Amr F. Zedan, Chairman of the Saudi Polo Federation, board member of Saudi Equestrian Authority said today that the second Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament is being held 11-12 February in the stunning surroundings of AlUla will be ‘game-changing’ for the sport in the Kingdom.
With the return of the world’s first desert polo event, set to take place in AlUla for its second edition since its debut in 2020, well-known polo enthusiast and owner of Zedan Racing Stables in Kentucky, Zedan said:
“Last year, I described the world’s first tournament played in the desert as an ‘appetizer’. This year, it will be the full ‘main course’ and I’m convinced it can be a game-changer for the sport in the Kingdom.”
“As well as a world-class polo tournament, where spectators will witness the world’s best players in action, we’ll also be seeing some of the young up-and-coming Saudi players who were inspired by the first event. For me, that’s legacy in action and I’m not surprised at all.”
“Winston Churchill once described a ‘polo handicap as a person’s ticket to the world’ and he was right. Which is why we’ve seen young men and women in the kingdom take notice and want to get involved.”
As well as the elite tournament, there will also be a series of polo masterclasses, one led by La Dolfina’s Adolfo Cambiaso, who’s widely regarded as the best player in the history of the game.
“Prince Bader Al-Farhan, the minister of culture and governor of AlUla, has been one of the driving forces behind this initiative. He saw the potential straight away and what we delivered last year set a high bar and has provided a great platform to build on for this year.”
The polo event will see four teams compete in a specially built desert arena that lies close to the ancient site of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those taking part will be a mix of invited patrons and professional players drawn from the global polo community.
Players from the legendary La Dolfina Polo team will lead one team each. La Dolfina, whom many consider being “the perfect team”, has a 40-goal handicap together and is the only team ever that won three consecutive Triple Crowns, the Tortugas Open, Hurlingham Open, and Argentine Open in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively.
Recently RCU and the La Dolfina Polo Team announced the establishment of a long-term partnership as a further step toward the realization of AlUla’s long-term equestrian strategy to establish AlUla as a premier destination for horse enthusiasts from around the world, and the development of polo as the ‘sport of kings in Saudi Arabia.
Adolfo Cambiaso, the founder of La Dolfina Polo, has become a destination advocate for AlUla.
“We are excited to return to AlUla and play with fellow patrons and players from all over the world. Since the first edition of Desert Polo, it’s been great to see the interest in polo grow in the Kingdom, and we look forward to developing the sport in newly explored regions such as AlUla,” said Cambiaso.
Amr F. Zedan, Chairman of SPF, continued: “We are very excited to welcome back La Dolfina Polo stars and leading polo patrons, this year from the US, France, and the UK. SPF is committed to supporting RCU in implementing the vision for equestrian events, infrastructure, and activities and in continuing to build on the Arabian horse heritage of the region.”
The vision includes significant infrastructure and facilities, more riding trails, and itineraries for visitors to immerse themselves in the majesty of the cultural landscape.
The experience of horseback riding amongst the desert splendor and rock formations, in the footsteps of past civilizations, will create unforgettable memories.
Organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), in partnership with the Saudi Polo Federation, (SPF) the only major polo tournament staged in the desert on February 11-12, 2022 is the finale of the 2022 Winter at Tantora festival.
Alongside Richard Mille as the title sponsor, Bentley has joined the team as this year’s official car and Saudia as the event’s official airline.
The event also falls on the same weekend as the opening of AlUla Arts, with the flagship Desert X AlUla exhibition and the recently announced Alicia Keys One Night Only at Maraya.
Tickets to attend the two events can be purchased through www.experiencealula.com.