By Andrés Ugarte Larraín

On Playing the Polo Masters/Open de Gassin at St Tropez Polo Club: “This is the first time I play a tournament here, but I have played some exhibition matches here in the past, so I know the club very well. But, as you can see now, there are improvements: more fields and the clubhouse is very good. I did not bring my own horses; I played Guillermo and Santi’s horses. I am happy with the team.”

On Saint Tropez as a polo destination: “I’ve been coming to St Tropez since 1994 when it was a smaller village. St Tropez is a beautiful place to come in the summer and I thought coming for two weeks, so maybe I’ll play some polo, but only five or six days out of the fourteen. That was a great thing to do together.”

On the brand new Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club: “We played a few games last year; everybody is happy because our fields can be compared to the best fields in the world. We have a good maintenance team that fix the grass and people are very good with the ground. The stables are almost ready, so the whole complex will be ready 100% at the end of November/beginning of December. So, before the Silver and Gold Cup we will have the whole resort 100% ready. This year we will start the season at our polo club. We’ll have the stables ready, and all my horses will be there. I also have other members joining. We’ll have a full working club.”

On the beginning of the season in Dubai: “We are going to start club chukkers at the Habtoor Polo Resort with small tournaments of low handicap. We have a ladies tournaments in November, a 10-goal tournament in December called “The Winston Churchill Cup” – we have an agreement with the Foundation of Sir Winston Churchill. We are also playing joint tournaments with Dubai Polo Club, so we will begin with them, and play some finals at ours. Sometimes we will begin at our club and finish at theirs. We fixed our calendar to coordinate with all the polo clubs.”

On the length of the season: “We are now installing lights to one of our fields, so hopefully we will be able to play until June. It will be Field 1 at Habtoor Polo Resort. So the season will be a month and a half longer and we’ll play until the beginning of June.”

On the handicap for the Dubai Season: “So far, we will only have 18-goal. This is an agreement with all the patrons, but when we finish the 18-goal we always go to low goal tournaments to keep everybody playing and enjoying it more. In the high-goal you have three professionals and one patron, and many members and patrons don’t get the chance to play during the season. So we extend the it and we are organising low goal tournaments for them to enjoy.”

On how polo players and their families enjoy Dubai: “If you compare that time in different countries where there is polo, most of them prefer to be in Dubai because it’s family oriented. It is a busy city and there are many things single players, couples or those with children can do. I think Dubai is the most attractive city for polo from October through to April.”

http://www.pololine.com/?lang=1&sec=5&note=9104&note=9104&pag=0&anoB=2016

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