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  • 2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season

  • 2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season

  • 2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season

2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season
2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season

2017-2018 Dubai Polo Season

POLO kicks off at AL HABTOOR POLO RESORT & CLUB as they look forward to a great GOLD CUP SERIES

November 22, 2017
November 22, 2017
The Dubai high goal is revving its engines and preparing for another season at Al Habtoor Polo Club, but low and medium goal polo already began a few weeks ago. "We opened the place up a few years ago, but last year we had all the installations up and running: the three fields, the stables, the St Regis Hotel,” says Guillermo Cuitiño, Manager of Habtoor Polo. "We are using all three fields, and there is a fourth for classes and the Polo Academy, which is good and is also used as a stick and ball ground. The hotel is amazing, some of us even stay there; now that it is open it really helps the After Polo scene, and it is similar to the one in Sotogrande in that you have where to go and where to stay.”
 
Polo has been played in Dubai for about forty years, but it has only been in this millennium that the sport has become more unified in the country. Mohammed Al Habtoor really set the tone with the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, giving everybody a place to play, a place to take their horses and their teams. The season has now become the most competitive in the world during the time it is played (January to April). From the club, the following was stated: "Mohammed really focused on the spectacle and on attracting people, including everyone in the Dubai polo scene. Not only did he work hard to improve the polo level by inviting the best players and organising the best tournaments, like the Gold Cup Series, but he also wants to make this an attractive place for everyone. The level here is very competitive and it generates a lot of enthusiasm for patrons, who now invite the best players and buy horses, especially now since the fields are amazing.”
 
There have been changes since the inauguration of Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, such as the Polo Academy, which has been a success and continues to grow everyday. The Academy was founded a year ago, and at times classes have to be cancelled because there are not enough resources. This is what Dubai has accomplished with the Gold Cup Series, with world class players, with the attraction for people of all ages. Polo in general is growing in Dubai, which encourages new people to engage in the sport. 
 
"We are now working to host lots of medium and low goal tournaments, to encourage a professional to come with his patron from England, for example,” says Cuitiño. "They can stay in the hotel and play on weekends. We don’t just want to focus on high goal. We want everyone to have fun, from the beginner to those who play 12-goal polo in Europe. We are dedicated to catering to everyone, those who are holding the stick for the first time, or those top players like Pablo Mac Donough, Lucas Monteverde, Polito Pieres, Facundo Sola, Guillermo Terrera, Diego Cavanagh, or Nico Pieres, or any of the great players who take part in Palermo.”
 
He continues: "We are putting together 10- and 12-goal tournaments. We are going to mount everyone. We have about forty horses just to rent. Tournaments will be played from Wednesday to Sunday, so that everyone can play between three and four games. This is one of Mohammed Al Habtoor’s projects that is solely focused on the development of polo. Mohammed has a low profile, in polo terms. He is well aware of what he is doing for polo, but he is not fully conscious of what he is generating. Dubai was known in the polo world because of Ali Albwardy, and so was Ghantoot, because of Abu Dhabi, but  Mohammed made it all blow up. He unified it all and made us play together.”
 
Beyond Dubai, Habtoor Polo participated in the English high goal this year, and the team qualified for the semifinals of the Gold Cup. The team was also present at St Tropez, competing in two 18-goal tournaments.
 
On reaching the UK Gold Cup semifinals, Guillermo Cuitiño stated: "It was a great experience. We played before in Uk but never the high goal, the gold cup. Was the first year for the team, we reached the semis, something really difficult. I have some experience in polo and I know some teams play for 12, 15 years and never made it and Habtoor reached the semis in its first year. The Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world after rthe Argentine Open. Good experience, the team played really well, we lost against the winners, we lost very close, it was a great semifinal. I think next year we are going to be in the same competition and hope this time we can reach the final. That is the plan."
 
On playing two 18-goal tournaments at the Polo Club de Saint Tropez, Habtoor Al Habtoor said: "It was a great opportunity. Thanks to my father for letting me take a break from work and coming here, it's  a lovely place, it's my first time playing in a polo field surrounded by nature. I love it here. I had an accident one month before the season ended in Dubai. Once the accident happened I had to end my polo season. I think it was 4 or 5 months actually until I played y first game here in St Tropez, so I was pretty resty. The first game I was still trying to understand my horses. But comparing my last game with the first one, it was a 180 degree change. I pressured them, I had the ball, I scored. Four games and I had the rhythm back.”
 
Several tournaments are being developed at the moment in Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, where the Dubai Gold Cup Series is played, such as the AHPRC League (Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club League), made up of 4-6 goal tournaments that last a week each. A new edition of the Gold Cup Series will kick off in January with the Silver Cup. Expectations are high and teams are finalising details for the tournament. The first class fields, inaugurated towards the end of 2016, are ready for action. 
 
At the moment, the following teams have confirmed their participation: locals Habtoor, their second team Wolves, Zedan (with Pablo Mac Donough), Mahra, UAE, Abu Dhabi, Desert Palm and others. Many of the teams that took part in the last season say that it is always a pleasure to return to Dubai, where everything is taken care of and well organised.