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Robert Smerdon has already lived a lifetime in racing although his career is far from over. He is now achieving the best results of a vocation that spans back four decades and four generations.
The early years for Robert were spent in the stables of his Great Uncle, Arthur Smerdon a well-known and respected trainer based at Ballarat. Robert worked in the stables from an early age squeezing in as much time as possible whenever school wasn't in session.
It wasn't long before the part-time stable hand started taking jaunts on the stable pony. A fast learner, combined with natural ability, Robert quickly progressed to riding fast work on the track. While most of his mates were trying out for the first XVIII in football, Robert was having his first race ride.
Robert was always going to struggle with weight however he was able to sneak wins in at all metropolitan tracks. The best horse he rode was named Warm Feeling who Robert won on six times including the Easter Cup at Caulfield. Rising weight saw him turn his hand to jumps riding where a passion for the sport first emerged.
He finished high school and rather than take the opportunity of going to university, Robert chose to travel. He headed for England where he took a variety of positions and even had the odd race ride over the jumps. It was here he started to formulate the foundations of his training methods.
Returning to Australia, Robert opened up stables at Ballarat starting with six horses. Like many who went before him he wasn't just the trainer, but the track-rider, stable hand, truck driver, and bookkeeper. He had some success travelling his horses all over the state including the many non-TAB meetings that were held. His results improved each year, as they did so did the number of horses entering his stable.
By the time he was approached to join Aquanita in 1998 Robert was a well-established and leading country trainer. One of the lures of Aquanita was to assist in becoming a leading metropolitan trainer as well.
In 2003 Robert moved his base from Ballarat to Aquanita's then Flemington base. He retained his Ballarat stables, as his horse numbers and profile were strong enough to support two training locations. He has not looked back and Robert has remained a constant in the top ten of trainer's premiership
Although based at Caulfield, Robert preserves his ties with Ballarat where he retains the stables from where he launched his career.
Robert is uniquely positioned as a master trainer having won Group One races with sprinters, stayers and jumpers. Season after season his stables churn out winners quite often from moderately bred stock. He has trained Group One winners in all mainland states except Western Australia.
Since joining Aquanita, Robert has won Sydney and Adelaide Cups, two Goodwood Handicaps, A VRC Oaks, Australian Guineas, Randwick Guineas and Stormqueen. His roll call of jumpers includes five Grand National Hurdle winners, Hyland Bill, Zabenz (the only Australian jumper to win a Group One in America) Some Are Bent, Black And Bent and Brungle Cry. The "Brothers Bent" have each been named Champion Jumper.
Robert's best horses of recent years include Streak, Bomber Bill, Zabenz, Lucky Diva, Lone Rock, Black And Bent, Some Are Bent, Shewan and Mosheen.View Robert's performance statistics(Since 1 August 2000 as supplied by Racing and Sports)