Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge
Saturdays in Dubai can be quite fabulous and Saturday November 5th was even more of a delight. My boss and friend Mohammed Al Habtoor invited me to come watch his Habtoor Polo team play in the final of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge. This was to be the 12th edition of the prestigious 8-goal tournament here in Dubai.
Making my way out to Desert Palm Polo Club I was excited to see the setup, knowing that Cartier polo events are always quite special and very well executed. The entrance to the polo club was clad in a red carpet, an army of bell boys and more photo op backdrops than one could wish for, including a large plant archway and of course the Cartier wall. Waiting for my turn to take a picture I felt like i was flipping through the latest issue of Vogue, women dressed impeccably and with the latest fashions, some of them made it on to the Emirates Woman Best Dressed list. At registration the hostesses gave out fedoras, adding a little polo detail to any outfit and a definite aid in the hot November sun on the Arabian Peninsula.
We enjoyed a three course meal of Salmon sashimi paired with a scone and chive cream-cheese for the starters, a grilled beef tenderloin fillet with seasonal roasted vegetables and a light and fluffy tiramisu mousse for dessert. But most importantly the bubbly champagne was flowing and we were cheering for Habtoor Polo team.
The polo matches were initiated by the UAE marching band and an introduction of players and teams.The first match, the subsidiary final saw team Cartier vs Desert Palm Polo team playing for the Desert Palm Trophy.
Desert Palm: HRH Prince Jefri (0); Saoud Khoory (1); Rashid Albwardy (2); Martin Valent (5). Cartier: Federico von Potobsky (6); Peter Reid (-1); Haider Bangash (-1); Mario Gomez (4).
The second and main match of the day, was the final of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge where teams Zedan and Habtoor Polo battled through 4 exciting chukkers. At half time it could have gone either way, but team Zedan took the upper hand in the second half and finished off the tournament with a 9-6 win over our team.
Zedan Polo Team: Amr Zedan (0); Rashid Bin Drai (0); Nico Petracchi (2); Raul Laplacette (6). Habtoor Polo: Stuart Wrigley (0); Mohammed Al Habtoor (0); Santiago Gomez Romero (3); Tomas Iriarte (5).
Even though our team Habtoor Polo didn’t take home the trophy, we did receive two honourable prizes – Santiago Gomez Romero received the La Martina Most Valuable Player award and Mohammed Al Habtoor’s mare Sasha was the Best Playing Pony of the day.
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 lead the prize giving ceremony, with the help of supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, Jerome Metzger, Retail Director Cartier Middle East and India and Ali Albwardy, owner of the Desert Palm Polo Club.