Story by Dubai Polo Gold Cup. Photos by Gonzalo Etcheverry/DPGC 2018.
The McLaren Cup, the opening trophy of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2018, 18- goals handicap competition, began today with victories by Habtoor Polo and Zedan Polo in an exciting double action day at Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club.
Habtoor Polo defeated Wolves Polo by 5 goals to 4 and Zedan Polo defeated UAE Polo by 8-7. Two close matches for an exciting opening day followed by a huge crowd at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club.
In the first game, Habtoor Polo, patron’s Mohammed Al Habtoor team, played a good first half but in the last two chukkers, with Wolves putting a lot of pressure on them leveled the match. The talented 8 goaler handicap, Francisco Elizalde took control of the actions and scored the decisive goal in the last chukker for Habtoor’s Polo 5-4 victory. Fran Elizalde was the top scorer in the winning team with 3 goals and Habtoor Al Habtoor, with 2, the top scorer of Wolves Polo team.
Habtoor Polo 2-0/ 3-2/ 4-3/ 4-3/ 5-4
In the second match of the day, Zedan Polo achieved a great victory against UAE Polo by 8 goals to 7 in a very close and thrilling game.
Zedan Polo, patron’s Amr Zedan team, began the match at full speed for a 3-1 lead in the first seven minutes. But quick comeback by patron’s HH Sheika Maitha team, put UAE Polo on the lead by 5-4 at the end of the second chukker. The answer was immediate by Zedan to get back again in the lead by 7-5 in the third chukker.
The second half of the match was a come and go with both teams playing at a great level and battling hard for the victory. The fourth chukker ended by 7 goals apiece and in the last 7 minutes both teams had several occasions to close the game. But finally it was Pablo Mac Donough, 10 goaler superstar, after scoring a 60 yard penalty that gave Zedan Polo the victory by 8 goals to 7.
Polito Pieres was the top scorer of the match with 5 goals and Mac Donough, with 4, the top scorer for Zedan Polo team.
Zedan Polo 3-1/ 4-5/ 7-5/ 7-7/ 8-7
The McLaren Cup will continue next Monday, January 29th with another double action day at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club. From 2pm, Mahra Polo will play against Bin Drai Polo followed by UAE Polo vs Wolves.
Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series
Five high-goal tournaments fall under the umbrella of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series: The McLaren Cup, which runs from 26 January to 9 February, The Polo Masters Cup from 10 to 15 February, The Julius Baer Gold Cup from 16 February to 9 March, The Dubai Challenge Cup from 14 to 23 March, and The Dubai Cup from 6 to 13 April 2018.
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series is the fourth-largest tournament of its kind after Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom. Founded by Mohammed Al Habtoor in 2009, the tournament is the premier regional polo competition of the year, attracting VIPs, society figures, and senior corporate executives from across the region. It has grown in tandem with the city of Dubai, and since 2012 it is the only tournament in the United Arab Emirates to be recognized and certified by the World Polo Tour (WPT). It is played under the banner of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), with the tournaments being played under strict international supervision according to the HPA rules and provision of its umpires.
Mohammed Al Habtoor, Founder of the Gold Cup Series and patron of the Habtoor Polo team, said, “This year there are six teams playing in the McLaren Cup. The participating teams will host 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; Polito Pieres, another 10-goal figure and winner of the 2012 Gold Cup in England; Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario [8-goal handicap]; Francisco Elizalde [ 8-goal handicap]; Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario [8-goal handicap], and many others who have come directly from Argentine Open.”
The final of the McLaren Cup will take place on 9 February 2018 from 1pm at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, located in Dubai Land.
The six participating teams in The McLaren Cup 2018:
- Zedan Polo Team (Patron: Amr Zedan)
- Bin Drai Polo Team (Patron: Rashid Bin Drai)
- Habtoor Polo Team (Patron: Mohammed Al Habtoor)
- Mahra Polo Team (Patron: Rashid Al Habtoor)
- UAE Polo Team (Patron: Her Highness Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum)
- Wolves Polo Team (Patron: Habtoor Al Habtoor)