By Gonzalo Etcheverry
Mahra and UAE will play the final of the Julius Baer Gold Cup, after their respective wins against Bin Drai and Zedan. Meanwhile, Julius Baer Team by Habtoor beat Edrees and took the second spot in the Subsidiary Bentley Cup final.
The day started with the second semifinal match for the Bentley Cup, between Julis Baer by Habtoor and Edrees. In a very tough game, Julius Baer Team by Habtoor took a narrow 9-8 win. While Mohammed Al Habtoor’s team remained in the lead, Edrees made a notable comeback in the two last chukkers. However, their efforts didn’t pay off. Julius Baer Team by Habtoor will play the Subsidiary final against Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The semifinals of the Julius Baer Gold Cup started with a great match between Mahra and Bin Drai onAl Habtoor Polo Resort’s number three field.
Mahra, led by Alejandro Novillo Astrada, defeated one of the most powerful teams of the tournament. Rashid Al Habtoor and his boys won the game 8-6 to secure the first spot in the Gold Cup final.
The second semifinal saw defending champions Zedan face UAE. HH Sheikha Maitha’s team took an impressive 7-1 lead in the second chukker. However, Zedan – which featured Juan Ruiz Guiñazu and Matías Torres Zavaleta filling in for Pablo MacDonough and Pelayo Berazadi, respectively – made a comeback in the fifth chukker. The score was 11-all by the end of the sixth and an extra chukker was on the cards. UAE’s Lucas Monteverde successfully converted a spot penalty to put HH Sheikha Maitha’s team in next Friday’s final.
The final of the Julius Baer Gold Cup will be streamed LIVE via PoloLine TV, in collaboration with PoloCam, on Friday March 11.
Alejandro Novillo Astrada (Mahra): “Don´t know if I was expecting to be in the final. It’s a new team, a new organisation; you are always hoping to perform well, to reach a final. Fortunately, everything we talked about yesterday went as we planned it, our game plan went well and when that happens is the other team who need to adapt to you. Today was different because we started winning. This is my first time playing so much time with Rashid, Jota and Isidro and they are great and it helps a lot. There was a barbecue after our 3° game to celebrate and and I did it; we won the other and I had to do it again and I guess that today I will be the chosen one more time”.
Rashid Al Habtoor (Mahra): “We tried our best, we did extremely well. And now it’s about time to win the Gold Cup after 6 or 7 years. I’m very happy with the team, we played Bin Drai, one of the best teams in the tournament, they played great and we did well. We were playing this game as our final: if we lose we were out. We gave 150%, we tried very hard from the beginning and we were trying not to foul. Before each game we watch it over and over, we are very well prepared for each match”.
Jack Hyde (UAE Polo): “This is amazing, I’m so happy; to come out here in the first season and reach the final, I’m playing with great guys, they make this even better. I think we were unlucky in the previous Cups: in the Silver Cup we were unlucky, we lost games by 1 or 2. Today we came out and showed the team was really good. When we played Mahra in the Silver Cup was a tough game, we won by 1, and it will really be a seriously tough match. We have to prepare the way we did for this game. And stay the same, both teams are equally mounted, play how we played today and hopefully perform like we did today”.
Lucas Monteverde (UAE Polo): “We almost lose today, but fortunately we ended up winning in the OT. We knew they were a great team even though they have never played together. We started very well, and scored a great difference in the first chukker. But then they reacted and reached us, which happens usually when you are ahead by 4 or 5. Mahra is very well mounted and a great team. They have been showing a really good level, I’m not surprised with them being in the final. We all need to play really well, we did it today and we won. I really liked today the effort made by Vizcacha and also what Jack did. We’ve been growing little by little; this is our first year with better horses, we were losing in semis, we had many injuries but now we are all fit for the final”.
Mahra vs Bin Drai
Julius Baer by Habtoor Polo vs Edrees
UAE Polo vs Zedan