The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Finals – A Few Facts and Stats
Tomorrow Friday the 13th of March 2015 will be the final of the prestigious Julius Bär Dubai Polo Gold Cup held at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club. This will be my third year attending and although my favorite team unfortunately is not playing tomorrow I am still very excited as it for me is the main event of the year in Dubai. I have collected some of the important facts to know beforehand about this tournament and the final matches.
- The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series was first founded in 2009 by a man truly passionate about polo, Mohammed Al Habtoor Patron of the Julius Bär Team by Habtoor Polo. He has been passionate about polo for many year and wished to put Dubai on the Polo world map and he has certainly succeeded in doing that with this tournament.
- The first Dubai Polo Gold Cup had 6 teams of 12-goal handicaps, every year the tournament has grown and caught the interest of more and more patrons and players from around the world increasing the number of teams and the team handicaps. Today ten 18-goal teams have battled against each other with some impressive players and horses on the field.
- This year the title sponsor is the leading private bank Julius Bär from Switzerland, which has been influential on the private banking market in the UAE for over 10 years. Julius Bär sponsor several polo events yearly as a result of their passion for polo and understanding of the high-value the sport has to their clients.
- The winning team will beside the honor of winning, receive a prize of 500.000 dirhams and this year each player on the winning team will receive a limited edition Breitling for Bentley watch.
- The Dubai Polo Gold Cup series is the tournament with the highest team handicaps in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
- The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series is internationally recognized and is now part of the World Polo Tour, awarding the winners 60 points aiding towards the ranking of worldwide polo players. The other finalist team will receive 30 points and semifinalists 15. To put it in perspective the number one player in the world at the moment Adolfo Cambiaso, has 956 points as I write this post.
- The highest ranked player in this tournament is Pablo MacDonough playing for Zedan in the final. He is a world famous Argentinian with impressive skills involving horses, mallets and wooden balls. He holds a 10-goal handicap and is ranked number 5 on the WPT list at 659 points.
- 24 matches have been played so far, 20 qualification matches and 4 semi-finals, two for the Julius Bär Cup and two for the Subsidiary final the Bentley Cup.
- The teams for the Bentley Cup are Mahra against Abu Dhabi and will be playing at 13.30. For the Julius Bär Cup the teams are Zedan against Bin Drai playing at 16.30.
- Entertainment at the event will include a Skydive show, acrobatic and cheerleader performances, a fashion show and a camel show.
- Matches will be live streamed by polocam and pololine.tv
About the teams:
Rashid Al Habtoor 0 (patron)
Guy Gibrat 5
Joaquin Pittaluga 7
Nacho Gonzalez 6
Faris Al Yabhouni 0 (patron)
Felipe Ferrario 4
Juan Gris Zavaleta 7
Alfredo Cappella 7 ( fun fact: Has broken several of the balls with his very strong hit, see a clip of it here)
Julius Bär Cup
Amr Zedan 0 (patron)
Martin Gandara 4
Facundo Llorente 4
Pablo MacDonough 10 (top scorer of the cup)
Saeed Bin Drai 0 (patron)
Agustin Canale 6
Manuel Llorente 6
Raul Laplacette 6 (noticeable not only for his excellent polo skills but also his helmet has no visor and makes him look like a human bullet, which he has actually proven to be at times.)
For a break-down of what polo is and the terms go to my article What is polo?
Here a few snapshots from the qualifying matches last week.