Dubai: A total of 10 teams from across the world have been confirmed for the sixth edition of the Dubai Gold Cup 2015 that gets under way from Friday [January 23].
Launched in 2009 by Mohammad Al Habtoor, the Dubai Polo Gold Cup (DPGC) has grown to become the region’s premier polo competition attracting some of the leading corporate executives from across the Gulf region and beyond.
In 2012, the tournament was recognised by the World Polo Tour (WPT) and last year’s competition was the highest WPT tournament in points within the Challenge Cup category with a team handicap of 16.
“If we want to be recognised in the world of polo then we need to raise the stakes. The patrons were willing and there were a few minor problems to deal with. So we started off as a 12-handicap event and today we are up to 18 handicap. Increasing the handicap puts us on the world map of polo. Today we are a recognised brand,” Al Habtoor told media.
Al Habtoor had announced at the end of last year the construction of a 138-room hotel in the middle of four polo fields that also has 500 stables along with a polo academy and horse riding centre. “The four fields will be of the highest standard and will be ready by the end of this year,” he added.
Held under the banner of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), the Gold Cup has moved up from a Challenge Cup to a World Polo Tour Cup with team handicap raised to 18 and the winning teams receiving 60 points. “This tournament is certainly not our limit and we can look forward to something more in the coming years as there are new polo fields coming up in the UAE,” Al Habtoor said.
“Polo has improved in the UAE and this tournament is just an indication of how our sport has managed to grow along with the tremendous boom being experienced by Dubai,” he added.
In a fresh development, Switzerland-based private banking group Julius Baer will be the title and a team sponsor for the Dubai Gold Cup 2015. Held under the patronage of Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, for the sixth year in succession, the DPGC Series is the fourth-largest tournament of its kind with some of the top stars like Alejandro Muzzio, Pablo Mac Donough and Lucas Monterverde confirmed at the Arabian Ranches’ Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club (DPEC) this Friday.
The series will be split into two tournaments: the McLaren Cup with an open handicap from January 23 to February 6 followed by the 18-handicap Julius Baer Gold Cup from February 23 to March 13. “We are proud to partner with the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series and to support this tournament, which is line with our focus on polo and is also indicative of our long-term commitment to the UAE. Sponsoring important cultural activities here stems from our recognition of its value to the local community and our clients,” noted Daniel Savary, head of Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa (EMMEA), Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd.
Teams and patrons
UAE Polo Team: Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Ghantoot Polo Team: Shaikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Julius Baer Team by Al Habtoor: Mohammad Al Habtoor
Bin Drai Polo Team: Saeed Bin Drai
Mahra Polo: Rashid Al Habtoor
Abu Dhabi Polo Team: Faris Al Yabhouni
Zedan Polo Team: Amr Zedan
Desert Palm Dubai Polo Team 1: Rashid Al Bawardi
Desert Palm Dubai Polo Team 2: Tariq Al Bawardi
Edrees Polo Team: Sultan Edrees
Group A: UAE Polo; Zedan; Bin Drai; Desert Palm 1
Group B: Mahra; Habtoor Polo; Desert Palm 2
Group C: Edrees; Ghantoot; Abu Dhabi