9 7
rganizers of the first-time event promised the
weekend tournament would showcase the
sport like never before and they did not
The event was staged under the exciting new ‘Palace
Rules’ which were developed to make the match faster,
more intimate and more breath-taking for spectators.
The tournament was played under Hurlingham Polo
Association rules with a few adaptations tailored for the
unique and stunning environment of Emirates Palace,”
said City Events CEO, Rory Heron, whose company
organized the event.
Derived from the highly acclaimed London event ‘Polo
in the Park’, which pioneered the City Polo Series, the
tournament is aimed at bringing this classic sport to
cosmopolitan city audiences, with the next events in the
series destined for Singapore and Shanghai.
Spectators were able to be up close and personal; as
Palace Polo was played on a pitch a third smaller than a
regular polo field which meant the spectators were even
closer to the action.
Each team had three players; reduced from the usual
four and all the action started with the spectacular ‘Palace
dash’ in which two opponents raced at full speed from
opposite ends of the polo pitch to acquire to the ball first.
Representing some of the World’s leaders in finance and
fashion, the four teams: Coutts team Abu Dhabi, ‘How
to Spend It’ team London, Maserati team Milan and
Hublot team Buenos Aires, were all competing for the
Coutts Polo Cup over the adrenaline-fuelled two days.
Al Yabhouni, team captain of the Abu Dhabi team, has
been playing polo for over eight years and led the Abu
Dhabi team to victory in the 2011 Threadneedle Gold
Cup in Dubai. Earlier this year, Al Yabhouni’s teamwon
the UAE’s Silver Cup and was also third in the Gold
Cup. He says the addition of Coutts Polo at the Palace
Is a stunning addition to the Emirate’s high profile
sports and events calendar” He adds, “Importantly, It will
also help to raise the profile of the sport in the country.
Not only will Coutts Polo at the Palace be one of the
main highlights of the city’s annual events calendar, it
will help make the polo scene in Abu Dhabi much more
popular and bring new crowds in.”
At the VIP event, dapper spectators were welcomed at
the entrance to the palace lawns by four spectacular
Maseratis that were parked near the pitch, further adding
to the glamour. Guests enjoyed drinks in the sunshine
and were entertained not only by the fast-paced action
of the matches but also by the festival-like ‘polo village’
providing even more flavour to the fabulous weekend.
On the opening afternoon, Hublot Buenos Aires team
beat Maserati Milan 13-5, whilst Coutts teamAbuDhabi
accounted for ‘How to Spend It’ team London 8-5
securing themselves a spot in the final. The only thing
more impressive than the power and speed of the ponies
was the ability and skill of the players controlling them.
Palace Polo creates a
more exciting
spectator experience,
like nothing that has
been seen in the
Middle East or
indeed anywhere else
in the world.” Rory
Heron, CEO City