CHATHAM CHAMPION RACEHORSE
Chatham was an Australian stallion that was bay in colour. He managed to start in a total of 45 races.
Chatham came from a family lineage of winners. His grandsire was Magpie while his Damsire was The Welkin from Great Britain. Windbag, who was himself a former champion, having won the Melbourne Cup, sired him and his dam was Myosotis.
Chatham’s dam also gave rise to four other winners, including the legendary Cetosis who had won 16 races. He was a Thoroughbred that was foaled in 1928, bred by Kia Ora Stud and owned by Angus Blair. Chatham was trained by Ike Foulsham, to whom he had been sold for 650 Guineas in 1930. Later on, he was also trained by Fred Williams.
During his racing career, the stallion won 21 Stakes and brought in a total of £18,095 in earnings during the 4-year period when he was trained by Fred Williams and Ike Foulsham.
It will also be remembered that Chatham was a talented horse with a high endurance level, given the way he used to win under high pressure from the difficult racing conditions and heavy weights. Out of the 21 major races he won, Chatham was able to win 12 races that required a lot of endurance, a factor that effectively established his status as one of the greatest millers of all time.
His first high-calibre race was a success, even though he came second. Phar Lap defeated him in the 1931 Cox plate, but he learnt fast and bounced back to win the race the next season (1932).
Chatham Wins Linlithgow Stakes
Earlier in 1931, Chatham had won Linlithgow Stakes. Chatham also won the Epson Handicap in 1932. In 1933, he followed up his win with yet another win at the Epsom Handicap, which brought him his first back-to-back wins.
1933 was a highly successful year for Chatham, as he went ahead to win a total of 7 major races. He managed to emerge victorious at the Craven Plate, which was his second win at the stakes. Chatham also went on to win the Linlithgow Stakes for the third time in a row. It was also during the same period that Chatham won the Canterbury Stakes, with his other major being at Caulfield Stakes.
Not to be deterred or relaxed with his success thus far, Chatham went on to win two other races: the Hill Stakes and the Warwick Stakes. Chatham was clearly enjoying his rollercoaster ride; as he picked up where he had left and went on to win other six major races in 1934.
First up, he picked up his third win at the Craven Plate, defending the title he had picked the previous year. He then went on to make it 2 successive wins at the Cox Plate. Another win at the Hill Stakes also brought him another double.
Chatham was clearly at the peak of his career, as 1934 was a year in which he successfully defended 3 major titles he had won the previous year. This was confirmed when he took the Warwick Stakes title once more in 1934. He was the envy of the rest of the pack when he added two new titles to his collection.
These came in the form of the All Aged Stakes of 1934 and the Doncaster Handicap held the same year. His most memorable win was in the year 1934 in which he missed the start but then emerged victorious at the Doncaster Handicap in which he carried 10 stone 4 pounds.
Being the champion that he was, there was no way Chatham was going to be left alone into retirement without being a sire to another great lineage of future winners.
Chatham Retires To Stud
Consequently, Chatham was first retired into stud in New South Whales and later on he was sent to the Southern Part of Australia where he also sired other horses.
The horses he gave rise to went on to win major races, , including the Adelaide Cup, Sydney Cup, SAJC South Australian Cup and the Stradbroke Handicap, which were among the 36 stakes that brought in a total of £ 210,000 in earnings during their career.
One year after his retirement from active racing, Chatham sired High Rank, who went on to win the Stradbroke Handicap and four years later, he sired Craigie, who went on to win the Sydney cup. In 1942, he gave rise to Adelaide Cup and SAJC Birthday Cup winner, Chatspa. Conservator was yet another one of the horses sired by Chatham that won the SAJC Birthday cup.
Chatham left a memorable history for having been one of the most accomplished Thoroughbred horses that ever set put on the racing track. Chatham stood out for his outstanding ability to carry heavy weights and win under the most difficult of circumstances.
A fighter by nature, he was able to overcome a threatening throat infection as a young horse and even though the infection had affected his health to a great extent, he was still able to overcome the pain that came with galloping during racing.
However, the infection left a memorable mark on Chatham’s life and career, because it left him “whistling” whenever he was racing at a high speed and galloping.
Following his successful career on and off the racing track, Chatham was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of fame 6 decades later; in the year 2005.