The Julius Baer Gold Cup 2017
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the winter season in Dubai, and especially exciting to me. I have attended the tournament games and the final every year since I moved to Dubai for the first time, over 5 years ago. The first 3 years I was simply an enthusiastic spectator, enjoying the amazingly smooth and elegant operations of a day packed with entertainment. Last year I volunteered to help on the final day, just to get involved and see what it was all about. It was a fun experience and I learned so much from those two days. All the effort that goes on behind the scenes, not only for each of the polo teams but the entire event coordination is just mind boggling!
This year I have been in an entirely different and new role, as part of the organizational team, and I can tell you there was a lot to organize! The process of planning this event started the week after the last event last year! I came on board in October, and since then it has been quite intense, especially the last week felt like we did not have enough hours in a day to do everything.
It was all worth the effort. What a great day it was! This was the first time the Julius Baer Gold Cup was held at the beautiful brand new Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. Although the environment was slightly different to what our team and the guests were used to, it was a positive difference. I had two of my best friends visiting from Denmark, so I was also proud to show them my work, from hashtag props to entertainment coordination.
It was a day packed with entertainment and activities, from an acrobat flying in under a huge helium balloon, cheerleaders tossing each other up in the air, a marching band, and the Bentley Dash, where a very fast young man won a Bentley for a weekend.
The main attraction was, of course, the final match of the 18-goal handicap tournament, between Zedan (Amr Zedan, Octavio Olmedo, Martin Gandara and Pablo MacDonough) versus Julius Baer (Mohammed Al Habtoor, Tommy Beresford, Juan Zubiaurre and Nico Pieres).
I honestly did not have the chance to watch too much of the match, since I was busy running around the sidelines making sure everything was in order and posting all the social scenes on Instagram, but from Gonzalo Etcheverry’s match description it sounded very intense:
A team made up by patron Amr Zedan, Martín Gándara, Octavio Olmedo and 10 goals superstar Pablo Mac Donough played a great game in field 1 of the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club to achieve the third trophy in a row in the same amount of seasons.
Zedan won the first Julius Baer Gold Cup in 2015, in 2016 they achieved the McLaren Silver Cup and this year they lift the most important trophy of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series after winning a very tough match against Julius Baer Team.
Teamwork and patience were the keys factors of the winning team in a very even match.
The score remained even in the first two chukkers and despite Zedan taking the lead from the third period onwards, Julius BaerTeam maintained the pressure on them until the last minute victory was not secured.
Finally, it was a 10 to 8 triumph for a team that didn’t start the season in the best way but, in the two most important matches of the Julius Baer Gold Cup (semi-final and final), showed up with full potential and with Pablo MacDonough playing at a superb level.
Octavio Olmedo was the MVP of the match and Gete Pintura, played by Pablo MacDonough in the 2nd and 4th chukker the Best Playing Pony.
Habtoor Al Habtoor, Wolves Team patron, was the amateur top scorer and Alfredo Capella, from Abu Dhabi Polo Team, the professional top scorer.
Zedan Polo: 1-1/ 4-4/ 7-5/ 9-7/ 10-8
The trophy ceremony was the most hectic part of the day, getting so many people to do exactly as instructed at the exact right time is quite a challenge. In the end I think we did quite well. The best part is the electrifying atmosphere of joy and excitement near the stage, especially once all the formal pictures are taken and the ENTIRE team comes up to the stage and starts celebrating.
From then on it was party time, with a vibrant after-party in the Gold Lounge, the dance floor was booming and we could finally celebrate the conclusion of a great tournament.
Now on to planning next year’s event!