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Ferne Park scores tight victory

Vere Harmsworth (0), Eden Ormerod (+3), Joaquin Pittaluga (+7) and Dirk Gould (+5) of team Ferne Park won the prestigious Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup. The foursome won the tournament for the first time and defeated team Shalimar with Kassem Shafi (0), Nicolas Antinori (+4), Hissam Ali Hyder (+6) and Vieri Antinori (+5) at Guards Polo Club by 9-8. The winners’ prizes were presented by HM The Queen and Mr Khalaf Al Habtoor, founder and chairman of the Al Habtoor Group.
Ferne Park were on form from the first throw-in of the ball. They were in the lead after the first chukka and never relinquished that position. It took Shalimar a little longer to get into their stride, but had closed the gap to just one goal by the end of the fifth. However this surge was too late to ensure extra time and Shalimar had to settle for the runners-up slot.
The other match of the day was the Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup Subsidiary Final. The winning team Newlands of Stow received the Mountbatten Trophy after defeating EFG Bank Aravali 8-6 in another close game on The Duke’s Ground.
Ferne Park’s Vere Harmsworth was playing in place of his father Jonathan in this final and so it was this Eton schoolboy who received the trophy from HM The Queen and Mr Al Habtoor. Vere’s team-mate Joaquin Pittaluga was named Al Habtoor Most Valuable Player. Another Ferne Park player, Dirk Gould, returned to the presentation arena to receive the Al Habtoor Best Playing Pony Rug for his favourite pony Jesus, an eight-year-old bay gelding.
Polo action had started much earlier in the day when several members of the Habtoor family, keen polo players both here in the UK and back home in Dubai, took to the field to compete in the Habtoor Challenge Match. Mohammed Al Habtoor’s Habtoor 1 got the better of his brother Rashid’s Habtoor 2 team, winning the match 51/2-3.
The Royal Windsor Cup is the oldest competition to be played at Guards Polo Club. It was first played in the Club’s inaugural year, 1955, and today it is regarded as the leading medium-goal tournament in the UK. This year some 18 world-class teams signed up for this year’s competition, which is in its sixth year of sponsorship by Mr Khalaf Al Habtoor and his Al Habtoor Group. In addition to supporting the polo, this year Mr Khalaf Al Habtoor hosted the UK launch of his autobiography “Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor The Autobiography”.

The standings:
Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup
1. Ferne Park (+15)
Vere Harmsworth (0)
Eden Ormerod (+3)
Joaquin Pittaluga (+7)
Dirk Gould (+5)
2. Shalimar (+15)
Kassem Shafi (0)
Nicolas Antinori (+4)
Hissam Ali Hyder (+6)
Vieri Antinori (+5)
3. Newlands of Stow (+15)
Momin Sheikh (0)
Edward Hitchman (+5)
Jean Du Plessis (+6)
Brad Mallet (+4)
4. EFG Bank Aravali (+15)
Stefan Sund (0)
Oliver Hipwood (+5)
Mark Tomlinson (+6)
Sebastian Dawnay (+4)
Habtoor Challenge Match
1. Habtoor 1 (+6)
Mohammed Al Habtoor (0)
Habtoor Al Habtoor (0)
Ahmed Mohammed Al Habtoor (0)
Guillermo Cuitino (+6)
2. Habtoor 2 (+7)
Rashid Al Habtoor (0)
Tariq Al Habtoor (0)
Khalaf Rashid Al Habtoor (0)
Francisco Elizalde (+7)

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