A LIFELONG ambition has turned to reality for Gundagai man Todd Smart.
Smart arrived in Wagga this week ready to kick off his training career at Zakynthos Lodge.
The 31-year-old has bitten the bullet and left his job with Lloyd Williams’s Hudson Conway Racing to start out on his own.
He has 19 boxes at Zakynthos Lodge in Wagga and moved five horses in this week with the plan to expand his stable in the coming months.
Smart’s passion for racing began when he started helping Gundagai trainer David Blundell after school and he has since developed his trade with John O’Shea, Colin Little and Lloyd Williams.
With plenty of experience under his belt, Smart is excited about the challenge ahead.
“My partner and I are expecting a child so the time seemed right to head back towards home,” Smart said.
“I’m a welder by trade and spent time doing rodeos in Canada but ever since I worked for David Blundell after school I’ve always had a passion for racing.
Smart’s first paid job came with Sydney trainer John O’Shea where he learnt to ride track work among other things in his two and a half years there.”I decided I wanted to do what I loved, so I’ve chased that.”
He then moved to Melbourne to join Colin Little as assistant trainer at Lord Lodge where he spent five years working with the likes of Cox Plate winner El Segundo and Sydney Cup winner Ista Kareem.
An opportunity came up to join Lloyd Williams’ team at Macedon Lodge and he jumped at the chance where he was part of the team that prepared Fawkner to win last year’s Caulfield Cup.
Smart now looks forward to putting that experience into practice.
“I believe I am one of the up and coming trainers,” he said.
“I’ve got a bit of confidence about myself but you’ve got to have that.
“I’m a new guy coming to town with a lot of experience and it would be good to get a few opportunities.”
With his knowledge of Lloyd Williams’ team, Smart will head to the stable’s dispersal sale in Melbourne on Friday in a bid to land a Wagga Cup horse.
“If anyone is interested in a Wagga Gold Cup horse, that’s where Devised came from and we all know how well he’s gone around here,” he said.
“A lot of people want to try and win a Wagga Gold Cup and coming from Lloyds I’ve got a good understanding of the horses for sale and there is plenty of good horses there to try and win a Wagga Gold Cup with.”
A group of owners predominantly from Gundagai have already joined forces with Smart to purchase Queensland mare For Mia with the aim to win the Snake Gully Cup.
For Mia, a winner of $70,000 in prizemoney, has four wins and 12 placings to her name from 24 starts.
Smart, a strong Gundagai Tigers supporter, will have his racing colours similar to the black and gold of his Group Nine club.
With three race horses and two breakers, Smart at this stage will not have a runner for about eight weeks.
He has already had Jamie Brooks join his team to help with the breakers.
Anyone interested racing horses with Smart can contact him on 0438 008 907 or email@example.com