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Desert Palm Resort Challenge

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Desert Palm Retreat and Polo Club  
February 20 - 24 February
Under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, four pro-am polo teams will compete in the 7th Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge, held from the 20 – 24 February 2012 at Ali Albwardy's Desert Palm Resort in Dubai.
Leading names from the world of polo will head to Dubai for this competition. Some patrons, such as Dubai resident Farez Al Yabhouney, Saudi national Amr Zedan, who regularly leads the Gulf Co-Operation team to victory in the UK, leading Swiss player Adriano Agosti and Guards Polo Club's own patrons Kassem Shafi and Gary Shepherd are no strangers to this competition. Joining them all this year is a patron who is making his debut at this event, Saad Audeh.  Unfortunately regular Cartier International Day patron, Saeed Bin Drai, has been forced to pull out due to injury - he was scheduled to play for the Cartier team - but his place has been taken by his younger brother Mohammed Bin Drai.
Of course, the patrons will be playing alongside an equally impressive list of professionals, including a member of the Argentine national team. Although the tournament’s host, Ali Albwardy will not be playing, his family will be represented through his talented son Tariq. He was a member of the winning team in 2011 and will be keen to win the trophy for his father once again.
Every match will be played at Ali Albwardy's beautiful Desert Palm estate, home to one of Dubai’s premier boutique retreats, Desert Palm by Per AQUUM. Not only does this impressive retreat boast some fine polo grounds, but also offers the renowned LIME Spa, the Red Bar and two award winning restaurants, Rare and Epicure.

Of course, with such talent on the field, it is no surprise that the team sponsors are equally impressive. Cartier is again sponsoring its own team in addition to holding the title sponsorship, while Bank Julius Baer returns to Dubai for the third time in this event. Both brands are supporters of the sport across the globe and bring their own sense of style and excellence, always ensuring a polo event to remember. CNN, the global news broadcaster, is a welcome addition to the sponsors this year, acquiring last year’s Guards Polo Club based quartet in the competition.
To ensure that the players’ and ponies’ style is as elegant as their play, La Martina has been reappointed as the Official Team Kit Supplier, while the Porsche Centre Dubai, in its role as Official Car Supplier, will see that both VIPs and players arrive on time. Pommery makes a welcome addition to the event in 2012, with the creation of the Pommery Reception after Friday’s polo - the perfect way to conclude a magnificent tournament.
Team Cartier: Adriano Agosti (CH) 0; Mohammed Bin Drai (UAE) -1; Francisco Elizalde (ARG) 6; Juan Jose Brane (ARG) 7.
Team Julius Baer:  Amr Zedan (KSA) 0; Saad Audeh (UAE) 0; Pancho Marin Moreno (ARG) 6; Rodolfo Ducos (ARG) 5.
Team CNN: Gary Shepherd (UK) -1; Kassem Shafi (PK) 0; Vieri Antinori (ARG) 6; Hissam Ali Hyder (PK) 6.
Team Desert Palm: Tariq Albwardy (UAE) 1; Faris Al Yabhouni (UAE) 0; Martin Valent (ARG) 5; Alfredo Capella (ARG) 6