Saturday, November 20, 2010

Polo Champs Miss the Big Match

Jean-Paul & Nina Clarkin at Windsor last week

The annual Paspaley Polo takes place today in Centennial Park and with the world's largest supplier of cultured pearls celebrating it's 75th year it promises to be an extra special event.

 Sadly two of the world's great polo players will miss the day.

Carina Clarkin, the UK's top female player and her husband , the handsome and debonair Jean-Paul Clarkin have left Sydney for New Zealand after playing at the Windsor polo match last week.

Carina, known as Nina is the niece of the beef baron Lord Vestey and the Vestey family connections with Australia are deep and varied.

Lord Vestey was once the largest single land owner in Australia until 1966 when dozens of his Aboriginal stock men went on strike demanding equal pay with whites.

When Gough Whitlam was elected Prime Minister in the early 1970's he forced Vestey to hand back traditional lands to the Gurindji tribe.

Vestey also owns several cattle ranches in Venezuela-or did until President Hugo Chavez sent in troops to occupy them. In 2006 he settled a dispute with Chavez by handing over 2 of his best properties to the Venezuelan government.

Lord Vestey & The Queen
 Jean-Paul's late father Paul Clarkin was a mentor to both Princes William and Harry and Nina's mother Rosie dated their father Prince Charles and was part of his inner circle.
Nina, a good friend of William's is expected to be a guest at the wedding of William and Kate Middleton.

Lord Vestey visited Australia earlier this year on behalf of St John Ambulance ( HRH The Queen is patron). He holds the lofty title of The Lord Prior of St John. He also attended the Royal Easter Show with the Social Shuttle's resident landed gentry and contributor Bill Ranken.

And Lord Vestey and Nina Clarkin have another claim to Oz-Sam Vestey's great grandmother was the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.