Tommy J. Smith bigraphy, stories - Australian horse trainer

Tommy J. Smith : biography

3 September 1916 - 2 September 1998

Thomas John Smith (3 September 1916 – 2 September 1998) also known as Tommy Smith or T. J. Smith was a leading trainer of thoroughbred racehorses based in Sydney, Australia.

Inducted into the Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 2001 and elevated to Legend status in 2012, Smith dominated Sydney racing for over three decades, winning the Sydney Trainers' Premiership every year between 1953 and 1985. His notable feats as a horse trainer included two Melbourne Cups, four Caulfield Cups, seven W. S. Cox Plates, six Golden Slippers and thirty five Australian derbies. Notable horses trained by Smith included Tulloch, Gunsynd, Kingston Town, Redcraze and Red Anchor.


Along with Bart Cummings and Colin Hayes, he is considered to be one of the great Australian thoroughbred trainers.

The T. J. Smith Stakes at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney was named in his honour.

In 1982, Smith was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the community.


Smith's daughter Gai Waterhouse, took out a trainers licence following a long-running dispute with racing authorities caused by her marriage to warned off bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse. While Smith continued to train horses with reduced numbers, Waterhouse took over the running of Tulloch Lodge in 1994. Waterhouse retained many of the methods pioneered by her father including the "bone and muscle" method. Waterhouse has gone on to win five Sydney Training Premierships and trained numerous group winners. Waterhouse's main stable is still called Tulloch Lodge and the term is sometimes used to describe the Smith/Waterhouse dynasty as a whole. Smith died in 1998, in Sydney.

Training career

Smith became a trainer, acquiring his license in 1941. His first success came in 1942 with Bragger a rogue horse he bought from Wagga property owner Mack Sawyer. He broke in the horse, and named him using his own nickname. Smith also registered racing silks of green and blue vertical stripes, which were to become famous in later years as the colours of Tulloch Lodge horses. He rented horse boxes in Kensington, housing Bragger in one box, whilst he lived in the other. According to Bill Whittaker, Smith won the nomination fee for Bragger by winning at two-up. Bragger won 13 races including the Tramway stakes at Group level, establishing Smith as a Sydney trainer and Smith won a significant amount of money backing Bragger to win races. But when Bragger went for a spell, Smith blew all of his winnings on flashy suits, hired cars and drinking. Almost broke, Smith was saved when Bragger returned from his spell and won. After this episode Smith never went broke again. Bragger continued to win races until he was a ten year old, when he had to be destroyed after becoming caught in a float fire on his way home from a race meeting.

Smith's reputation as an emerging trainer was further enhanced with the success of Playboy, which he also owned, in the 1949 AJC Derby, giving Smith his first Group 1 winner and the first of 35 derby winners Smith trained in Australia. Playboy started at 100/1 and was heavily backed by Smith earning the trainer a large sum of money.

In December 1950 Smith was disqualified from training for five years for not taking sufficient precautions to prevent one of his two-year-olds from being drugged and giving false evidence at a subsequent hearing. Smith appealed the sentence and in January 1951 the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) upheld the appeal and instead chose to issue a "severe reprimand".

At the 1956 New Zealand National Sales Smith bought a Khorassan colt for 750 guineas. He had difficulty in placing the horse with an owner, but eventually persuaded E. A. Haley to take him. The horse was Tulloch, that was to become regarded as one of the three finest racehorses in Australian racing history.

Years of success

Living octopus

Living octopus

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