The much-awaited HH the President of the UAE Polo Cup, the most prestigious polo tournament in the country, got off to a wonderful start in beautiful playing conditions at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club on Wednesday.
In the opening match of the ‘Royal Signature’ event, Ghantoot ADS Securities, representing the host club, defeated UAE Polo Team by eight goals to seven, before Desert Palm Polo Team upset strongly fancied Abu Dhabi Polo Team 9-8 in an absolute thriller.
Held in the name of The President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and under the patronage of Shaikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the two-week long event has attracted some of the leading polo players in the UAE and from around the world.
Watching the action on the opening day was Her Royal Highness Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, an avid polo player and patron.
“What a fantastic start to such a prestigious tournament as the His Highness The President of the UAE Polo Cup,”said Sheikha Maitha.
“I think all of us present really enjoyed the action on the field and the evening was a great success as well.
“Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club really know how to put on a good show and the grounds are in great condition. I would thoroughly recommend a day at Ghantoot to any polo enthusiast and I thought overall the sport was very well represented at the Royal venue,” Sheikha Maitha added.
“We had lovely weather, great action and friendly staff to ensure all guests were well looked after. I definitely look forward to returning to Ghantoot to watch the rest of the matches.”
The many fans and guests who flocked to Ghantoot, the UAE’s only Royal Polo Cliub, were certainly not disappointed with the action more than living up to expectations.
And the opening games could not have thrown up a better result for the host club as their team, Ghantoot ADS Securities controlled most of the match to defeat UAE Polo Team which was anchored by Argentine 10-goal player Pablo Pieres, a member of the Argentine polo dynasty.
However, despite Pieres scoring five goals in the match, including a brace in the final chukker, Ghantoot ADS were able to keep their rivals at bay and hold on for a narrow 8-7 victory in the qualification match.
The winners led for most of the match and were up 8-4 at the end of the fourth chukker, before Pieres led a UAE team recovery to close the gap at 8-7.
Later in the evening, the large crowd were treated to a fantastic game of polo which ended in favour of the Desert Palm Polo Club, but only just.
With the clock ticking in the final fifth chukker, the scores were tantalisingly tied at 8 goals each before Argentine profressional Santiago Laborde scored a magical late goal.
Laborde picked up the ball from an acute angle and executed his shot to perfection sealing victory for Desert Palm against Abu Dhabi, who only last month won the Emirates Open Polo Tournament.
It was Abu Dhabi’s first loss in six matches during this season.
The second qualification matches will continue at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club on Saturday, 13th January.
The Grand Final is scheduled for January 19.
Wednesday, January 10
Ghantoot ADS Securities Polo Team beat UAE Polo Team 8-7
- Ghantoot: Facundo Sola 4; Guillermo Terrera 3; James Fewster 1.
- UAE: Pablo Pieres 5; Ignacio Acuna 1; Rashid Bin Drai 1.
Desert Palm Polo Team beat Abu Dhabi Polo Team 9-8
- Desert Palm: Bartolome Castagnola 3; Gamilo Castagnola 3; Santiago Laborde 2; Rashid Al Bawardi 1.
- Abu Dhabi: Alfredo Cappela Barabucci 5; Santiago Cernadas 2; Santiago Gomez Romero 1.#
(AFTER FIRST QUALIFICATION MATCHES)
Ghantoot ADS Securities 2 points
Desert Palm 2 points
UAE Polo 0 points
Abu Dhabi 0 points
Fixture on www.presidentpolocup.ae
- Governing Partner – Abu Dhabi Sports Council
- Presented by – ADS Securities
- Official Car – Maserati Premier Motors
- Official Hotel – Jannah Hotels & Resorts
- YAS TV
- Prestige Gourmet Catering
- The Galleria Al Maryah Island
- Anfasic Dokhoon
- Premier Events Management
- Clinic 515
- Joi Gifts
- Ishraqat Soudiya
- Ayaso Boutique
Venue and how to get there
Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club
P.O.Box 7144, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sheikh Maktoum Highway, Exit 399
For more information
Visit our website at: www.presidentpolocup.ae