For the first time the Cartier team are the proud winners of their own Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge, held under the patronage of 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, In a thrilling match at Desert Palm, the Cartier team narrowly defeated the current holders of the impressive trophy, Desert Palm, 10-9.
Earlier in the match it had looked as if Cartier were going to win easily as they were leading 10-3 at the end of the third chukka. However the dynamic of the game changed in the fourth and final chukka with Desert Palm scoring six goals to none in reply from Cartier. Martin Valent, captain of the Desert Palm team, was ferocious in attack in this period, seemingly scoring goal after goal. Appropriately though, time was on the side of Cartier and the final bell rang before Desert Palm could level the score.
As the event’s patron, HRH Princess Haya, was unable to attend the final day of polo, HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented the prizes, accompanied by Cartier guest Charlotte Casiraghi , Bernard Fornas, Chief Executive of Cartier and Louis Ferla, Managing Director of Cartier Dubai.
Adriano Agosti stepped forward to receive the trophy and then watched as his team-mate, Mohammed Bin Drai, was named Most Valuable Player from La Martina. He was presented with a pair of polo boots by La Martina. Cartier’s Juan Jose Brane received a La Martina saddle for the Best Playing Pony from Charlotte Casiraghi.
The pony, Sybarita, is owned by Saeed Bin Drai and was played by Brane in the final chukka. After the main presentations HH Sheikh Mansour and Ali Albwardy presented a cheque to Satish Seemar, Director of the Riding for the Disabled Association of Dubai which is based at Desert Palm.
Sami Al Attar, Brand Manager, La Martina, the official supplier of the 7th Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge said: “This tournament has become over the years one of the most important and prestigious polo tournaments in the region. The weather was excellent and the audience was very sporting which clearly demonstrates that the game of polo is attracting growing interest in the UAE.”
Al Attar added: “It was our pleasure to supply this event as well as name Mohammed Bin Drai as La Martina Most Valuable Player who undoubtedly has showed spectacular performance in the final match. Unarguably, Best Playing Pony for Sybarita, owned by Saeed Bin Drai, was a well deserved title.”
Four pro-am polo teams have been playing all week at Desert Palm in the 7th Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge. The two teams that did not make it to the final had the opportunity to play for the Desert Palm Trophy on the same afternoon. This went to Julius Baer, who defeated CNN 8-6. The Swiss bank is in its third year of team sponsorship and so was delighted to register its first win at the event.