WRITER: Thomas Simmons
PRODUCER: Graham Leader
In an amazing true story from 1930, four Australian brothers risk their family's farm and home to challenge the world of polo – a domain dominated by the English aristocracy and Long Island's elite – in a long-shot bid to win respect and recognition for their emerging, independent nation.
JIM ASHTON (27) is Boss of the Boys, the oldest son of a self-made Australian businessman. Jim runs the family sheep station, MARKDALE, and rules over his brothers, BOB (25), GEOFF (22) and PHIL (20), his rebellious youngest brother.
Their parents, JAMES ASHTON (62) and HELEN ASHTON (58) live in Sydney, where James is a prominent banker. As an outspoken minority-party member of parliament, James struggles to defeat tariffs he believes will start a trade war.
When the Ashton brothers score an upset victory against a visiting English team to win the Dudley Cup, Australia's premiere tournament, the victory is written off to luck rather than skill. The insult strikes Jim as hard proof that England still regards Australia as a backwater colony, and he decides to do something about it.
An invitation from England to play in their prestigious tournaments is maliciously vetoed by the Australian Polo Association, which refuses to sanction the Ashton team. That means the Ashtons must pay their own expenses for the trip or withdraw from the competition and admit defeat. Rather than lose by default, James Sr. mortgages all the family’s assets to bankroll his sons' venture.
Shipping polo ponies around the world is unprecedented. The logistics and cost are daunting. An entire ship has to be refitted with stalls and exercise yard for 28 ponies. After conquering the English on their home turf, the brothers discover they must travel to America and play the Yanks in a bid to avoid losing their entire family fortune to the worldwide Depression.
The brothers’ odyssey takes them to three continents, pits them against the best polo players in the world, and thrusts them into the upper echelons of English and American society where their Outback ruggedness is considered an oddity.
The story of the Ashton brothers' polo team is a classic underdog saga that evokes “Chariots of Fire”. Determination, perseverance and, ultimately, the brothers' ability to overcome their differences and work together as a team carry them to the pinnacle of the elite polo world and enable them to save the family from financial ruin.