th of March at the Al Habtoor Polo Club & Resort where the British teams were seen playing against Habtoor Polo and the Gulf Team.
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