Under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, four pro-am polo teams will compete in the 7th Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge. The event was inaugurated yesterday and will run until 24th February at Ali Albwardy’s luxurious Desert Palm Resort and Polo Club in Dubai.
Leading names from the world of polo will head to Dubai for this competition. Some patrons, such as Dubai resident Farez Al Yabhouney, Saudi national Amr Zedan, who regularly leads the Gulf Co-Operation team to victory in the UK, leading Swiss player Adriano Agosti and Guards Polo Club’s own patrons Kassem Shafi (Shalimar) and Gary Shepherd (The First Group) are no strangers to this competition. Joining them all this year is a patron who is making his debut at this event, Saad Audeh. Unfortunately regular International Day patron, Saeed Bin Drai, has had to pull out this year due to injury – he was due to play for the Cartier team – but his place has been taken by his younger brother Mohammed Bin Drai.
Of course, the patrons will be playing alongside an equally impressive list of professionals, including a member of the Argentine national team. Although the tournament’s host, Ali Albwardy will not be playing on Finals Day, his family will be represented through his talented son Tariq Albwardy. Tariq was a member of the winning team in 2011 and will be keen to win the impressive trophy for his father once again.
Every match throughout the week will be played at Albwardy’s beautiful Desert Palm Estate, home to one of Dubai’s premier boutique retreats, Desert Palm by Per AQUUM. Not only does this impressive resort some fine polo grounds, but also offers the renowned LIME Spa, the Red Bar and two award winning restaurants, Rare and Epicure.
Of course, with such talent on the field, it is no surprise that the team sponsors are equally impressive. Cartier is again sponsoring its own team in addition to holding the title sponsorship of this event. Bank Julius Baer returns to Dubai for the third time in this event. Both these leading brands are supporters of the sport across the globe and bring their own sense of style and excellence, ensuring a polo event to remember. The global newsgathering service CNN has also joined the event as team sponsor in 2012 and will be supporting the Guards-based squad.
To make sure that the players’ and ponies’ style is as elegant as their play, the organisers have reappointed La Martina, the leading Argentine polo clothing and kit company, to be the Official Team Kit Supplier, while the Porsche Centre Dubai, in its role as Official Car Supplier, will ensure that both VIPs and players arrive on time. Pommery makes a welcome addition to the team in 2012. This leading Champagne house has created the Pommery Champagne Reception after all the polo – the perfect way to conclude a magnificent week’s polo.
CARTIER INTERNATIONAL DUBAI POLO CHALLENGE TEAMS 2012
Team Cartier : Adriano Agosti (CH) 0; Mohammed Bin Drai (UAE) 0; Nicolas Petracchi (ARG) 4; Juan Jose Brane (ARG) 7.
Team Julius Baer: Amr Zedan (KSA) 0; Saad Audeh (UAE) 0; Pancho Marin Moreno (ARG) 6; Rodolfo Ducos (ARG) 5.
Team CNN: Gary Shepherd (UK) -1; Kassem Shafi (PK) 0; Vieri Antinori (ARG) 6; Hissam Ali Hyder (PK) 6.
Team Desert Palm: Tariq Albwardy (UAE) 1; Faris Al Yabhouni (UAE) 0; Martin Valent (ARG) 5; Alfredo Capella (ARG) 6
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