An exciting final at Desert Palm Polo Club saw the home team, Desert Palm; receive the impressive Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge Trophy after defeating Bank Julius Baer 7-4.5. The game was not without incident as Bank Julius Baer’s number 3 was hit by a ball in the final chukka and had to retire. A substitute was quickly found and although Bank Julius Baer, who had received 2.5 goals on handicap at the beginning of the match, continued to play hard, the combined horsepower and skill of the Desert Palm team proved the stronger.
Clive Reid stepped up to receive the trophy from His Excellency Dr Hanif, Minister of Health, who was attending on behalf of the patron of this event, 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. He was accompanied by Mr Bernard Fornas, President of Cartier, Mr Louis Ferla, Managing Director of Cartier Middle East and Mr Ali Albwardy, owner of the Desert Palm Estate and a renowned polo patron.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, four pro/am teams competed in a league to earn their places in the final. The two teams that were knocked out then competed for the subsidiary Desert Palm Trophy and HE Dr Hanif presented this trophy to Adriano Agosti of the Qatar Airways team after they defeated Cartier (rec 1.5) 9.5 – 3. Matias Machado of the Bank Julius Baer team was named Most Valuable Player and received prizes from both Cartier and La Martina, the Official Team Kit Supplier. His team-mate Clare Milford Haven stepped up to receive the Best Playing Pony Award for a pony she had played that afternoon and received a saddle from La Martina.
In addition to the polo presentations, Cartier presented a cheque for Dhs 700,000 to UNICEF representative Dr Ayman Abu Laban. The money was raised through Cartier’s own LOVE charity.
All the guests, including Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram, enjoyed a traditional afternoon tea on the lawns of the Desert Palm Estate, home to one of Dubai’s premier boutique retreats, Desert Palm by Per AQUUM. The game itself was got underway with a ball being thrown from the back of a Porsche 911, as the Porsche Centre Dubai had been appointed Official Car Supplier to The Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge.