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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mohammed Al Habtoor shines at High Goal Exhibition match

by Anthony Gebrayel

In white- Julio Novillo Astrada, in blue- Alejandro Novillo Astrada
L-R Nacho, Alejandro and Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Mohammed Al Habtoor
© Al Habtoor Group

The Al Habtoor polo patron scores four goals in the High Goal Exhibition match in the season finale in Dubai

There was no stopping Mohammad Al Habtoor at the recent High Goal Exhibition match in Dubai. The patron of the Al Habtoor team enjoyed a fantastic run on a warm, sultry evening at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club.

All eyes were on the locally renowned player as he scored four times in his team’s 8-7 win against Saeed Bin Drai’s Dubai Falcons at the King’s Cup High Goal Exhibition match on April 22, 2011.

This was not the first time he managed a feat of this nature. But given that, on this occasion, his goals were scored against some of the best players in the world, you have to appreciate his ability. “It’s an amazing feeling to merely share space with such players,” he said after the match.

The goals, each of which was equally dramatic, came in the first, second, fourth and fifth chukkers in the finale of the season’s polo in the UAE. And Mohammad clearly enjoyed every moment of playing against some of the best polo players in the world.

“To play against them is one thing, but to go and score against a 10-handicap player chasing you down is another thing,” he said, grinning after the game.

“It’s an amazing feeling to merely share space with such players.” The players in question were the famed Novillo Astrada family from Argentina: Eduardo, Ignacio and Alejandro on Mohammad’s side, and Julio, Miguel and Javier on Bin Drai’s team.

For spectators at the match, the five engrossing chukkers, showing a level of polo rarely seen in this part of the world, were pure magic. And with a bit of luck this will not be the last time such a standard is seen here. “The only way forward for us is to keep involving ourselves with such high-quality play,” said Mohammad.

“There are no short-cuts. We need to make a conscious effort to take the standard of our sport to the next level.”

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