Polo Hall of Fame: Ponies to Remember
Featured Image: ‘Chester’ and owner Bob Hannon; Bob was a business partner of the late Bob Oatley when based in PNG in the 1960s. Scroll down the website for tributes to Martini, Tasman, Suva, Chips, Maria Tod, Tuesday, Jessica, Treskaa, Pinky, Castinette, Princess, Panzer and Patch.
A liver chestnut thoroughbred gelding by Baguette out of Tiny Touch bred by Jim Gibson and Blue Brotherton. (The late Jim Gibson and Robert ‘Blue’ Brotherton were two of my best mates while working at Kia Ora where Baguette stood. Could ‘Chester’ have been conceived ‘under cover of darkness’?) Blue bred and raced ‘Tiny Touch’ (by Skymaster stallion ‘Touchdown’ (imp) standing at Jack Sheppard’s ‘Gyarran Stud’, Muswellbrook. Blue worked there as well!
Author’s note: My good mate Robert (‘Carrot’) Bowen insists ‘Chester’ was actually by Kia Ora based stallion ‘Imagele’ (by ‘Sostenuto’). He concedes that ‘under cover of darkness’ Jim and Blue might have led the wrong stallion into the serving barn? ‘Carrot’ was responsible for the sale of ‘Chester’ to Bob Hannon as a Polocrosse Pony when he was initially kept at Bob Oatley’s ‘Rosemount’ property at Denman/Sandy Hollow. (Telephone call Sunday 5th January 2020)
Chester began his career working cattle at the Aberdeen Meatworks and also won a few campdrafting competitions (Greg Gibson might have been the ‘pilot’?). Purchased by Bob Hannon as a 6yo in 1986.Chester came to prominence in 1991 when he was first played at Ellerston. He was taken along as a spare horse and after umpiring on him, the Argentine star Lolo Castagnola, asked to play him and a star was born. In a stellar career over the next 5 years Chester was a standout in high goal polo. Teamed with Lolo Castagnolo and playing for Bob Hannon’s Roseglen team they won most of the major tournaments in NSW including the J.D Macleod Cup, Easter Gold Cup, Easter International and the Ellerston Challenge Cup. Along the way Chester won numerous champion pony prizes including the F.L. Bragg Trophy in 1992 for best pony competing at the Sydney Royal Easter show polo; Kayuga Cup for Champion Team of Ponies at the Easter Challenge and the R.R Ashton Cup in 1993 for Champion Pony at Easter International. Chester had speed, temperament, ability to shut down and accelerate and most importantly a marvellous nature. Chester died in 1997 aged 17, after contracting pneumonia.
The eponymous ‘Chester’ owned by leviathan the Hon James White was one of the great Australian thoroughbreds of the 19th century.