Celebrating our Heroes. Ben Smith - Humble Horseman
From the humblest of beginnings, Newcastle based trainer Ben Smith has always had a dream.
Ben started his career in the industry working part time in the stables of the legendary Bart Cummings at Randwick Racecourse. He was able to work as a stable foreman under some outstanding horseman such as Greg Eurell, John Thompson and Peter Snowden.
Today Ben has established himself as a trainer with his own team.
If Ben Smith had his way, he wouldn't leave his horses for even a minute. Everything about him is devoted to the welfare of the horses under his care.
"I just love everything about them. Their muscles, their manner, the way they glide across the ground".
As we watch him tend to one of his animals, it's easy to see just how much he does love them. He has an attachment to them that is unique.
Ben is the trainer of a four-year-old mare called In Her Time, which, if you know of Ben's journey, is an apt name for him to be associated with. He is just about to finish a self-imposed 10-year apprenticeship. Here is one man that is not going to rush things.
"When I was with John Thompson as stable foreman he advised me to go back to the bush and work my way back to the city. So, that's what I'm doing."
It hasn't been an easy road. There have been times when Ben, albeit only briefly, thought about throwing it all in.
"There have been some sacrifices for sure. I've gone without hot water for six months at a time.
That'll wake you up in the morning." He chuckles at this statement. He goes on - "it's a sacrifice I made for my horses and I'd do it all again."
That's the overwhelming feeling you get when you spend time with Ben, that he'd do anything for not only his horses, but his staff too.
"I wouldn't ask any of my team to do anything that I'm not prepared to do myself. It's just the way I am."
Back to the star of his stable In Her Time. The mare had recently won four on the trot, two at Group 2 level before a very good fifth in the Coolmore Classic. The Coolmore was a good test for her and let her trainer know she was up to that level.
Next on the agenda for In Her Time is a freshen up before a tilt at the Doomben 10,000. But for Ben, it’s business as usual, every day, day in day out.
"We're up at 3am so my horses can get first use of the track. We run a tight ship, very caring and devoted to the horse, it's still a learning curve though."
Ben is a humble horseman and it seems that his journey is only just beginning.