Sailors’s Guide was arguably one of the greatest racehorses ever produced at Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley. The late Darcy and Harley Walden of ‘Sledmere Stud’ would certainly argue a very strong case! The voluble father and son duo were responsible for foaling and the early nurturing of the champion racehorse at Maurice Point’s stud farm. Although he was a Scone-born local Sailor’s Guide was a truly International thoroughbred.
Sailor’s Guide was an outstanding thoroughbred racehorse conceived in England but by a French sire and foaled in 1952 in Australia at ‘Sledmere Stud’ near Scone. He was a brown colt sired by the good racehorse Lighthouse II by Pharos. His dam was the imported mare Jehane (GB) by Legend of France (FR). Jehane (GB) was also the dam of several other winners including Far Away Places (by Royal Empire) who won the SAJC Adelaide Cup. Lighthouse II was later imported to Australia to W. H. Mackay’s “Tinagroo Stud”, near Scone. M. V. Point owner of ‘Sledmere’ imported Jehane (GB).
He is notable in that he won races in the United States and Canada and a large number of principal Australian Races and was a very high stakes earner.
Trained originally in the Victorian provincial city of Bendigo many of Sailor’s Guide’s wins were by margins of a neck or less; in the Sydney Cup (1956) his winning margin was a half head. In the Pentathlon Stakes (a VATC Olympic Games commemorative event 1956) Sailor’s Guide showed his class by defeating the New Zealand (NZ) horse, Rising Fast and then another NZ horse in Redcraze in the C. B. Fisher Plate (1956). During the spring Sailor’s Guide again won the Craiglee Stakes, was third in the Caulfield Cup and won the LKS MacKinnon Stakes (all 1957).
He won many other major races in Australia in the mid-1950s, including the VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes (defeating Prince Darius and Tulloch) and the VRC Derby (1955). He was one of the highest stake winners of the period. He also won the Sky Classic Stakes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
He ended up winning more than £100,000, with Tulloch and the Standardbred harness horse Caduceus as the only horses bred in Australia or New Zealand to have achieved this distinction at that time. Tulloch was his main rival; they defeated each other on a number of occasions.
The most important race he won was the 1958 Washington DC International at Laurel Park (now replaced by the Breeders’ Cup Turf), a major horse race in the United States. It was contested on turf over 1½ miles (2,400 metres) and drew the best horses from North America and Europe. In winning the race albeit on protest (Tudor Era USA first past the post by 3 ½ lengths) Sailor’s Guide defeated the top performer Ballymoss who had a Timeform Rating of 136. Soon after, Ballymoss won the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and was also voted as 1958 European Horse of the Year.
Sailor’s Guide was retired to stud in America, but was a poor foal-getter. He did have eight of his progeny race without any great success.