Mohammed Al Habtoor and Stuart Wrigley’s Habtoor Polo have dominated the league stages of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 11th edition. They are the only team to have won all three of their matches and head into Saturday’s final in a strong position. Their opponents are Mohammed’s brother Rashid Al Habtoor and Tariq Albwardy with the Desert Palm team. This squad won two out of their three, only losing to fellow finalists Habtoor Polo by just one goal after a tough, competitive game on Wednesday. Today they comfortably defeated the sponsor’s team 8-61/2..
Despite being unbeaten, Habtoor Polo’s Tomas Iriarte believes that they will still be the underdogs on Saturday due to Desert Palm’s home advantage. “We weren’t favourites to win that game and we won – anything is possible in polo,” said Tommy philosophically. “We have got to the final because we have played well as a team this week, working well with each other. Mohammed is well mounted of course and we have a good organisation behind us too. The final will be tough, but we will go out there and play our game and adapt it if we need to.”
Although Habtoor Polo were comfortably through to the final before today’s league matches, Desert Palm had to wait until today to know their fate. Rashid Al Habtoor was unable to play and his place was taken by Raja Abuljebain. Their opponents Amr Zedan and Prince Abbas’s Zedan Polo had also registered a win and a loss and so there was all to play for. Desert Palm started strongly and although Zedan rallied a bit in the third chukka it was clear that the home side was determined to make that final. They eventually won 9-4 and Zedan will now play Cartier in the first game for the subsidiary final on Saturday.
Tomorrow is a rest day with the finals scheduled for Saturday. The matches will be:
2pm Subsidiary Final for the Desert Palm Trophy – Cartier v Zedan Polo
3.15pm Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge – Habtoor Polo v Desert Palm
Desert Palm: Raja Abuljebain (0); Tariq Albwardy (1); Daniel Gariador (3); Matias Machado (4).
Zedan Polo Team: Prince Abbas bin Ali bin Nayef (0); Amr Zedan (0); Martin Gandara (4); Rodolfo Ducos (4).
Habtoor Polo: Mohammed Al Habtoor (0); Stuart Wrigley (0); Tomas Iriarte (5); Santiago Gomez Romero (3)
Cartier Red: Sandra Schneider (-1); Stefan Sund (0); Mark Hayden-Kellard (2); Nacho Gonzalez (6).