Smart move to put upcoming trainer on the map

Aaron Hamilton in Horse Racing 15 Nov 2016

Image credit:

Although racing is often a game of luck, racehorse trainer Todd Smart believes “the harder your work, the luckier you get.”

Formerly based in Wagga Wagga, Smart has recently relocated his small team to Canberra and will rely on a strong work ethic and a wealth of learned knowledge to take his career to the next level.

Smart has worked with some of the biggest names in racing including Godolphin head trainer John O’Shea, five-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams, Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman, Macedon Lodge trainer Robert Hickmott, and Cox Plate winning trainer Colin Little.

Having found an interest in racing as a 15-year-old cleaning out boxes for trainer David Blundell, Smart eventually became a welder by trade and travelled the world.

However, he was drawn back to Australia years later and secured a stablehand job with O’Shea.

He continued in that role for three years before moving on to become a foreman for Colin Little at Caulfield.

Smart attributes a lot of his early learning to Little who tasted success at the highest level with horses like El Segundo (Cox Plate), Ista Kareem (Sydney Cup) and Bluetigeroo (The BMW).

“He taught me a lot about being patient with horses,” Smart said.

Following his successful stint with Little, Smart scored an interview with Lloyd Williams and became the foreman at Macedon Lodge, working side by side with Robert Hickmott, who Smart regards as one of the very best.

“I regard him as one of the best horseman I’ve seen,” he said.

“If Lloyd didn’t have Robert as his right hand man over the 15 years, I don’t think the stable would be going as good.”

Lee Freedman was also working at Macedon Lodge as the Head of Operations and became a mentor to Smart.

“In my time with these other trainers, I learned quite a lot.”

“They are all very successful trainers in their own right.

“John O’Shea is doing so well now and Lloyd’s just won the Melbourne Cup again – he’s won five now – and Colin Little, he’s a good old-time trainer that’s won Cox Plates, Sydney Cups and BMWs.”

Having learned the trade from the best in the business, Smart decided to branch out on his own and took up his trainer’s license in 2014.

He trained out of Wagga for more than two years, but with a burning desire to succeed and attract some new owners and quality horses, Smart and his young family decided to move back to Canberra.

“Being a country boy I just want to make it as a racehorse trainer and that’s why I wanted to come back here and go to the next level,” he said.

“We’ve got the walker, heated swimming pool and we’ve got the new synthetic all-purpose track.

“Once it’s finished it will be fantastic. “We do gallop on it now but once we start racing on it next winter it will be fantastic.”

With just a small team of eight, and room for a few more at his Canberra base, Smart is slowly building a quality stable and most recently purchased some exciting fillies.

“I went to the sales last year and bough a Stryker filly, a High Chaparral filly, a Your Song filly and I sold them pretty quick,” he said.

“The High Chaparral, she’s a bloody really nice filly. We’re gonna set her toward the Oaks (Crown Oaks) at the end of next year.

“She’s a real feminine filly.

“She’s a half-sister to Maven Wizz who Anthony Cummings trains.

“We won’t race her until leading up to the spring. She’ll probably trial quite a few times before we produce her at the races but she’s showing a lot as an early horse.”

Of his current brigade, Smart has a couple travelling very well as they head toward their next assignments.

“I’ve got a horse called Cherry Court, and she’s probably my next good winning chance when she gets up to 2000m,” he said.

“She’ll probably go to a Class 2 2100m race at Hawkesbury.

“She’s a big striding horse that needs a big track and needs to settle back in the field.

“She did that last time and was going to run right past them but just peaked on her run in the last 100m.

“That’s gonna get her spot on for next start. “And Attainment, he’ll probably go to Queanbeyan Saturday week – I think he’ll win that.

“He’s just had some bad luck. “But next start over 1400 or 1600 meters, we’ll put a senior rider on. “He’s working good but he’s just had bad luck his past two starts.”

As well as providing Smart with new opportunities and better training facilities, the move to Canberra works well geographically being located within reach of some quality NSW country racecourses as well as Sydney if the opportunity presents.

“Sydney is only just up the road and Wagga’s just down the road as well, he said.”

“I just want to travel anywhere and place my horses where they can win.

“My main goal this year is coming to Canberra and trying to buy some new horses, bring in some new owners and show people what I’ve got and what I’ve learned over the years from all these great trainers.

“I want to go to the sales at the end of the year and buy some nice quality horses.

“I see myself as a horseman, a very hard worker, and I give attention to detail.”

Prospective owners looking to contact Todd can find all the details they need on his website

Pin It on Pinterest