Move to Canberra a Smart decision

BY Matt Kelly – @matty_kel

When it comes to distance travelled, Canberra trainer Todd Smart has almost come full circle.

He’ll step onto Gundagai racecourse on Friday knowing he’s come a long way since he first set foot in the place exactly 20 years ago.

“I grew up in Gundagai and as a kid I was at the racetrack all the time. I used to muck out boxes when I was 14 years old for David Blundell,” he tells

“Mum used to drop me down there every afternoon, straight after school.”

Much has happened between then and now, with Smart having built up a CV to rival the best of them.

He worked under John O’Shea, Colin Little and Lloyd Williams before taking out his own trainer’s license and setting up base in Wagga in 2014.

Two-and-a-half years on and he’s leapt across the Riverina and settled in the nation’s capital, 150 kilometres east of those boxes he marked as a young fella.

“Sydney, Melbourne, Macedon, Wagga and now to Canberra chasing my dream as a racehorse trainer,” Smart ponders. “It might seem like I’ve moved a few times, but that’s how much I want it.

“I wanted to move to Canberra because of the facilities. I want to get really serious with my racehorse training.

“There’s a new all-purpose track, swimming pool, I’ve got 12 walk-in walk-out boxes on course. It’s a quality set-up.”

A quality set-up that has enticed many before Smart, and he doesn’t shy away from the fact he’s picked the minds of those that made the move before he did.

“I’ve got to thank a lot of the boys. Luke Pepper helped me out a lot. He made the move from Moruya to Canberra and he’s given me plenty of good advice,” he says.

“I knew Matt Dale from my days with John O’Shea and I’ve known Nick Olive for a little while as well.”

Smart has nine horses in work at the moment, with that number certain to build in the near future thanks to several yearling purchases he believes will make likely types.

“I bought a Your Song filly, a High Chaparral filly and a Stryker filly, they were all sold, so I’m looking forward to racing them,” he says.

Smart inspects his Your Song filly purchased at the Sydney Inglis sales. (Pic: Supplied)

Those currently in work are every chance of carrying on Smart’s recent good run, with Attainment to run on Friday and Cherry Court on Saturday.

Both horses will take their place at Smart’s second childhood home – the Gundagai racetrack.

“It is an ambition of mine to win the Snake Gully Cup at Gundagai, it won’t happen this year because I haven’t got a horse in the race, but we’ll hopefully find the right horse for it in the future,” Smart says.

“I’m rapt to have made the move to Canberra. I’m going to have a red-hot crack and really make something of it.”

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