Hublot team Buenos Aires won a thrilling 3-2 penalty shoot out over Coutts team Abu Dhabi to secure the inaugural Coutts Polo at the Palace yesterday. Locked at 5-5 at the end of the fourth ‘chukka’, Hublot team Buenos Aires held their nerve against the home team favourites who took the match into overtime with a desperate last minute two point goal in the dying stages.
The final was watched by a sell-out audience on the lawns of Emirates Palace and with the sun quickly setting on a stunning weekend of polo action, the pulsating shoot out was a fitting finale to Abu Dhabi’s newest sporting event. Hublot team Buenos Aires’ captain Mohammed Al Habtoor was awarded the Coutts Cup by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research at the official prize giving ceremony.
City Events Ltd’s CEO, Rory Heron, whose company organized the showpiece event, said: “The final was a wonderful way to complete a memorable weekend that for the first time brought polo to the heart of Abu Dhabi. We were very proud of how it all went and we hope the people of Abu Dhabi thoroughly enjoyed themselves at what was something a little different for the events scene here. We could not have asked for a more entertaining final and along with the polo there was so much more for people to experience. Corporate hospitality was abuzz with activity throughout the weekend and the polo village had its own special atmosphere with families relaxing in the sunshine over picnics.”
Coutts team Abu Dhabi’s loss against their Argentinean rivals was a bitter pill to swallow in front of their home crowd, but captain Faris Al Yabhouni says the event was a stunning endorsement of how polo can be showcased to cosmopolitan city audiences.“It has been great to be part of such a special occasion,” he said. “The event has been incredibly successful and I’m sure we will be back for another Polo at the Palace next year. The games provided great excitement for all the viewers and overall we were very pleased with how it has all turned out.”
Coutts Polo at the Palace was a spin-off of the popular London event ‘Polo in the Park’, which pioneered the City Polo Series which is now set to take the stage in Singapore and Shanghai as it goes global and into other key financial capitals.
Palace Polo was played on a pitch a third smaller than a regular polo field, which meant the spectators were closer to the action. Each team had three players (reduced from the usual four) and all the action started with the spectacular ‘Palace dash’ where two opponents raced at full speed from opposite ends of the polo pitch to get to the ball first. It was a unique take on the traditions of polo and proved to be a winning formula for spectators who flocked to the stunning venue. Jean Loup Giriat, who was soaking up the polo village, said: “I attended polo events back in France and today has been excellent quality polo. I would definitely return next year.”
On the opening afternoon, Hublot Buenos Aires beat Maserati Milan 13-5 while Coutts team Abu Dhabi accounted for ‘How to Spend it’ team London to book themselves a spot in the final. The event was supported by some of the world’s highest end institutions and brands, including Coutts, Emirates Palace, Maserati, Nespresso, La Martina and Hublot.
Coutts Team Abu Dhabi (+10)
Faris Al Yabhouni (0)
Martin Iturraspe (+5)
Santiago Laborde (+5)
How to Spend it Team London (+10)
Stuart Wrigley (0)
Peter Webb (+5)
William Emerson (+5)
Hublot Team Buenos Aires (+11)
Mohammed Al Habtoor (0)
Guillermo Cuitiono (+6)
Jack Richardson (+4)
Maserati Team Milan (+10)
Amr Zedan (0)
Matias Machado (+6)
Nicholas Petracchi (+4)
For more information visit www.couttspoloatthepalace.com